I receive many email requests from friends, associates and connections asking for my help. Some want me to buy a product, others a service, and some are merely looking for endorsements. I honestly try to help everyone I come in contact with as much as I can, but there are some examples that present interesting contrasts for us to study. A good case in point is a LinkedIn email I received from one of my connections a few days ago. We have never done any business together, so she knows neither my business nor my needs, yet she sent an email taking a shot that it would hit a sweet spot with me. Please keep in mind that I have deleted some of what she said to protect her identity. Here is what she wrote:
As a member of my first level connections I am writing to ask for your help. I have launched a new short e-book on amazon kindle. In order to maximise readership I”m offering a Special Promotion so from today 29th July to 2nd August inclusive it is FREE to download. I would be grateful if you could download this book and if you feel so inclined leave a short review.
The e-book is called:
How to ———– Sales Team
“It is targeted as Business Owners who have little or no sales background and need some practical advice on how to manage a sales team to understand their performance and get the necessary information from them to be able to forecast sales more accurately. It also explains how using commission plans can direct your team to sell your products or services the correct segment of your target market.”
Just sign into Amazon and search the kindle store to find this publication
If you don’t have a kindle don’t worry you can now download a free kindle reader app for almost every platform. To find the one which is right for you go to:
By downloading this e-book you will be helping to increase the awareness of my book to the market.
Thanks in advance for your help
Aside from the obvious spelling and punctuation errors, I was taken back by the discontinuity between what A had chosen as the subject for her book (Sales Management) and how she structured an email that was intended to “sell” me on her product. Here is how I responded:
Thank you for your email and the request. Unfortunately, I have been extremely busy and missed the 8/2 deadline for downloading a free copy of your book.
I do have to say, however, that I am puzzled by the combination of (a) the topic of your book and (b) the content of your email. Please allow me to explain, and please take this as constructive input from a first level connection and friend, OK?
When I read your email, the first thoughts that popped into my mind were:
- It’s all about what A wants and needs
- A wants me to take action because of what’s in it for her
- Other than getting a free copy of her book, which she is assuming that I both need and want, what’s in it for me?
As a company owner since 1998, I work with new prospects and clients all the time. Having done so for many years, I can very clearly tell you that my clients don’t give a rat’s behind what I want. What they are focused on is what they want. As a result, my job is not to focus on what I get from the relationship, but rather what I can give to the relationship that takes my clients to where they want to be – to where their needs will be met.
I get tons of offers from people who need something and are asking me to take action to help them get what they want. It astounds me the huge number of people out there who have never grasped the concept that “IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!”
Based on the preceding paragraphs, I’d ask you to give me one good reason why I should read your book on sales management?? If you don’t present your email requests in a manner that tells me how I am going to benefit from what you have to offer, how can I possibly believe that anything you’ve written is worth my time, energy, and money to consume?
I look forward to hearing from you and helping you as you move forward with your venture. Despite what I have said, I want very much for you to succeed and am here to help you in any way that I can.
Some of you may read my response and think to yourselves that I am just being cruel, but I assure you that is not the case. Part of helping people move forward in life is learning to be respectfully honest with them when they are mishandling situations. I view that as part of my responsibility in any friendship or business relationship. If you read the testimonials page on my website, you will find examples of people who have moved forward to better places in their lives because they were willing to accept, ponder, and take action on some difficult input they received from me.
But that is not what I want you to learn from this mini case study. Here’s the question I would like us to focus on:
If you are responsible for sales or sales management in your business, what is your number one priority when it comes to dealing with both your people and your clients?
If you answered with anything other than, “It’s never about me or us, it’s always about the customer,” then you are, in my opinion, way off the mark.
Consider the following statements:
- Service to our customers is what keeps us in business.
- Without our customers, we are nothing and we will soon close our doors.
- Everyone in the organization is involved in sales, not just those who have direct customer contact.
- Understanding and meeting the ever changing needs of our customers keeps us in business and gives us the opportunity to create a competitive advantage that widens the gap between us and those who want to lure our customers away.
- Meeting customer needs, both now and in the future, is our primary pathway to ongoing success and profitability.
So…based on all of this…would you say that your organization has the attitude of, “It’s never about us; it’s always about the customer”? If yes, then celebrate the achievement of a major milestone in your business. If not, call us and let’s work together to put you on a pathway to delighting your customers and winning them over to your side for life!