Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How to Lose Business and Alienate People - Networking #FAIL

You can learn a lot about how to do something right by first learning what to avoid.

Riding a bike? Avoid trees and cars.

Digging a latrine? Avoid upwind locations.

Networking for new business? Avoid ... pretty much everything in the following email, which I got today from a business group to which I belong:

Subject: Greetings!

Body: Good Afternoon!

My name is Joe No with F______ Insurance. I am a new member of the (Group Name). It's a pleasure to partner with you and the (Group Name) ...   

I'd be very interested in doing business with you. I specialize in a variety of products, not just personal Insurance needs (Life, Home and Auto), but business needs as well (property coverage, liability and workers compensation). As a family man, I know what's most important isn't your bottom line. But I know the bottom line is important so let me take 20 minuets of your time to look over your information and see if I can get you a better value for your money.

Feel free to contact me, I'm looking forward to seeing you at the next (Group Name) meeting!

Joe No

222-333-0000 Auto - Home - Life - Business

Where to start with the mistakes here?

1) Don't write an email asking people to do business with you and fail to address them by name. Beginning an email, "Good Afternoon!" is the equivilent of "Dear Occupant" or "Dear Current Resident." No dice.

2) The second paragraph opens, "I'd be very interested in doing business with you." This is like asking someone out for dinner within 15 seconds of meeting them. Good luck with that.

3) This is really oafish: "... let me take 20 minuets (sic) of your time to look over your information ..." Really? You've stolen 20 seconds of my life so far and now you want 20 more "minuets" of my time. No.

You get the picture. This is bad, bad, bad.

I really hope "Joe" is a 22-year-old beginner in the sales game, so that he won't have to work too hard to unlearn this inept way of prospecting by email.

Above all else, Joe must learn that in the words of legendary copywriter Gary Bencivenga, you have to make a friend before you can make a sale.

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