Worst Cold Email Ever?

Do you want to send cold emails that turn your prospects off and cause them to hit the delete button? No? Then learn from these atrocious mistakes…

First of all let me say this… I’m sure I’ve sent “bad” emails before. Pretty sure most of us have.

The key is to learn from them so we can get better as individuals while generating more business.

The following “cold email” I received from a well-known company is just simply horrifying. I’m not going to use the name of the company or the name of the sales rep, because this post is NOT about embarrassing anyone – it’s about helping those who are in the sales industry learn how to get better results – and sometimes learning what NOT to do can go a long way.

Let’s get started.

I’m going to break the email down, line by line.

“Good Afternoon –   My name is (NAME BLOCKED OUT) and I am the (COMPANY NAME BLOCKED OUT) Account Manager covering Florida and aligned to your account.  My apologies in advance if you are receiving this email and we have spoken recently or if you no longer have an account with us. 

OK – the whole “My apologies in advance if you are receiving this email and we have spoken recently or if you no longer have an account with us.” SCREAMS at me that this person was never properly educated in sales. Since this company is not a small business, I’m going to assume that he is using a company approved email template.

Here’s the problem with it so far:

1. “if you are receiving this email and we have spoken recently” – Now, I’ve accidentally sent emails to a prospect that I had previously spoken to (usually via automation and I forgot to take them out of the sequence – but it is RARE) However, saying in advance you “apologize” tells me this is premeditated. As a consumer on the receiving end of this email, I simply feel that someone is using mass blast email templates in order to try and generate new business.

Nothing wrong with that accept for the fact that I feel like it’s all one-sided. Meaning, the sender is only interested in getting what THEY want, rather than helping me get what I WANT.

2. “or if you no longer have an account with us” – What are we? Stuck in the early 1900’s? How hard would it have been for this sales rep to look up their records and see if my account was still active? Sorry, but this is just being lazy and this one is on the sales rep.

“I am reaching out to all my current and former customers because it is approaching our fiscal year-end and I wanted to ensure any and all of your needs are addressed.”

What he is really saying is, “Hi, I’m being lazy, I have no clue what your needs are, nor do I care, I just want to see if I can make a few quick sales and call it a day” That’s what I’m hearing, anyway. Am I being too harsh? I don’t think so. If you are a decision maker and you get an email like this, I’m sure you would have already hit the DELETE button.

“As part of your (COMPANY NAME BLOCKED OUT) Account team, this gives me the leverage to request a superior discount that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to apply to any add-on services to your account for orders placed prior to our fiscal year end.”

OK well, I still have an account and pay every month for their service. So does this mean I’ve been over paying all this time?

How am I supposed to feel “good” about receiving this email?

How hard would it have been to make sure I wasn’t still an active participant?

Wouldn’t it have been better to take the accounts that were assigned and break them into two groups – active and non active – and then pick up the phone and start a conversation with the non-active accounts and find out first (seek first to understand) why they may have left, rather than offer a massive discount to come back? What if “price” wasn’t the real issue?

Anyway – like I said, this was a real email I received. It turned me off BIG TIME. We are all guilty of having sent a bad email or two but this one really stands out and so I wanted to share my thoughts as a decision maker being on the receiving end in hopes of helping anyone avoid making these types of cold email mistakes in the future.

– Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone teaches inside sales teams how to pick up the phone and close business. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com – An online sales training company.

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