As a sales professional, I hate it when I see other salespeople doing things that give the profession a bad name. Recently, I was on the receiving end of a sales strategy so bad I felt compelled to write a blog post about it to warn other sales reps -- don't do this!
The sales rep, PK (his name has been changed), works at an IT consulting and tech services company.
I work for a tech company in Business Development and have nothing to do with the services he is offering, nor am I the decision maker. Yet, PK visited my LinkedIn profile one day and decided to shoot a prospecting email to the address attached to my profile.
Things started out fine, but not great, with his first email on February 17:
I hope things are good with you.
Kxxxx Cxxxxxxxx Services Private Ltd. is a global IT consulting and technology services company with a niche in delivering quality solutions to customers across the globe. Serving for more than a decade and millions of man hours dedicated in delivering technology products and services.
Please let me know if we can engage in any of your current needs. We can provide you best and pocket friendly solutions.
Look forward your positive response.
Because he didn't do his homework on me (even though I know he checked out my LinkedIn profile), I never responded.
Prospecting emails need a personalized touch. PK could have tailored his approach to me by including information found on my LinkedIn profile. Gathering other intel on my job functions and responsibilities would have helped him qualify me, then approach me to try and get a referral to the decision maker in my firm.
What needs did I have that he could engage in? He didn't ask about my needs. He only told me about him and his firm. He didn't ask about my firm, what we do, why we do it, or anything else.
He didn't ask any open ended questions such as, "How do you handle ____?", "What happens when ___?", or "Can you tell me about a time when ____?" But at least his emails weren't offensive.
The next day, he sent a follow up email:
In my previous mail, I have shared some possible business opportunities between each other. I hope you get a chance to take a look.
Please let me know if there is any current Web or Mobile Development needs.
I would really appreciate if you can respond once.
I'm not sure what "possible business opportunities between each other" he was talking about, as he never made an to help me. His initial email was all about him and pushing his services on me, and his second email was no different.
Needless to say, I did not respond once.
Eight days later, PK followed up again with a one-line message:
Anticipating your response once.
What, no "Hello, David"? No "How are you"? He thinks he can get a kiss without giving me some flowers?
Seeing as he hadn't given me any reason to, I did not respond. Once.
Seven days later, on March 4, old PK hits me with another email:
Awaiting your cordial comments.
Still no hello. But he softened up a bit. Thinking I may be cordial at this point despite the fact I haven't answered once because I'm not the right prospect for him. This was getting annoying.
Four days later, on March 8, my pal PK sent the email which prompted this article:
I'm expecting an answer.
Excuse me? You're expecting an answer? We've gone from "Hello, kind sir, may I have your cordial comments" to "You'd better respond"?
I don't know about how PK was taught sales, but emails like that get deleted. If any of my reps ever sent a message like that to a prospect they would be pulled off the floor and disciplined.
That is not how you gain a prospect's trust. That is not how you become someone's business partner. That is not how you get a prospect to sign a check with your name on it, drawn from an account of their hard-earned money.
Sales prospecting today is not old-school. You can't bully the client into submission. You can't make these kinds of sales email mistakes. It is about partnerships, gaining trust and a building a network of raving fans who support your business because you solve problems for theirs.
Damnit, PK -- you piss me off.
He could have just said "Sorry for all the emails David, this will be my last communication. Please feel free to reach out should your needs change."
Instead, he ended on the worst note possible, leaving a bad impression of himself, his company, and his product. PK did it wrong. Very wrong.
And I still haven't answered -- nor will I.