How NOT to Promote Your Services by Cold-Call Emails

I received an email from someone today wanting to sell me on her transcription services. Nothing wrong with that in and of itself. However, this person’s delivery was such a turn-off and showed such a lack of business polish that it got immediately deleted. There are some excellent business and marketing lessons I thought I would share with you, though…

Mistake #1 – Nonprofessional Email Address:  The first mistake is that she emailed me from an AOL address. I don’t know you from Adam, (therefore, the trust factor will be zero) and you expect me to think you are a competent, reputable, trustworthy professional when you don’t use a professional email address from your own business domain?

Mistake #2 – No Signature Line or Other Identifying Information:  There was no signature line or any other kind of identifying information anywhere in her email. No business name. No contact info. No website address. No tagline. Nothing! How on earth is anyone supposed to determine this person’s credibility and legitimacy? And I’m supposed to want to do business with you?

Mistake #3 – Trying to Negotiate the Whole Deal Right Then and There: To her credit, this person did relate some important facts and information about her services and qualifications. Good, this is stuff I would be interested in. But, instead of leaving things there–giving just enough to pique my interest–she goes on to tell me her rates and terms, what file formats she will and won’t accept, yada yada yada. Talk about a turn-off.

Your first contact, especially a cold one, should never include discussion of costs and terms and all the other minute business details. It’s not appropriate at that stage (some would even say it’s vulgar and unpolished), and you kill any possibility of a relationship.

People don’t want to be “sold” to. Everyone likes to learn of a new resource, but don’t be presumptuous, and don’t club them over the head with something they never asked for or you will be viewed as an intrusion. The goal is to invite further conversation. Give folks just enough (not everything) that they may be intrigued enough to contact you, or at least save your message for future reference.

Mistake #4 – No Website:  There just is no excuse in this day and age for any business not to have a website. This just cannot be stressed enough. And if you want to argue or debate that, well, all I can say is, good luck to you. It’s gonna be a long, hard haul.

Mistake #5 – Desperation:  Neediness is so unattractive. This person gave a whole paragraph about how she would do a trial run (the way it was worded, that sounded to me like “free”), and would go to great lengths to keep an accurate record of every minute of her time on tasks.

Ew. When I hire someone, I want a confident, competent professional, not an obsequious lapdog. Geez, you might as well stick a sign on your back that says, “use me and abuse me.”

Have some dignity. Respect your work and your business, and others will, too. If you’re as great as you say you are, your skills will stand on their own merits. Show some class and business polish, and you will engender trust and rapport in those you wish to work with. You don’t have to beg and bribe people to work with you.

One Response

  1. Shelley Chier says:

    It is hard to imagine any business not using a professional e-mail address, signature line, and website. Working online as often as I do I naturally expect these as necessity. I am suprised though, how often professionals specifically small business owners do not. I have noticed it is a very common mistake among attorneys I have come in contact with.

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