Sales Fails in Emails - Stop the Ugly Sales Tactics

Stop The Ugly Sales Tactics. Be Better At Selling.

My husband sent me this email earlier this week. He’s such a good sport. I truly think he may listen to what I say about sales and selling and I’m convinced he may even read my blog posts. He knew he had an example of a #SalesFail. A case study of what NOT to do when selling – sitting in his inbox.

He’s a phenomenal optometrist, witty, funny, compassionate and his office runs on time, no exceptions. He’s also a wickedly sharp businessman and extremely busy, so when he forwarded the email below from an unknown person at his payroll company with the subject line “UPCOMING MEETING REQUIRED”, he had a few choice words about this person’s tactics.

He called his payroll representative to ask “is she still his account manager and who the heck is this guy telling me I have a required meeting and that his time is limited so I better act fast.”

The answer was, yes, she is still his account manager and she’ll take him off this guys’ list of clients to call.

Ah, so we figure out that this is a business development strategy. An UGLY one. I’m guessing it wasn’t the first time this method has backfired.

Except for changing the name of the company, this is the verbatim email:

Sales Fails in Emails - Stop the Ugly Sales Tactics


This poor guy thinks he’s killing it by using all the sales tactics in the book. All wrapped up into one bang-up email.

It’s cold. There’s no reference to his account manager, his years of loyalty as a customer of the company, or any “warm” connection to establish prior or existing relationship knowledge.

Using the “Alarm Trigger” in a “Meeting Required” subject line – and in all caps, no less, certainly gets the reader’s attention, but who wants to be misled or tricked into opening an email?

It’s impersonal. Insert the customer name here. Insert business name here – it sounds like a cut and paste job into a form email that his CRM has spit out.

Scare Tactics – Warning you might not be in “legal compliance” is a scare tactic that rarely works. It more often leaves people with a bad taste in their mouths.

Benefit Position – Savings Strategies and “benefit your business as a whole” sounds good but is extremely vague. Perhaps it’s vague because the author has no idea what the recipient finds valuable.

Sense of Urgency – Get your “required” meeting time while it lasts. Oh boy.

We’re not picking on one guy, one company or one industry. I receive several emails like this each week and I’m betting you do too.

The Sales Industry kindly requests you to stop sending or accepting these terrible emails. If you’re a sales professional, a marketing department, or a business owner trying to sell, cut the pretense, techniques, and UGLY sales tactics out of your practice.

Good selling is about building relationships, credibility, and trust. Helping people make investments and business decisions is selling. There are no short cuts anymore and authenticity rules. You can’t hide behind techniques and tactics.

Get good at helping people. Become transparent in your communication and be authentic in your intentions.

Until next time, keep kickin’ butt!


PS – Have some examples of #SalesFails that you’ve encountered? Tell us in the comments below or on twitter @SellingAgency using #SalesFails. 

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Straightforward, practical and perhaps slightly cheeky, Shawn Karol Sandy's innate gift is helping people find new ways to solve old problems, unique ways to approach new problems and helping businesses re-invent themselves and their sales strategies. With Bold and Brave thought leadership and Clear Action Plans, her impact on business is Measurable and Meaningful and will lead your sales revolution to growth and revenue goals.

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3 Responses
  1. EXCELLENT POST – THANK YOU!!! All i want is to be AUTHENTIC – and yet – somehow i need to read posts like this in order to give myself permission to stop trying to sound all “professional”. YUCK!


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      Just be you is right, Cindy! When you give your most authentic self, you save everyone time. It’s a pre-qualifying condition that gives each party insight in to working together. If people don’t like the real you, chances are they’re not a good fit for you.

      Thanks for your replies! It’s great to know what we write is helping you.

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