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As a departure from the normal content of this blog – expat life, travel, photos and the little things – I’m going to dip just a little into my professional side. For those who don’t know me in real life, my background is sales and marketing. For the last eight years I’ve focused on sales methodology, process and best practice. In short, I’m a nightmare if you’re a terrible salesperson.

Recently I received a LinkedIn request from a person in the sales training industry. She took the time to change the standard “Let’s connect” note to let me know we share a mutual connection would like to get in touch. I happily accepted with high expectations both because of the personalized request (which is an unfortunate rarity) and because I am generally aware of the company she works for. My mistake. Here’s what I received:

Hi Rachel,

According to the Sales Benchmark Index, around 60% of your deals are getting lost to an insidious competitor.   And it’s not who you think!  Your greatest competitor of all is No Decision… your prospects deciding to stick with their status quo.

So what if you could message it great — tell a better story that overcomes your prospects’ resistance to change?  This is exactly why companies like Dell, GE, and Motorola partner with <name redacted>.

You need to challenge your prospects with insight into why their status quo is unsafe: why they need to change, why they need to change now, and why they need to choose you. Build the buying vision for your prospects early on with a distinct, provocative point of view. Watch this short video to see how:

Would you like to hear more? Are you available the week of August 20th for a 20-30 minute intro call?

In Service,

<name redacted>

You may be thinking that her email is pretty good. It has a research point and sounds like she’s offering something interesting. But something is missing. Do you know what it is?

I sat on this for a couple of days thinking about my response and checking with a few people to ensure I wasn’t being too harsh or out of line. I’ve just hit send on the final draft.

Hello <name redacted>,

I had high expectations for your email as I’d assumed – based on your company and your title – that you would have taken the time to review my LinkedIn profile and to get to know a bit about me and my employer before diving into a sales pitch. Imagine my surprise when I received your message which feels like a copy paste job you send off to everyone you “network” with via LinkedIn.

Had you taken just a couple of minutes to do some research, you would have seen that I left Miller Heiman two years ago and was your neighbor just down the hill. In fact as I think about it, we may have met at an MH client event in Incline a few years ago. And then there’s the common connection you used to get my attention via LinkedIn. Lots of common ground to start from.

What I find most disappointing is that the content of your email is all about helping clients come up with messaging to overcome their prospect’s status quo but that you aren’t doing this yourself. There is nothing about my company or the challenges we face simply because you didn’t take the time to understand them. In fact, all you’re asking for is my time to tell me more about your product not time to learn more about us and our challenges to see if it makes sense to go any further. Needless to say I won’t be accepting your request to speak next week.

I realize this email wasn’t the response you were expecting and I’d be surprised if you made it this far but I hope you did. Having a genuine interest in what your prospects and customers are facing and what they are trying to accomplish, fix or avoid is what sets great salespeople and great sales organizations apart. I’m sure <name redacted> has a lot to offer clients, but as you’re selling to salespeople you may want to consider raising your game. Miller Heiman is just down the hill and I’m sure they’d love to help.

Regards,

Rachel

What do you think now? Too harsh? Not strong enough? What would you think if someone sent you this reply? Oh how I’d love to be a fly on the wall…

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