How NOT to Sell: Learn From This Crappy Sales Message I Got

I received this message recently on a networking app:

Hi Justin, We develop and implement cutting edge strategies, enabling companies to increase their online market share and maximize their profits. If you are interested, Inbox me a number, where we can reach to you. Either I or someone from my project team will contact you for further details. Regards, [name redacted]

This is a classic example of a crappy opening sales message.

Where to begin with this.

First: The message is all about them, not me.

It’s fine to introduce yourself and say what you do. But you have to then ask about the prospect. Express interest in them. Ask what their needs or desires are. Be curious about them. Do you even know anything about them? What makes you think that they even want to hear this pitch?

A guaranteed way to turn off your prospects is to drone on and on about how amazing your service is. Especially before they have expressed any interest in your service in the first place.

Second: There is no conversation starter. It’s just a pitch clumsily blurted out.

At the very least, you should end the message with a statement or question that opens up the conversation and solicits their contribution:

“I’m curious to hear more about your organization’s current challenges?”

“Are you close to reaching your revenue goals for this quarter?”

“What’s the biggest obstacle you are facing with online marketing?”

Whatever. These are still not perfect. And a lot of assumptions are being made with each of these closing lines. But at least it starts a conversation. And a conversation is necessary for any sale to occur.

Third: It’s lazy. Expecting the prospect to do all the work.

Look at how she ended the message: “Inbox me a number.”

Instead of doing the work of actually having a dialogue with me, she just throws this out there. If I’m interested, I now have to make an effort to reach out to her.

If you have something important to share with me, make an effort to show me.

If the salesperson is lazy, what does that say about the entire company? The outbound sales rep is the first impression of the organization. A lazy sales rep points to a lazy company that is concerned primarily with one thing: making money for themselves, not adding real value to their clients.

Fourth: It’s just a really bad pitch.

The wording and messaging of this pitch are terrible. Read the first sentence again: “We develop and implement cutting edge strategies, enabling companies to increase their online market share and maximize their profits.”

What the hell is that.

“Cutting edge strategies” could mean anything from marketing, to human resources, to sales, to management or operations. What are these “strategies” that they “implement” exactly?

And what is so cutting edge about it? Anybody can call their service “cutting edge” but that’s just talk and rhetoric. It means nothing.

The same applies to the phrase “increasing their online market share and maximize their profits.”

The most general, basic and universal concept imaginable. Absolutely nothing unique about that statement. The ultimate purpose of EVERY B2B service is to help their clients increase market share and increase profits.

Whenever you hear extremely broad and general wording like this, you know it’s either very poorly thought-out, or total B.S.

(Network Marketers are famous for this kind of universalist, cliche’d nonsense: “Build the dream lifestyle you’ve always wanted!” … “Achieve financial freedom!!” … “Be your own boss and retire early!!!”)

Maybe the idea is to create curiosity and mystery. If that’s the case, it’s very poorly executed, if for no other reason than the message is all about her and zero about me.

Finally, a bonus: Bad grammar.

This may not matter to some people. But to high-quality leads who are well-educated and know how to speak and write in proper English, it doesn’t look good.

Again, it’s all about first impressions. A sloppy opening message makes you look bad no matter how great your service is.

Overall, reading the message, you say to yourself: “This person has very little to offer. I don’t know much about her, but I do know she definitely wants my money.”

I’m the first to admit I’ve sent messages out like this on various apps and sites. But it didn’t work. So I stopped. And it’s obvious why it didn’t work: because nobody wants to receive a message like this.

Especially not in networking situations. Networking is about building relationships, and growing your reputation, trust and rapport with people. That takes time.

The person or company that sends this either (a) has no knowledge of how to construct a good sales message or (b) has just given up, and has resorted to mass messaging anyone and everyone in a desperate attempt to reach their numbers.

But hey, at least she addressed me by name.

Related Posts