Can we chat about sales introductions?


Call me strange. I will often listen to a sales introduction or a marketing pitches even when I’m not interested in the product. It intrigues me to explore what works and what does not. Today I got one that made me chuckle. On the surface, this sales rep is telling me that his company might be able to help me improve my profitability goals:

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On 6/14/07, Brent Sapiro <Brent_Sapiro@webex.com> wrote:
Alan,

Can we chat sometime this week? I’d like to share some creative ideas to help grow your business. WebEx has helped over 29,000 companies acquire more customers and reach their profitability goals.

Best regards,

Brent Sapiro
Regional Sales Vice President – WebEx Communications, Inc.
3979 Freedom Circle | Santa Clara, CA 95054
Email: Brent_Sapiro@webex.com

1009954

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Now what I like about Brent’s pitch is that he talks about me, his target for chatting. My goals. He’s on the right track.

On the other hand, there is just so much wrong about this spam, I mean, email introduction. Where do I start?

  1. He emailed my personal account, yet made no reference about how he found me.
  2. The email is directed to my name, and he sends me his best regards, but again, I don’t know him, and he doesn’t even acknowledge that fact. His first sentence, “Can we chat sometime this week”, (and I won’t elaborate about the misuse of the word sometime), starts off in a familiar way, the way I would do with a fairly close friend. And “chat”? I don’t chat with sales people that I don’t know.
  3. The number at the bottom lets me know that I’m probably not the only person that Brent wants to chat with this week. Maybe I’m number 9954.
  4. He wants to share creative ideas with me on how I can grow my business. Yet, as I have pointed out, he doesn’t know me, and as he emailed my personal account, I would guess he doesn’t have the first clue what my business is.
  5. Get this: when I started blogging about the email, I looked at the raw HTML source:

Begin document End of Quarter Mail Merge Letter_Final,V=1

OK, OK, I should have known he was mail merging me. Imagine my let down. Perhaps he also wanted to chat merge me too.

I did respond to Brent:

From: Alan
Subject: Re: Meeting this week
Date: June 14, 2007 5:27:48 PM EDT (CA)
To: Brent_Sapiro@webex.com

Sure. You have creative ideas to help me grow my business. First question: What is my business?

Joking aside, I do think there is at least one important point here: If you don’t know me, say you don’t know me. Cut through the noise. Without trying too hard, here’s a possible introduction:

Hello Alan,

We have not met before. I am Brent Sapiro, and I represent WebEx. We help our customers communicate with each other by sharing ideas visually over the internet. I recently worked with a consultant in the mid-Atlantic who told me that he has saved thousands of dollars in a few months of using our service because he can communicate over the internet and avoid travel for many of his meetings.

I would like the opportunity to see if we could help you avoid travel and communicate more effectively and visually with your clients. It would only take 15 minutes of your time for our initial discussion.

Is this of interest to you?

Best regards,

Brent Sapiro

Well, it’s not perfect. But it does talk about our customers goals as avoiding travel and saving costs, which is much more concrete and believable than “improving profitability”. And it states things as they are; we don’t know each other, but a client of mine in the same business as you was able to save time and money by using our service.

Would you like to save time and money? Maybe you should spend 15 minutes talking to me. Go on, click reply.

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2 responses to “Can we chat about sales introductions?

  1. Pingback: To the sales people, you are just a chicken « On Product Management

  2. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.