Dear Email Senders Impersonating Sales People

Every day I get email from multiple sources requesting a “quick call” or “can we setup a meeting” and more often than the rest “you didn’t respond to my last email.”

Please do one of two things:

  1. Quit your job so a sales person can take it;
  2. Learn how to sell.

The number one sin for most sales people is that they talk when they should listen.  Banging me over the head about how great you believe your product or service to be is not how to make a sale. Harassing me about not responding is how to earn your company major negative points if they ever came up in a set of choices.

Don’t talk when you should listen

Your primary mission in life as a sales person is to find as many people as you can as quickly as you can who

  1. Have the funds; AND
  2. Understand the product or service; AND
  3. Will benefit from that product or service.

That’s called a target market. As soon as your target fails one of those tests, everything gets more difficult to close a sale.  If your product or service doesn’t have anyone that passes those tests, time to find a new job.

The only one of those tests that you have influence over – assuming your company’s customer service is worthy – is how well your target understands what you offer. You can’t change what they have to spend or if they will benefit from what they buy.

The fulcrum of a successful sale is understanding.  On one side is how much they will benefit and the other side is how much what you offer can do for them.  The closer to even you get, the better a customer will value the offering for what it does for them.  Tipped one way or the other and they regret how much they paid or even for buying it in the first place. Good sales people spend at least part of their week telling some customers that the offering is not a good fit.

The Other Dont’s:

  • Don’t send me an email asking if you can take my time  on a call or Zoom meeting to educate you on my company and what we might need
  • Don’t send me an email telling me how much your customers appreciate you
  • Don’t send me an email telling me how great your company or your offering is
  • Don’t send me an email telling me what you hope
  • Don’t send me an email with a generic study finding that X% of enterprises do something
  • Don’t send me an email warning that I’m missing out on something
  • Don’t send me an email to tell me how much you think I need what you sell
  • Don’t senf me an email to say you hoped we partner (unless you really want to charge a third party for what we both sell to them)
  • Do Not EVER send me an email asking why I haven’t responded

In person, the fastest way to tell someone doesn’t know how to sell is that they talk instead of asking questions.  In person, the two telltales of a good sales person: their question indicates a knowledge of my company and my industry AND, after asking a question, they listen and base their next question on what is said.

There is no reason those indicators can’t be found over email. Refer to the “Dont’s” above for detecting a person who doesn’t belong in sales.

Here’s an email that might get a response:

Dear My Name, IT Director, Company Name

(Ok, right away, I know you at least know my role and where I work and how you got my name might be as a legitimate lead.  See your marketing department if you can’t get that info yourself.)

Optional good starts:

1) In <industry journal>, your CEO said…

2) Talking with <name my company’s legitimate competitor>, I learned that…

3) <Industry Ranking> came out and we noticed you are not first choice for your <be specific on type> customers who want <service/product we offer>…

Start with almost anything that shows you did some research on my company and have some idea that I might actually be interested in buying what you sell. Don’t use any superlatives about what you sell, give me something to chew on.  Just because a lot of companies have phone systems doesn’t make them all target market.  Unless you really are selling a multi-level marketing deal and can’t tell me what you sell to try to trick me to come to a meeting where all will be revealed, be really succinct in what you offer. Show you did your homework.

Then, for heaven’s sake, ask a knowledgeable question I can answer quickly in an email and then follow up with a knowledgeable response that shows you digested what I said.

Send some targeted information that shows you curated what your marketing department produces to fit what you’ve heard from me.  Don’t send a dozen PDFs.  Send one.

Finally, if I want to meet with you, if you’ve done a good job of being a seller to this point and we both agree -both of us, not just you – that there’s some benefit in continuing the conversation, I will ask for a meeting.

If you’re struggling with all this, or maybe you have a boss that measures your sales performance by how many emails and phone calls you make in a day instead of how much you sell, then – if you want to stay in sales, go get a copy of Miller and Heiman’s “Strategic Selling” and get a job at a different company.

Thank you.  Good sales people make the world a better place for everyone.