I've been selling for just about seventeen years. I started out horrible at it. And then I got better. Now I'm amazing at it. I still mess it up sometimes.

But since I'm a sales person, I'm particularly sensitive to their feelings. Selling can be brutal. So when sales people are particularly persistent with me (not a bad thing). I like to reply, thank them for their inquiry, tell them I'm not interested and move on.

I can remember wishing people would just respond "no." I'd be happier with that then not hearing anything.

Today was different. A sales person from very large financial institute (I won't use names) sent me three unanswered emails (not what irked me, again, this is totally fine). I'll get to what irked me in a minute.

This was his first email

"I work here at XXX with high net worth individuals and families on everything from financial planning to investment management. Do you have a few minutes to connect in the next week? Please let me know."

I didn't reply.

Five days later he wrote:

"Hi Chris, I hope all is well. Did you receive my previous email? Please let me know."

I didn't respond.

Finally today he wrote:

"Hi Chris, Please let me know if you are open to a discussion at some point over the next week. Thanks again."

When he followed up this morning I decided to reply with a polite:

"No thanks XXX. Have a great week!

To which he responded

"No problem and thanks for getting back to me. Just for my edification, what's your main hesitation?"

This is what irked me.

So I replied

"do you want honest feedback?"

To which he replied:


So here it goes. My honest feedback to the financial advisor for high net worth individuals. These are the 7 reasons why you'll never make the sale this way. Ever.


First, I want everyone reading this to know that it's coming from a place of love. I mean that. I sold for many years, and I want you to be successful in your career. You deserve to be successful, don't you?

I wish someone wrote me this when I was a younger sales professional. I've made all of these mistakes a million times.


Here are the 7 reasons why I would never work with you:

1. You've offered me no warm connection regarding how you got my contact information. You just emailed me out of the blue.

Tell me who you are: If I don't know who you are I won't work with you.

Tell me how you got my contact details. If you never tell me how you got my information, I won't work with you.

2. When I Googled your name I can't tell which (Insert Name) is you, so for all I know you could be a scam artist.

Build your personal brand. Here, I wrote a book about it. Buy it.

Now make sure that when prospects Google your name, you're the guy that shows up. So if you flub step number 1 at least I can see who you are.

3. Start with a warm intro. Even if there is no warm intro - make one up.

Don't waste my time trying to figure out who you are, and if we've already met. That's disrespectful of my time. This interaction (unsolicited sales) should be frictionless.

  • Warm intro
  • Why you're reaching out
  • How you're going to help me.

Maybe we're connected on LinkedIn. Or maybe you like the color of my hair. But please add something to let me know that you've done some homework when reaching out to me.

4. Don't sell the call, or the coffee, or the lunch.

If you're only selling me a call, you will never get the sale. When I say "selling the call" do you understand what I mean? I mean that all you were looking for is to book a call, so you can tell your boss you spoke with me.

You can tick that box, and tell boss man you did your job. I get it, like I said, I sold for years. I used to commit to 15 calls a day minimum. It didn't matter if I got someone on the phone or not, but I was making those 15 calls.

I was selling the call. Not the product. I got fired from that job. Ouch. Make sense?

"Do you have a few minutes to connect in the next week?"

This will never ever, ever, ever work. Ever.

Why? People don't have a few minutes. And if they did, they wouldn't want to spend it getting sold to. Even if they want your product. It's just not fun feeling like they're being sold something. Ever.

5. Take the time to explain why I would want to sit with you.

All this time (4 emails ever the course of 8 days) you've not once told me why you want to speak with me, or how that conversation can make my life better.

You have to explain to me:

  • What's in it for me?
  • How have you made people like me from a millionaire into a multi-millionaires?
  • Are there testimonials from people I can relate to?
  • Is there a differentiator that makes your financial firm stand out.

You have to give me something!

But you just wanted to get on a call with me. Super.

6. You haven't shown me any reverence for my time. Since I started typing this I've received 42 new emails. (45).

But you want to know if I'm"open to a discussion at some point over the next week?"

Nope. I'm not. Not at all.

7. You've never indicated that you know me beyond anything other than a lead.

No reference to what I do, who I am, or what my dreams and aspirations are. Why on earth would I give you time, let alone my money?

Essentially, you walked into the bar and asked to sleep with me before you even bought me a drink.

When I politely declining you pushed and asked me to explain myself.

You wrote:

"No problem and thanks for getting back to me. Just for my edification, what's your main hesitation?"

You don't want feedback, you want to be able to find out what you can do to close the deal.

Which stinks.

Because right now I'm giving you real feedback, and you're only going to get annoyed by it. I hope you don't.

I hope you see this as a pivot point in your career. I hope you decide to have reverence for the people whose business you ask for in the future. Maybe now I've convinced you, and you want to know what you can do better?

I'll put that in another post soon. Stay tuned.

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