Selling Skills

Email Etiquette for Sales People

Friends send me appalling emails all the time. It’s not that they write them; they receive them and forward them on to me. I love my friends.

Today, these two examples of “sales letters” were in my inbox:

The “less” bad one ended with:

Thanks, again for your hospital and providing  ….

(My friend is an independent meeting planner, not a nurse.)

But the really bad one:

(Background: The sales person first sent the email and sales proposal to an incorrect email address, using .com instead of .org.) Here is the National Sales Manager’s response to my friend’s follow-up, in entirety:

Here you go

The sales person had attached a copy of her original message, the one with the wrong email address, to that message.

Her original email? It said:

Attached is our proposal. Please contact me with any questions. Thanks.

OMG! wrote the planner who received this. OMG is right.

About the typo in the first example…it’s not funny and it does matter! People think less of you when you don’t care if you’re sending your very worst. In fact, according to a Nov 2009 survey of HR managers, 57% of them agree that typos or grammatical errors are “deal breakers” in hiring (and isn’t that what the sales person was trying to do… get hired?). Typos were seen as “somewhat of a problem” to 41% of those responding to that Society of Human Resource Managers study.

The people you write to deserve respect and doing a quick review of your message is simply an honorable thing to do. Besides, if you’re selling attention to detail (any service) and you aren’t going to exhibit that attention in your email communications, when should the customer expect you to start?

But about the OMG example… bad sales people may have gotten by when times where different. Today’s customers expect to be treated as the valuable commodity they are. It’s up to you to show your prospect you care about her success.

How much time would it have taken for that sales manager if she had (checked the email address and) expanded her initial message to say:

Hi Name of Association Planner,

You can expect great attendance when you book at The ABC. Attendees love the convenience of the airport location and it’s especially perfect for your well-traveled members. I’ll follow-up with you next Tuesday to be certain you have everything you need to make a great business decision.

And in place of her “Here you go,” how about:

I’m so embarrassed! We really do pay attention to the details and you can hold me to it! Thanks so much for your follow-up. We look forward to welcoming you soon.

Email etiquette for sales people? Be clear, concise, correct. Empathy is your friend.

Do you have examples of really bad sales letters? I’d love to rip them apart here!

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