Sales Pitch Misses the Plate

Tina Haapala |

By Gary Silverman, CFP®

Each day I get well over 100 emails from various financial-related companies. About 97 of these I ignore, not responding at all. After all, I know my business, I know my clients, and the vast majority of these emails do not fit either. Not that they don’t tout “the x you have to have” or “your clients will thank you for this” or “the only tax prep software you’ll ever need.”  We don’t even do tax prep.

This morning (several weeks ago by the time you read this) I got this one, a follow-up to a few other emails that a software company sent me:


I hope this message finds you well! I’ve tried contacting you a few of times over the past few weeks … unfortunately without much success. 
Given the lack of communication, my assumption is that we are out of touch for one of four reasons: 
1. I’ve done something to offend you. 
2. You have been slammed with client tasks and have simply been too busy to get back to me. 
3. Now is not the right to review portfolio management solutions, and your [sic] too nice to tell me that.

4. You want desperately to contact me… but are trapped under something heavy, and can't reach the phone. 
I'd consider it a personal favor if you could let me know if the problem is one of these, or something I didn't think of. 
P.S. - If it's #4, I'll send help! 


Blah blah blah

(The “blah”s I added in place of the lady’s contact information.)

I thought I’d respond to her by responding here. She must read this column. After all,  she knows so much about my business that she knows her product would be perfect for me (a fact revealed in a previous email from her).

 1. I am not offended, I am very used to my email being filled with unsolicited, unwanted, unneeded messages from people purporting to have myself or my clients’ interests as the only motivation.

2. Well yes, I do stay busy, but that is not the reason I have not gotten back to you. I have not done so because I’ve seen nothing in your message that makes me think, “ya know, I need to look into this.”

3. Well, this is pretty close. But I’m not being nice, I’m being efficient. If I responded to every one of the 97 emails that I don’t care about I’d lose 1-2 hours of time that I could use for things like writing this article, running, working, or playing computer games…all of which I find more gratifying.

4. That is very nice of you. But logic would say that if this was the case and I could see her email I would likely use my smart phone to contact the fire department (they are strong and can get to me in a hurry) rather than go through my emails looking for portfolio management solutions.

waI will say, choice number four made me smile and resulted in this column. It didn’t, however, make me pick up the phone.

Gary Silverman, CFP® is the founder of Personal Money Planning, LLC, a Wichita Falls retirement planning and investment management firm and author of Real World Investing