Daniel Pink’s book, To Sell Is Human, is on my bedside dresser these days. Although this blog post isn’t a book review of his bestselling book, it has made me very aware of how important it is that we understand that we are all involved in sales. Did you catch that? Yes, we are ALL in sales.
Although I plan to come back to Daniel’s book in a later book review on our blog, I wanted to share with you an email exchange I had earlier this week with someone who was attempting to sell to me. I have changed the names and edited the actual website, but the rest is a true account.
My intention isn’t to tear this poor fellow, who is trying to make a living, apart. It is to show how very important it is to own that you are in sales and that it is important to do it well.
Here is the email I received:
I just found your Instagram account and I’ve just spent the last 15 minutes looking at your crafts! Are you doing any marketing on Instagram to generate sales? I own @Change the Name and a few other accounts and I’m sure your shop would be a great fit for us. We have 1 million followers with average 25k likes per post so the exposure is great.
I don’t know how much Internet marketing you have done so I am going to offer you a huge Christmas discount to lower the price quite a bit for your first time!
Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll get back to you asap 🙂
Sent from my iPhone”
Let’s Break This Down:
Seems innocent enough, right? But let’s break this down on what isn’t working for me here in this initial email.
1. Do you really think he spent 15 minutes looking at my Instagram page? He had to be taking a serious look. You’d have to read every single post I have in order to rack up 15 minutes! And if they looked at my posts that carefully, they wouldn’t have used the word “crafts”?
MY POINT: Be honest and build trust. Don’t make junk up!
2. In the second paragraph, they provide the Instagram account, but in order for me to see it, I have to go to Instagram and look them up.
MY POINT: Make it easy for me! Include a link to your website or other social media platforms so that the potential customer can easily click to your website.
3. Also in the second paragraph, there are some grammatical errors.
MY POINT: Proof, proof, proof your emails before you send them!
4. Still in that second paragraph, they did catch my interest with the amount of followers that they have, but I was soon turned off with the sales approach, “I don’t know how much Internet marketing you have done so I am going to offer you a huge Christmas discount to lower the price quite a bit for your first time!”
MY POINT: Tell me how you can be of service to me and why I can’t live without your services before offering me a “huge Christmas discount.”
5. This was sent from their iPhone.
MY POINT: Don’t make it look like you sent me this important email while standing in line at Starbucks waiting for a coffee.
Okay, I’m not trying to be snarky. I was actually willing to accept and look beyond all of these red flags that came up for me. I did go to their Instagram page and reviewed the people that they featured. It looked like there could be some potential, so I responded to his email with:
Thank you Larry for reaching out to Nunn Design.
What do you have in mind for us marketing with you on Instagram? Since we are a jewelry findings company, do you think your audience would be a good fit for us? It seems like you have a large amount of painting/illustration type of followers.
I promptly received this reply:
Hi again Becky! Yes all sorts of jewelry and accessories tend to do very well on our page. We have 75% female followers where 80% is in the age of 18-44. Regards, Larry”
Do you want to give me a price for your services and explain how it works?”
Oh I’m sorry! I thought i included it in the first email, my fault! We’re offering to post your jewelry at our account and encourage our followers to visit both your account and website. We will also send you all the data from the advert for you to examine and use as you please. If you’re new to marketing I will gladly help you use the data to attract more sales. :) When we’re getting contacted by companies we quote $199 for an 24h advertisement at @Change the Name and most of them come back to do more advertising with us. However I’m willing to give you a much better price as I told you in the previous email. What about $99 for your first post and if you’re happy with the results we can talk about a more long term deal that can make the ads even cheaper. We would love to arrange something long term that fits your needs! Let me know if you have any questions or want more information about the whole process. Regards, Larry
Let’s break this down a little further:
6. I had to do a lot of work to figure out how to do business with their company. Even after several emails, I still wasn’t clear about how we were going to do business, nor did I understand how this “data” was going to help me after the initial post on Instagram.
MY POINT: Don’t make me ask. Don’t make me have to figure it out. Provide me with the information and be thorough!
7. In Larry’s fourth paragraph, he starts to explain his pricing by stating “What about $99.00…”
MY POINT: Be clear on your services, what they are worth and how much they cost. I felt like I was negotiating with a used car dealer.
8. His closing sentence did make me feel a little better, like maybe it wasn’t me that wasn’t “getting this process.” Maybe it was sort of complicated and I just needed more information.
MY POINT: Explain things well the first time and avoid a lot of back and forth emails. I was losing interest and getting frustrated.
I replied to Larry’s email with:
The whole process email would be good. I’m not clear on exactly what you offer and the process of doing business.
In which Larry responded:
We simply offer a Instagram feature at @Change the Name together with help on how to make the most of out of the advertisement. You will have your product(s) shared for 24 hours while we encourage our followers to go visit your website. When the advertisement are finished we always send the customer a report with all the data collected. For example you will get a list of all the usernames that liked the ad. Regards, Larry”
9. Ah, I’m still not any clearer on how to move forward. That didn’t provide me any new information at all. I’m DONE.
MY POINT: Build trust, explain who you are and what you have to offer, tell how your services are going to help make my business better, make it easy for me to say “yes.”
We are all in sales. Some of us are good at it, but even then, there is always room to improve and become educated on how to do it even better. Take some time and do a search at your local library or on the Internet for books that you could study and become more fluent in the important art of selling.
What Are Your Stories?
Do you have a sales story like mine? Leave a comment.
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