What? I’m a Prospect? Bummer.

Has this happened to you? You get an email or Twitter DM from somebody you’ve thought of as a friend, and it turns out it’s a sales pitch, mass communication, off of a list?

Disappointing. What? I’m a prospect? Bummer.

Not even a personal note (hey Tim, I was doing this mass email and I thought you might be interested, or pass it along.) Or maybe a half apology. Nope, I’m a prospect. That means I’m not a friend, not even a colleague.

Damn. I thought we had a relationship.

(Image: granata1111/Shutterstock)


  • Mary H Ruth says:

    Gee, this is a key point, and ought to be discussed much more. Unfortunately, many millions of us remain ‘sophomoric.’ But the other side to the rule of transparency is the necessity of developing skill in sorting the superficial from the meaningful. Social media claims to make available an infinite number of relationships; but making them available and making them really happen are two different things.

    Thanks for identifying the issue, and I’ll be thinking more on it.

  • Matthew Ray Scott says:


    It’s happening more and more to me and I’m surprised because I know these people. At first I thought I was put on some mailing list to keep me updated, but I’m not so sure anymore.

    As Daniel mentioned in his comment, I think it’s sophomoric for many starting in business and just plain stupid by “upper classmen” who should know better.

  • Daniel Ruth says:

    In my history, I have been subject to friends (ok, I have done it before as well..) including me as part of a mass email to create awareness of their new venture or offering. Yes, it does strike a certain chord with the person you are attempting to, lets say broaden your relationship with. In fact, in my early trials, I have hurt some relationships while getting my feet wet learning the proper protocols.

    With respect to simply including an individual on a mass email, I have found this is usually a sophomoric error at the start of someones career. This is especially true when people start in their own direct marketing business. Very often, they are going in with the idea of get their information out to as many people as possible to get their business started. Unfortunately, though this is what the DMB’s teach, it is not really understood the way it is intended.

    Now, if the person purchases a list (never a recommendation to get started) it is more challenging to make sure none of your friends are on that list. Many of these are simply huge lists of names and emails for people that have requested information on a certain topic or clicked a specific site. A funny fact is, many of these topics and sights had nothing to do with an interest in your particular product or service, even though they are marketed as such.

    Some simple tips I have found keep me in the clear:

    – When starting out, take the time and send personal emails to close friends regarding your new venture or service.
    – Do not gear them toward purchase or participation but more toward awareness and possible referrals
    – When using lists (again, not recommended for this type of start up) try to search the list for know email addresses and names, then remove them
    – If you have already started notifying your close friends on a personal note, even if they get a mass note due to a list, it will be viewed less harshly

    Hope this helps other readers. I am always available to my fellow entrepreneurs for help at dpruth@strategiesandoutcomes.com.

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