I Love Your Blog. Why Won’t You Respond to My Sales Call?

Dumb and Dumber, 1994

I very well may be one of the most prospected people on the planet. I don’t have any data to back that up, so I’ll just call it a hunch. I’m a senior technology leader at large corporation. I have a very active LinkedIn presence. Those two facts must automatically stuff me into every technology salesperson’s leads database.

I don’t regret my role or my social media engagement, so I accept that this simply comes with the territory. The benefits outweigh the costs, but the costs must be managed.

The firewall

One of my most-valuable resources is my time. I guard it carefully. I carry a role with very high expectations. I need to execute on those expectations and spend quality time with my family. To protect my time, I have a firewall.

Sales tactics come my way via all sorts of channels and trajectories. I’ve covered some of those one of my most popular articles: So You’re Telling Me There’s a Chance: The Joy of Buying Technology. Due to the volume and patterns, I have developed a pretty effective firewall, figuratively speaking. I can identify time-wasting sales calls and keep them stealing any more than three seconds of my attention.

The allow rule

Firewalls don’t just block unwanted traffic; they also allow in legitimate traffic. Since I write a weekly leadership blog, I desire legitimate connections with the outside world. I like networking with people, encouraging aspiring leaders, and sharing insights. I make limited time for those interactions.

The trojan horse

Just like a real firewall, the hardest traffic to filter is something that looks good but is actually bad. In the context of my role as public figure on LinkedIn, I often receive friendly, thoughtful, and relevant responses to my writing, which are often simply a prelude to a sales pitch.

This requires “deep packet inspection” on my part. I still end up rejecting it, but I burn time and emotional energy doing it. Part of me wants to respond to the engagement to discuss the legitimate portion of the communication, but I’m smart enough to know that I’d simply be taking the bait and would most certainly get reeled in.

Dear technology salespeople,

I realize that you are doing exactly what you’ve been trained to do. You are doing exactly what your bosses are asking you to do. However, I want you to know that this feels like Amway. I’ve never liked business models that monetize friendships. My blog is a gift. My readers are my friends. It’s not commerce. I don’t charge for it, and I don’t want to be prospected from it.

Hope

At this point in the article, I’d like to share a ray of hope. I’m connected to thousands of technology salespeople. I’ve interacted with hundreds of them. I currently have two connections that interact with me regularly, yet somehow have resisted the urge to pitch me their product: Rob Storey and Mike Ebbers. There are more, but I’d like to highlight these two because they are model examples of what I’m looking for.

Because of my blog, their content, and our interactions, we’ve developed a collegial friendship. There’s value there because we are becoming better technology leaders, but that value doesn’t show up in the sales pipeline.

Remember my goal:

I love thinking about and writing about technology leadership. I honestly believe that as an industry, we have a long way to go in developing a greater leadership capability across the board. I’m doing my part by writing and publishing. You should do your part by reacting, commenting, and sharing. Then together, we will grow. Don’t short-circuit the process with a sales pitch. That’ll get you blacklisted on my firewall.

To the legion of technology salespeople that love my blog and pitch to me: I don’t have any ill will. I just think it can be better. I’m writing this because I hope it helps. I believe every great salesperson wants to serve their customers and that requires deep customer insight. I’m offering up a tidbit of insight here and I hope it’s valuable to you all.

In short, if you must pitch to me, read this and this first. If you’d like to talk about leadership issues, I’m here for you, but leave the pitch out.

Read this article on my blog site or listen to it on my podcast🎙️

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Technology Leader at CHS. Passionate about leadership and innovation. Posts are my own.

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Zach Hughes

Zach Hughes

Technology Leader at CHS. Passionate about leadership and innovation. Posts are my own.

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