Generally, most of the cold emails and calls we receive (dozens every month) are automated and provide no value for us whatsoever.
Some of the remaining exceptions are just not a good fit for us. And every 3–4 months we receive an interesting one that may be worth pursuing.
Whenever we want to politely put a business conversation on hold, we take a different approach depending on whether:
- We want to keep the business contact with the sales representative, or
- Potentially work with the business at some point in time.
Reject Sales Proposals but Keep the Sales Contact Handy
I’ve had several calls with salespeople who had joined a new startup that wasn’t of interest to us. But they had some former background in successful companies. They came with a great track record and tons of valuable testimonials on LinkedIn.
In that case, I jump on a call and let the sales rep know that it’s not a good fit for us at that point of time. If they react adequately, I suggest them to connect on LinkedIn and Twitter and add them to a separate list where I can monitor their career growth forward.
Contact the business later on
Some businesses are simply not a great alternative for us at the time.
This could be handled in different ways:
- “Sounds like a great product/service, but we’re not there yet. Let’s keep in touch and see if a possible venture would make sense at a later point of time.”
- “The solution sounds like something that we could use. We don’t have enough resources right now that would utilize the new product. Let’s touch base in 3–6 months and see if that would work.”
- “Your product seems to be solving a serious business problem. We’re still growing and we can’t leverage its full potential at that price point. Let me subscribe for your email list and keep your contacts handy in case you create a more affordable plan or whenever we can utilize your current offering.”
- “This solution isn’t quite compatible with our workflow. I’d be happy to keep in touch with you in case you are working on other verticals that could solve our problems.”
- “We genuinely like your brand/team culture and would be pleased to work with you at some point of time. Right now I don’t see a great match. Maybe we could start with exchanging some guest posts or a webinar and see if we could collaborate on something else?”
We’re always direct and honest about our workflow and where we are at that point in time. Wasting time doesn’t work well if we’re sending mixed signals – hence we’re exploring other possible ventures that may be a good fit before reverting to the initial conversation.