Legislation May Impact How You Sell

A thank you to Linda Daley, President of the eNewsletter Boutique Daley Progress  for inspiring this post. She’s done a lot of research on Canada’s Anti Spam Legislation (CASL) and alerted me to possibilities I’d been ignoring.

The basic guideline is this – as of July 1st, unless we have their consent, we cannot send a commercial electronic message (CEM) to individuals with whom we do not have an existing relationship.

How does this impact you? Well if you or members of your sales team are sending email to prospects before there is a conversation, you need to revise your sales process. In order to send email and be exempt from hefty fines, it must be:

  • “sent between organizations that already have a relationship, where the message concerns the activities of the organization to which the message is sent”; or
  • “solicited or sent in response to complaints, inquiries, and requests“.

In other words, without an existing relationship, or a request for information (verbal or written), you can’t hit “send”.

What’s the solution? Well I suppose it’s obvious what I’m going to say … pick up the phone! Start talking to your prospects and receive their permission to send additional information by email.

It is also important to note that CASL limits our communication with referrals. Should someone provide you with the email address of someone they know and suggest you contact them: “The existing client making the referral must have an existing relationship (personal, family, business, or non-business) with the prospective client that they are referring to the agent. The Regulation permits the agent or business to send a single message to the prospective client, as long as the agent has both provided the prospective client with the full name of the individual who made the referral, and has included the identification and unsubscribe requirements as set out in the Act.”

Again, the best solution is a conversation rather than an email. Once you establish an “existing relationship” the legislation does not impact how you communicate with that potential client. If your cold calling skills are a bit rusty, call me. I can help. In the meantime here are some links to more information about the legislation:

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (This site includes the ability to sign up to receive updates on changes to the legislation. It’s a work in progress so it will be important to stay informed.)

CASL: An Overview in Plain Language

Enjoy your PhoneWork everyone!


0 thoughts on “Legislation May Impact How You Sell”

  1. Until you and I were chatting about it, I hadn’t realized the impact on common practices related to the sales process. Many people think this only relates to newsletters and such, but it impacts every single electronic message we send on behalf of our business – even tweets fall under CASL.

    • Thanks, Linda, for adding these points. Yes, I think there is a lot here for companies to consider in terms of their daily interaction with prospects by email. We really do need to have “existing relationship” and to do that, we have to have conversations with our prospects.

  2. And you’d think with them being this tough on e-mail there’d be similar enforcement on the phone side – since everyone in creation has by now won at least 50 cruises…

    • Thanks for the smile, Perry. That Do Not Call List for our homes does not seem to work that well. I don’t anticipate there will ever be a Do Not Call for business-to-business calls. Fortunately the Captain of the cruise line rarely calls business numbers!

      • Actually, even business numbers get calls from the captain. Halifax Regional Police got called and some how, the call ended up broadcast over the main department’s intercom system. Sadly, even the police are victims of robocalls with spoofed numbers.

  3. This is really tough on small businesses – all of them. So while some folks might be happy that they will no longer receive unwanted emails, they must remember that their company’s sales department will also be limited. If revenue decreases, jobs in all departments can be in jeopardy. I would think we would all prefer to be burdened by the need to express a polite “no-thank-you” or “unsubscribe”, rather than seeing people lose their jobs.


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