Two Words That Wrecked an Otherwise Superb e-Sales Pitch

[NOTE: All names and numbers have been changed to protect the inept.] “Always see a salesman once,” said my first boss and mentor, children’s book publisher (and ace salesman) Franklin Watts.

The reason is obvious: you never know when (1) the guy has something to make you rich or (2) he is so good that you should hire him.

During 50 years in business, I have been receptive to reasonable blandishments from strangers by phone, letter, in person and—in recent years—e-mail.

James O’Malley called me and said that during this recession, many companies were having trouble getting paid. He said that his firm was employed by a number of direct marketing companies to collect overdue receivables and asked if I could use his services.

I gave him my usual line, “I’m a ‘see’ guy, not a ‘hear’ guy. Could you e-mail me some information?”

O’Malley said he would. Did I have any outstanding receivables currently that would require his services? I said that I did not, but who knows what the future would bring.

Five minutes later I received the following e-mail from James O’Malley:

your new Legal & Collection firm

Wednesday, July 1, 2009 11:02 AM

From:

“James O’Malley”

To: dennyhatch@yahoo.com

Message contains attachments

BSM 2009 EMAIL Packet (James O’Malley) PC.doc (42KB)

Denny,

We spoke today about protecting your company on current and future collection issues. Our collection ratios are more than double those of in house attempts, OR competing attorneys and collection firms, and many times we can collect within 3-5 business days. Attached please find the information you requested regarding our firm, along with a placement form.

Please get together the exact amount, invoice number, and date of invoices as soon as possible.

We are excited about the opportunity to help dramatically increase your cash flow. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at the number below.

Sincerely,

James O’Malley
Client Services Manager
800.555.8020
602.555.8041

www.b-s-minc.com

So far so good, I thought, as I clicked on the attachment. I believed James O’Malley cared about me, wanted my business and spent serious time trying to woo me. After all, he called and asked for me by name and immediately followed up with a personalized e-mail. This was a thoroughgoing professional sales effort that made me feel important.

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