6 Dumb Lies Bad Salespeople Tell
Over the past few months, I've been noting down the lies that salespeople tell in their sales email. These lies really stick in my craw because it's insane to try to begin a business relationship with a lie. Here are the most egregious examples:
1. "I hope you are well."
This lie usually appears as the first line of the sales email. Look, if you don't know me personally, it's absurd to claim that you care two cents whether I'm skipping in the breeze or at death's door.
2. "This is not a sales pitch."
This is like a politician at a podium starting a speech with: "I'm not going to give a speech." Of course it's a sales pitch, and it's absurd to insist otherwise. What's more it's an insult to my intelligence. Pitch if you must, but don't pretend you're not pitching.
3. "I will not try to sell you anything."
Yeah, right. However, let's take this statement at face value. If you're not selling to me, why are you wasting my time? Why would anybody in a business context want to speak with a salesperson who isn't selling something?
4. "I am certain you will be [excited|pleased|interested]..."
Really? You're certain that I will have a pre-defined emotional reaction to whatever you're selling?!? Okay, whatever. One question: since you have the power to read people's minds, why are you working in a sales job?
5. "There is no obligation to buy."
While there may be no legal obligation for me to buy, you and I both know that you're going to set up the situation so that it's very hard for me not to buy. And the fact that you're providing something for free obligates me socially to buy, right?
6. "I was just checking through my contacts..."
What you really mean, of course, is that my email address has crept onto a list of prospects and you're calling me out of a clear blue sky. However, you want to make it seem like we're colleagues, hence the BS.
For pity's sake, let's retire these tired old lies and leave them back where they belong... in the glad-handing sales days of yore. If you want your customers to trust you, start by telling the truth!
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GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist
Geoffrey James was recently named a "Top 40 Social Selling Marketing Master" by Forbes, and his blog has won awards from the Society of American Business Editors and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. His writing has appeared in publications as diverse as Wired, Brandweek, and Men's Health, and he is the author of numerous books, including The Tao of Programming, Business Wisdom of the Electronic Elite, and, most recently, Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.