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My Name Is Not “Occupant Or Current Resident”

by David Brock on August 4th, 2011

I received a surprising email the other day.  It was from some “expert” in selling.  The approach surprised me, I would have thought an “expert” might have known better.

The email is one of those we see too often.  It was addressed to the sender–clearly the recipients were all listed in the “bcc” field.  The email went on to ask my help in promoting something this individual was doing.  It also asked for the courtesy of a response—so I guess in some sense, this post is my response, though I really don’t think that courtesy was earned.

Given the tools and technologies available, it is unacceptable for any marketing or sales professional not to send a personalized email.  The email must be addressed to the individual, not   “occupant” (which is what using the bcc field does).  Furthermore, the email should address me directly.  Something like, “Hi Dave,” or maybe “Dear Dave,”  or for those who know me really well, “Hi you crazy SOB,”  (But that’s another story).

Anything less is simply a demonstration of the senders’ total lack of interest in the recipient.  That the sender does not have the time to use the mail merge function of whatever word processing or email program he is using (every one of them has this function), demonstrates a total lack of respect  for the recipient.  Doing this indicates the sender’s only interest is in “pitching,” not in engaging me.

In sales and marketing, we talk all the time about “engagement.”  We want to get close to the customer.  If we don’t respect the customer or prospect–regardless of what they might think of us, we will be unsuccessful in engaging them.

We all make mistakes.  The other day, in a mailing to one of my distribution lists, one person’s name was misspelled.  Forget all the reasons about how a misspelled name got on my list (I try to review all the new subscribers and correct formatting and other problems on the subscription list, I missed this one).  Fortunately, the recipient let me know.  I was embarrassed and ashamed about my lapse in professionalism.  He was gracious in accepting my apology.  I corrected his name on my list, did a quick review of the other new names, I’m certain I missed some and that I may repeat this error with someone else.  I hope they take the time to correct me, it’s the only way I improve.

The bar on expectations is continually being reset higher.  As sales and marketing professionals, if we want to set ourselves apart, we must raise the standards of our own professional performance.   We must be attentive to the details of every interaction we have with our customers, prospects, and peers.  They notice and respond.

To the “sales expert,” if you are reading this.  If I’m to take your approach as a demonstration of your expertise and what you want to promote to my subscribers — well, I think you know how I feel about it.


PS — for everyone else reading, I need your help.  every once in a while, I fall below my own standards of performance.  Sometimes, in rereading my posts, I’m appalled by my spelling, grammar, and sentence construction — a lot of them errors that spell checkers miss.  I’ve had a few of you “gently” remind me.  Thank you!  Keep prodding me to raise my own standards and performance.  It’s the greatest gift a reader can give.  Likewise for my newsletters, and other communications.

Book CoverFor a free peek at Sales Manager Survival Guide, click the picture or link.  You’ll get the Table of Contents, Foreword, and 2 free Chapters.  Free Sample

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  1. David your posting today seemed like “deja vu” as I have also had that experience recently. In fact it seems to be happening more and more. During the last couple of weeks, I have also blogged about this topic.

    What really galls me is these are so called selling experts. In one case the company that spelled my name wrong and asked me to review their product (entrepreneurship and sales training) for free because I seemed as a good fit. Of course we did not know each other. My misspelled name was on some list they bought.

    Thanks for the post and likewise if you find any errors in my postings please let me know. What we read in our mind’s eye is sometimes why different that what is actually on the screen.

    Leanne Hoagland-Smith
    Author of Be the Red jacket

    • Leanne, thanks for the comment. Sometimes, it’s amazing. One would think the experts would practice what they preach.

  2. joe permalink

    I deliver mail in Minneapolis. A man met me at the door with a complaint. He have me the first piece of mail and said these people “Do not live here anymore…”. It was addressed to the “Occupant”. The next letter he had an issue with was the one addressed to the “Current Resident”. The last one was sent to “The Energy Wise Consumer” at 123 Main Street. I said “I suppose this is not you either?” He said “No, we the Williamses..”

    • Joe: I love the comment, thanks for sharing. The “Occupant” and “Current Resident” families sure get a ton of mail 😉

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