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RIP — The Overwhelmer

Cause of Death: Way too much, way too soon

Symptoms of The Overwhelmer:

  • Sharing too much information

  • Long bulleted lists

  • Run-on sentences with faulty grammar and too much punctuation

  • Multiple links and attachments

  • Expecting email to do the selling for them

  • Including pricing details (see also "The Order Taker")

  • Sending multiple emails with the same information

  • Anything that sounds like, “But wait… there’s more!!!”

Coroner's Report:

Overwhelmers are notorious for ridiculously long messages. You can imagine one of those blind date reality television scenes where they time lapse a person who is talking… and talking... and talking. The examples shared in The Email Cemetery mainly fall into this category.

It's also possible to be an Overwhelmer with a shorter message. Instead of multiple paragraphs of text, these messages use links, embedded videos, and attachments. Either way, it's enough to make a prospect go running for the hills.

Of course, there's are tactical reasons why people (and email systems) may perceive such emails as spammy. Clicking a link or opening an attachment can be dangerous, especially when it is unsolicited.

It's also a bad idea for a more important reason: Your prospects are already busy and overwhelmed. In sending your "click here! open this! watch now! read more!" email or LinkedIn message, you are making your potential client busier and more overwhelmed.

Chances are pretty good that you're a good person who wants to be helpful. Great! Be helpful by making your prospects' lives easier and less stressful. This includes not giving them homework.

Chill out, and focus on one goal at a time. You haven't earned the right to make them click, open, read, or watch anything yet. Your focus in those first outreach attempts is simply to make a connection and schedule a conversation. Be a person that other people want to know, like, and trust. Own your value as a human being, and create a meaningful connection with another (hopefully) worthwhile human being. Don't hide behind information overload, or live in some misguided belief that links and attachments will do your job for you. They won't.

Here's another truth: You don't even like sending these emails. It feels just as soul-sucking to you as it does to your prospects. This is the reason why many Overwhelmers are also Apologizers.

Below is a perfect Overwhelmer example that I received last week. As always, identifying information has been removed to protect the poor salesperson who is definitely not hitting quota, as well as the unfortunate company that is probably missing their overall revenue goals.

Hi Charlene,

I saw that you used to be a client so I wanted to reach out, as my job is to re-engage prior partners here at The Awesome Company.

To help you learn more, here's a short video on how we help clients do the things we do.

Would it make sense to set up a quick call to discuss the potential of you coming back as a client, or should I get out of your hair?

I have also enclosed two attachments, including a one-sheet about our company as well as an overview document about all of the ways you can become a great client once again.

You can also go to our website. We have several great blogs that you might like such as this one and this one.


Let me know what you think.

Ross [Signature block including: - 6 lines of text including 3 more links - 4 images that my email program won't show - Calendar booking tool widget]

Want to learn more about the Overwhelmer or any of the other residents of The Email Cemetery? (Hint: You might be one of them.) Get The Email Cemetery -- Where Bad Sales Emails Go to Die & How to Resuscitate Yours.

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