I love cold email, but I can’t stand lazy liars.
I’ll admit that I’ve been a champion of using “social engineering” in sales prospecting. That’s where you architect a situation that might not otherwise naturally occur in order to strike up a conversation and quickly build rapport. In fact, I’ve regularly referred to upcoming or past conferences and tradeshows as a point of conversation in my own cold emails, but that’s not the same as blatantly lying to your sales prospects.
If you attended Dreamforce and you’re in sales (or even if you didn’t attend!), there’s a good chance that you’re probably getting bombarded with lame sales prospecting emails right now too.
The following sales prospecting email especially irritated me because it wasn’t very thoughtful and I know it absolutely wasn’t true.
Why this cold email sucks:
Although I spoke at Dreamforce, I actually didn’t go to any booths. I dislike conferences and crowds, and so I avoid them whenever I can. Because I’m actually much more effective at sales prospecting via email campaigns, I decided to avoid the chaos of the Dreamforce pavilion completely. This is how I know Leadspace is 100% lying.
My next question is: how did they get my email?
I’m guessing that they probably bought it from someone or got it from another sponsor that they have a partnership with. They probably traded leads or purchased them, but it looks like they didn’t do a very good job collecting the correct source of their leads, and they didn’t segment their lists properly either.
This might not be Leadspace’s fault, but lying about how they met me at a booth is their fault, and there’s no excuse for it.
Likewise, their email is boring and self-focused. It just talks all about themselves, using jargon like, “predictive platform” and “targeted lead discovery.” On top of that, they make fluffy claims like that they’re a “world-class demand gen operation,” without much substance to back up their claims, leaving them feeling hollow. Instead of taking the time to convince me of their value, they presumably “shove the meat” (if there is any) into a link to some video, which I did not click on, because I was already irritated and bored.
Finally, they finish it off with a lame and generic call to action that has no benefit for me whatsoever. It’s vague and simply not compelling enough for me to respond.
What a better sales prospecting tactic would have been:
First of all, let’s address their obvious lie.
Yes, I went to Dreamforce, but no I didn’t meet them. Regardless of how they procured my contact information, they could have used so many other tactics that would have left them in the clear.
For example, they could have just said something more neutral like:
I saw that you also attended Dreamforce, but it looks like we didn’t have a chance to meet.
I was hoping to talk to you about [xyz benefit/issue] because [abc reason].
[Insert relevant social proof that demonstrates their value and ability to solve said problem.]
Do you have 15 minutes to [insert some kind of incentive to make me want to talk to you]?
Likewise, if they had done a little bit of research, they would have known that I also gave a talk at Dreamforce. They could have mentioned that and asked me a thoughtful question, or simply asked me how they could catch a recording of that talk.
Another option would have been to talk about a specific aspect of the conference that they liked or enjoyed, whether it was a talk or party, in an attempt to humanize themselves to me. This could have been used as a conversation starter that would have felt much more authentic and genuine. The email could still be just as mass and equally not personalized, but it wouldn’t have been irritating and boring.
Have crappy cold emails in your inbox from Dreamforce that you want me to tear apart? Send them my way at shame (at) salesfolk.com! (Feel free to share you thoughts and feelings, or nominate them for an “award.”)
For more tips on improving your cold emails, check out our cold email mastery course. (Lesson 1 is free, and full of some of our “winning email templates.”)