If You're Using These 3 Sales Phrases, You're Insulting Your Prospects

Art Sobczak
Art Sobczak



In my training programs with clients and sales reps we invest a lot of time ensuring that our messaging is laser-focused on the recipient and their world. That is the only way to carve through the ever-growing glut of noise we are bombarded with by the minute.

And that’s probably why I am more sensitive to the lousy messages I receive via email, voicemail, snail mail, and live when I pick up the phone. Not only are many just flat-out bad and lacking of any shred of possible value, some are actually insulting.

It’s bad enough to send an off-target message with nothing of value that's compounded with false assumptions and statements. But sometimes you can really piss off the receiver.

Just yesterday I received an email with the subject line “Letting down your fans is one of the worst feelings in the world.”

First, let me explain that I use a spam filtering tool, which means that for an unsolicited prospecting email to get to my inbox a human must physically reply to an automated message after they send their initial email.

In addition, I have written millions of words over the years, and it’s not unusual for me to receive all kinds of messages -- some flattering, others not so much. Some have been from crazy people. Really. I have stories.

Anyway, I wasn’t sure what to make of that subject line, so I opened it. I thought someone wasn’t happy with me. Again.

It quickly became clear that it was a prospecting email from a CD duplication company.

To the guy’s credit, it was a fairly well-written, brief email that told a story. It talked about popular performers whom their audiences loved but didn't offer CDs, therefore disappointing their fans who wanted more. He compared them to speakers and trainers who had no CDs.

Fair point. Except that I found it insulting. 

The message suggested I, personally, had no CDs and therefore was disappointing my fans.
But in actuality, I do have, and have had hundreds of CDs (and before that tapes) for 30 years. It’s not that tough to discover that on my site or with a quick search.

Now you might cut the guy some slack and say that he was just doing his prospecting and doesn’t have the time to go to everyone’s site before he sends his mass email. Perhaps. Except, remember that he had to physically reply to the response email before his message could reach me.

And, there was another thing. Here was the PS at the end of his email:

“P.S. I do my best to only send very targeted emails to people who I think will benefit from them.”


Let me preempt anyone who feels compelled to write and tell me to chill; that it’s not that big of a deal and I shouldn’t get all worked up about it. I’m actually glad I received this email, because it gave me great material to write about. And had I not written about it, I never would have thought about it again after deleting it.

And that’s my point for you.

If in your opening attempts to spark attention and interest and hopefully a conversation, you border on insulting someone with a message that is not only blatantly off-target and devoid of value but insinuates something that is patently wrong, you expedite the banishment of your message, and any chance of ever having a conversation with your prospect.

These unintentionally insulting sales statement include:

  • Declarative blanket statements: “We WILL get you to the first page on Google.” (What if the prospect is already there for the keywords that are most important to them?)
  • Obvious, inane claims: “Of course, if you could find a way to make another five hundred dollars per day, you would want that.” (Not if it costs me more than that, by whatever means I use to figure cost.)
  • False statements that show a lack of knowledge about the prospect: “You are losing money every day on your credit card processing." (Really? You don’t know that. What if I am an expert in that area and very carefully selected my vendor?)

Want to get through to more decision makers? Want your emails and voicemails to stand out from the crap? Want to get people to view you as someone who might have something worth hearing?

Here’s the secret. Ready?

Do your research.

Put what you want aside. Focus your message on one person. Make it all about them, what’s going on in their world, and the results they might get.

That’s some high-level, advanced high-tech advice, isn’t it? Nope. Just common sense advice that works.

Editor's note: This post originally appeared on Smart Calling Online and is republished here with permission.

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