How do you persuade a correspondent to take “no” for an answer

When I’m puzzled by someone’s behavior, I think about the aphorism, Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

Or perhaps a version that is a little less harsh: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by inexperience.”

That is the only explanation I have for a series of emails that I received last week. The person sending them seemed to be inexperienced and not know he was being appallingly rude. In keeping with my previous posts on bad email manners, here’s what happened.

Like so many other PR Daily readers, I receive unsolicited email every day from ad agencies, PR firms, marketing companies, etc. asking if my organization is interested in acquiring their services. We are very often not, so I have a standard response email that I send. It’s a polite, yet firm, “thank you, but no thank you” email that generally ends the interaction.

Below is a response email I sent to a creative services company that emailed me recently:

Thank you for your interest in doing business with us.

At present we are satisfied with the solutions we have in place in the areas relating to your agency. Discussing further at this time would not be beneficial since we are not looking to purchase the services that you offer. If anything changes on our end, please be assured that we have your information and we will contact you.

We appreciate your reaching out and we wish you the best.

This was his response:

Thanks for your reply and I understand that you have resources and do not have a current project in mind. And I just wanted to say that that’s fine, we work with companies everyday who have their own in house teams or work with another agency.

I think that we could benefit you in the future and I’d like to have a quick introduction over the phone. Probably 5-10 minutes.

Are you located in [city]? Can you speak next Wednesday at 11am your time?

To which, I responded, bluntly, “We are not interested in working with your company. Please do not contact us again.”

He responded:

Thanks for your reply, I understand you are not interested and I can certainly update my contact information for you so you do not receive email from me.

I wrote to you because I believed I might be able to help you with some of the challenges you may be facing. I sincerely apologize if I had that wrong and wish you all the best with your future endeavors.

I did not email him back.

I know this person is in sales, and that it’s his job to keep pushing, but why keep emailing? And why ask what city my company is in when it’s clearly stated in my email signature? Or maybe my first email was not clear enough? Perhaps I should re-write it to make it more direct.

What do you think, PR Daily readers? What kind of response do you send when someone won’t take “no” for an answer? Looking from the other side, how do you know when to stop pushing and sending follow-up emails?


This post was first published on Ragan Communication’s PR Daily.





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