How Unsolicited Emails Reveal How Not To Be a Top Sales Performer

The discussion of what makes a top sales performer can be always be found in blogs, forums or sales journals. Many of those who share their thoughts look to identify this top talent or that one. And yet to be a top sales performer suggests many talents and behaviors. To think that there is just one or two is folly.

Each week I receive unsolicited emails from companies that provide performance improvement, organizational development and sales training. All of these emails shout if not scream product based marketing. These firms appear to be clueless about education based marketing and that is a topic for another day.

Many of these unsolicited emails actually are difficult to read. This difficulty breeds in me usually and probably for others a negative emotion. Sales Training Coaching Tip: People buy on emotions and justify the purchase with logic. The absolutely last thing you want to do is to create negative emotions specific to you as an individual or about your company.

Every once in a while I engage in role playing to see where this exchange would go. In the past such exchanges have not only created an opportunity for a learning experience, but have provided enough content for another article or blog posting. During one of these exchanges, I sent a returned, proactive and respectful email back for clarification. The sender a woman responded:

  • I had downloaded a white paper
  • She had attempted to look up my company ADVANCED SYSTEMS, but could not find any information
  • Then went on with blah, blah, blah about what her company can do and how her company help me
In my final response to her, I thanked her for that clarification and indicated surprise she could not find anything about my company as she already had my corporate email account. Now anyone in sales who is even the least bit tech savvy knows how to look up a company by the email address. Even if the person does not have a corporate email account, you can Google their name. If she had taken this action, she would have discovered over 500,000 hits on my name and golly gee whiz my corporate website is usually in the top three to five hits. Of course, if she was really smart, she might have looked me up in LinkedIn and would have quickly found me. Sales Training Coaching Tip: In today's technology driven market place, the last thing you wish to be is foolish because you failed to do your homework.

My observations from the 30,000 ft. viewpoint is this individual and the others who send me unsolicited emails are truly not top sales performers because they are not creative, they spew one of the 3Ps virus (product, price and proposal) and most importantly they do not even attempt to build a relationship.

For example instead of writing the following:

I wanted to introduce myself as your account representative for (company's name) and would appreciate a few minutes of your time on the phone at your earliest convenience.

The following would be a far better introduction:

Good day Leanne. Recently you downloaded a paper (insert name of paper). As the contact person for (insert company), I was wondering if you have a few moments to share your thoughts about this paper and your company specific to some of your current challenges?

When you examine the first actually received email versus the one I suggested, you may notice the first one presumes an existing relationship. This presumption is a big mistake especially when there was not one/

To be a top sales performer is all about selling yourself. Unsolicited emails dramatically fail in the arena of "How to Sell Yourself" and do it well. Sales Training Coaching Tip: People buy you as the salesperson first before they even considered your products, services or organization. You truly have only one opportunity to make that first connection memorable.


SMB coach, sales and organizational culture authority, Leanne Hoagland-Smith is the People and Process problem solver for forward thinking leadership who want to dramatically improve their business and sales results. What this looks like differs for each SMB and why a phone call to 219.759.5601

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