I admit, I have a pretty critical eye when it comes to sales people. But I will also admit that I am probably the easiest guy on the planet to sell. If you are a great sales person, my admiration for your skill often outweighs my attention to the sale itself. My wife would call me an ‘easy mark’.

However, if you are a bad salesperson, unless  I really want your product, you are done. Consider this email that I received the other day:


Pleasure meeting you virtually. I am trying to connect with your sales organization or sales training team so that I may help prevent them from making a costly financial mistake.  I understand that they are currently evaluating a new sales methodology and have focused on XXX.  This would be a costly mistake due to its complexity and lack of results.  I don’t think xxxx would want to use the same methodology used by your closest competitor.  XXX is a very time consuming process that is ineffective and takes away time that the sales force which could be used to interact with the end customer.
(Our company) would be willing to do a pilot of our process for comparison to illustrate how effective we can make your sales organization. 
Can you please direct me to the person I should speak with to make sure that a better alternative is considered?  

I read this and was left with very negative emotions for a few reasons:

1. Never trash the competition: The old IBM model of selling. Rise above it. Sell your value and your own merit.

2. Use of acronyms and assumptions:  He makes an assumption that we are about to make a decision and his information is completely wrong. Furthermore, he refers to his competition using an acronym that I have never heard of before – leading to confusion.

3. Adding value:  The entire email is centered around trashing the competition, at no point is there a single reference to where they have helped a customer excel or the value that they bring.

4. Disparaging my team:  By saying that we are about to make a big mistake, how does that make people feel if they have already done the work, due diligence and made the decision? Probably defensive (even if he is right).

5. Over-all tone:  Negative, negative, negative.

Truly the worst cold call email I have ever read. If he was a rep on a team I managed, I would have coached him along these lines:

Dear Michael; (a salutation would be nice)

It is a pleasure to meet you virtually (I actually like this touch – the only positive in the note). I am trying to connect with your sales organization or training team as I understand from a contact that your organization is about to make an important sales training tool decision and we believe that we can make a significant contribution to your team’s ongoing success.

Our organization has a long track record of helping sales organizations improve using the XXX sales methodology. Our methodology has been proven to (insert value statements).  If you were to contact (Insert reference customer) they would say (insert quote).

I would appreciate any time that you could spare in your calendar to either meet with me (you name the time and place), discuss on the phone or would appreciate a reference to the right person on the team.

Thank-you for your consideration,

A very different tone and potential outcome.

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