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.