Sales and marketing, Channel markets

Teaching Sales People to Lie?

Author: David Brock, president, Partners in Excellence
Author: David Brock

Just when you think you have seen the very worst prospecting email ever, you get one that takes you to new lows! I opened a recent email and read:

“Hello Dave,

It has been some time since we last spoke, let alone worked together. The fault of this is mostly mine. However I want to make up for my time of neglect and reach out to you today to ask you a simple question:

Do you want to continue to hear from me?”

There is so much wrong in these four sentences, not to mention the several hundred words that followed.

This sales person, I’ll call him “Chris,”  works for one of the largest sales training companies in the world. I always read emails from people like him, because I think I might learn something about high quality emails.

One would guess that since they are “experts,” and teach their customers the very best practices for prospecting and engaging people, that they would practice what they preach. As a result, there is a lot one can learn in deconstructing their prospecting emails.

Reality Check

Let me deconstruct this:

  • He writes: “It’s been a long time since we have spoken ….”
  • My reaction: We have never spoken. We have never met. I looked “Chris” up to see if there is somewhere our paths may have crossed. With the possible exception of sharing a common airport (LAX), there is little possibility of every crossing paths.  Plus I tend to have a pretty good memory, and good CRM/Contact Management discipline.
  • He writes: “…let alone worked together…”
  • My reaction: How stupid to you think I am? We’ve never met; how could we have possibly worked together?
  • He writes: “However I wanted to make up for my time of neglect and reach out to ask a simple question — Do you want to continue to hear from me?”
    My reaction: Well, again, you must think I’m really stupid.  This is the first time I’ve ever heard from you!

Fabricating a Relationship

Moreover, why would I want to hear from you again since the whole premise of the first four sentences of this email is based on a complete fabrication and lie? You respect me so little, you have so little confidence in your own abilities in cold calling that you start out with fabricating a relationship that has never existed.

While you wouldn’t see it, there were other signs of his cluelessness. The email address was completely wrong. Yeah, we all go through our tricks of decoding email addresses for people we have never met. There are tools you can buy, terrible lists, or you can guess—in this case he guessed “first initial last name at the website.”  That happens not to be our format, ours is first initial middle initial last name at the email address.

Or even more clever, go to my blog our our website. My email address is right there in plain sight! But of course if he had known me or had any kind of relationship, he would have known that.

There were a couple hundred words of calculated and meaningless drivel, intended as a soft sell trying to say, “I care about you and want to help you….” which is just a sham covering his real goal of “If you are stupid enough to believe this drivel, I want to separate you from your money!”

All this from a sales person from one of the leading sales training companies in the world!

I suppose this is what they must teach their customers as best practice in cold emailing and prospecting! No wonder our inboxes are filled with meaningless crap!

In fairness to the company, their programs are good.

Undoubtedly, this email is from a clueless franchisee who represents them very poorly.

Unfortunately, this approach is too common.  We start the conversation with lies.

Study, The Reach Out Honestly

Too many sales people don’t have the courage and self confidence to reach out to someone they’ve never met and say, “I’ve spent some time studying you and your company, I think we might be able to help you better achieve your goals……”

If you don’t have the courage to reach out, honestly and openly, to people you’ve never met, you have no business being in sales.

David Brock is president of Partners in EXCELLENCE, a management consulting firm focused on sales productivity, channel development, strategic alliances and more. Read more blogs from Brock here.