Back in the day, salespeople who were afraid to make cold calls, or who didn't know how to open one, would employ an excuse on their calls such as "I'm calling to follow up a letter I sent you..." - never actually having sent a letter. They did this as a way to make the call seem less cold.
And prospects were often dumb enough to fall for it, or too polite to challenge it. And so the prospect would apologize, and tell the salesperson that they didn't get the letter.
"Oh, sorry," the salesperson would say, "I guess it hasn't arrived yet," knowing full well that no letter was ever sent. "But as long as I have you on the phone, do you have a minute?"
And off they'd go...
Fast forward, and today lazy marketers don't even bother making the phone call. Instead, they send misleading emails, and hope someone is stupid enough to respond.
How many emails like these have you received:
• "I tried reaching you by phone, but apparently you were out."
• "I don't know if you got my voice mail, but I was hoping to catch you at your desk."
• "I'm following up my previous emails to see if you're still interested."
Setting aside that these things clog up your inbox, the real tragedy is that is that someone is actually paying for this.
Some poor business owner has bought into the drip email process, probably because he or she can't find salespeople who actually know how to sell. And, of course, email is cheap.
The problem is that, by the time this business owner finds out that it didn't work, they've blown half their year.
And their salespeople are on to their next jobs.