“Uh, can I check my email?” -Roman Pearce, Furious 7

Recently I picked up an email that took me by surprise. It was from a sales rep for a social search company claiming to be able to monetize social media. The sales rep claimed that I would have the ability to find, explore, and nurture potential leads through social media and email after purchasing their services.

Here is the text of the email with revealing parts redacted:


Screenshot of spammy type email


And here are the points I’m having trouble with:

  • To whom the email is addressed: If you are counting on the email address to extract personal information like first name, you could end up with a spot of trouble. If possible, use your prospect’s first name. If you can’t find it in the email, do some digging into the social media accounts. It may take a little work, but for a viable lead, the extra work is worth it.
  • Where I found it: The company claims that it can find potential social media prospects, extract email addresses, and create viable leads. Yet, it sent this email to a non-existent email account, which is how it landed in the spam folder of my catchall account. Not a very auspicious beginning.
  • The immediate message claim:  the writer claims that he and I follow some of the same people on Twitter. Surely, he must have considered that I’d run a quick review on the social networks. Yes, he has a Twitter account, but he’s just starting out with nine followers and following seven. It was a snap to see that we had no one in common.

While I don’t doubt the capabilities of their service if applied appropriately, the sales letter left something to be desired. Here are a few ideas to improve your interaction when you use email for sales:

  1. Assume everyone receiving your email can immediately see you as well.

    I’m a big advocate of Rapportive. While Rapportive only works with certain browsers and in certain email clients, you don’t know which of your prospects and clients are using it. So assume that everyone you send your message to can see details about you. Even if your email recipients don’t have Rapportive, they will do what I did with this guy – bounce over to Twitter and run a search on the sender.

    Update (2018 04 10): Rapportive was bought by LinkedIn back in 2012. The technology was absorbed into the LinkedIn platform and turned into a sales app. It has since fallen into obsolescence as LinkedIn nurtures its relationship with Microsoft. But there are other apps and techniques available to determine your relevancy. Bottom line, if you send someone and email, expect them to do a search on your identity. So give them what they want. Put your professional identification in the footer of the email and take control of the situation.

  2. Don’t fabricate information.

    Don’t make statements like “we have people in common” unless it is true. Expect your clients to check the veracity of your statement.

  3. Don’t talk about yourself in your email message.

    In this email, there are many references to “I”, the emailer’s company, and their services. Instead of doing what everyone else does, why not try something different and give some recognition to some of your clients. Use a story of their success to display your services. It’ll go a lot further than a claim made by you of what your service can do. Here’s a quote I heard from Tom Hopkins during a sales seminar. He was referencing all of those claims we sales people like to make: “If you say it, the statement is suspect. If they say it, the statement is truth.” If possible, get testimonials from a few of your clients. Those will go a lot further to winning your prospects’ hearts and minds than any claims you can make.

  4. Show what you can do.

    This guy’s email would have been a lot more convincing if it was an actual demonstration of his service’s capabilities. For example, if it had landed in my email inbox and was addressed me, I would have been more impressed. Instead, I found it rotting away in the spam folder of my administrative account, addressed to “L”. Not a good representation of their claims.

I don’t know the mechanics of how they implement what they claim they can do, but obviously something isn’t working. Since receiving this email, the spam folder inside my catchall account has picked up a “few” more emails from this company. This gives me the impression that their service is more like a phishing expedition rather than a viable social media practice used to generate leads.

Questionable social media lead generation mechanics aside, the lesson here is to use sound sales practices when creating your emails campaigns. You’ll engender trust with your prospects and have better results in nurturing leads.