All emails are free — except they are not

I got a call from a cold caller yesterday. I usually don’t pick up, but I was expecting an urgent call, so I picked up when my desk phone rang.

I have no idea what the cold caller was trying to sell as I did not have the brain power to process it. My mind was preoccupied with something else. What cold callers from vendors don’t seem to grasp is that they are asking the person to switch context from what they are doing and focus on the conversation.

This time the salesman told me he was going to send me a “completely free” newsletter by email. I asked him to please not send me any emails. He insisted that it is completely free. I said, “They are all free, I get hundreds of them daily. I am sorry, I don’t have time for this, please don’t send me emails and don’t call me.” After some insistence, he gave up.

Cold calls are irritating and unnecessary. Emails pollute my inbox and make me miss actual important messages I should be reading. I wrote plenty on this topic: Teleportation can corrupt your data.

How to get my attention

There are much better ways to connect with me:

  1. Write informative articles on LinkedIn. I am open to all connections on LinkedIn. It served me well over the 15 years I was using the platform. I found jobs, met friends, and discovered exciting new products. Connect with me so I can see your posts. I also post on LinkedIn, and if you feel like you can help me solve a problem, you can reach out to me.
  2. Make sure you appear in search results in your area of expertise. LinkedIn works well for discovering things in my network. When I am researching some problem, though, I first turn to Google. Make sure your brand and your product show up in appropriate Google search results.
  3. Participate in Stack Overflow. If I can’t find something on Google, I turn to Stack Overflow, and I ask a detailed question. You can help me answer it. Chances are your company and product may help solve my problem.

Most importantly, please, by no means consider our connection on social media or LinkedIn some kind of invitation for you to call me via my company’s corporate switchboard.

One thought on “All emails are free — except they are not

  1. I have the same issue, too many promotional emails. I “kindof” solved it by sending all email coming from the outside to another Outlook folder, skipping the Inbox. Then a couple of times per month I go through that folder, delete 99% of it and add an Outlook rule for the remaining 1% to show up in my Inbox right away. One downside of this solution is that any time I have to deal with a new outside vendor I need to remember to add his domain to my “in” filters, otherwise it can be a week or two until I see the email from them.
    There is still an issue with the cold callers, but I haven’t found a way to solve that. I have to pick up every single time and immediately tell them to take my number off their list (even before they attempt to pronounce my last name), otherwise they leave a voicemail, which leaves an irritating blinking light on my phone and then consumes even more time to delete the voicemail. These cold callers are cockroaches…

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