BY BRANDON LEE
I had a very interesting experience a few weeks ago that paints the perfect picture for the current state of sales and marketing. At least inbound sales that doesn’t work as well as it could.
I received an email from a vendor I had used previously. It was actually very personalized and it sounded like they knew exactly who I was. It started off by saying “Hey Brandon, you use to be a client with us. We hated to see you go but we have all these great new features and we’d love to have you back. In fact, we have this new partnership program and wanted to reach out to you personally.”
Basically, without going into all the details, it made it sound like they were gonna coach us, help us and really partner with us if we signed back on with them. All they asked us for is that we make a one-year commitment and that they could use our results for marketing purposes. The kicker for me, they told me that I had to apply to see if we were a good fit for them. Intriguing right?
Normally, I would see right through a win-back offering, but the key difference was the language on this email. It was all about coaching and relationship. The tone was, they were gonna come alongside us as a partner and offer access to relationships and coaching. It was very personal, like they want to help us specifically.
I was interested to see if this was really the case, so I clicked the button and went to the form. Sure enough, it said “There are only 30 spots available. If you fill out the form your Business Growth Expert will call you and interview you to see if you qualify for this program.” You have to be the right person, the right type of company, all that.
This made sense to me. They want to partner with us, they want to coach us, but they want to make sure that we’re the right type of company to give them the best testimonial. If they’re gonna invest their time coaching and partnering, that makes sense.
So I filled out the form and then I got an email from them. It was also very personal. It was from my coach-rep and it said “Hi Brandon, I wanted to introduce myself, I saw that you filled out our pilot program application, I’d love to interview you and speak with you further about your business and the partnership” etc. So we scheduled a time for the interview.
A few days later, I get on the phone, fully expecting an interview. Only, there was no interview. It was a hard sales call. As soon as she got on the phone, it was “So here’s what we’re doing, we’re giving you a special price and there are only 30 seats, but there are 6 other people in this room just like me that are talking to people. So if you want to act, you gotta do it now. You’ve gotta reserve your spot now.”
I was like what? And I even asked her, “ I just wanted to make sure this is the right call, your emails all said that you were gonna interview me to see if we were the right company?” She goes “Oh no you’re fine, I just need to know if you are ready to go?”
Basically, there was zero interview, there was no asking me about my business. There was no seeing if I was the right fit. No relationship, all pressure, all sales.
The front end of the email was designed to make me feel important and special. The initial part, and kind of everything in the beginning, was relational. It was personal. I got an email from Samantha who wanted to schedule a time to go through the interview process. But, as soon as she got me on the phone, it was all hardcore sales. Close the freakin deal, it was all the tactics you would expect from a hardcore cold call. I only have 30 spots, oh let me check yeah 16 of them are already filled. Yeah right. And there are six other people in this room that are all having phone calls like me, so if you want the special pricing, you’re gonna have to act soon.
It wasn’t relational at all, it was just appearing to be relational, and as soon as I didn’t behoove her, she was done. I sent her a follow-up email saying we were not interested in renewing at this time. I got no response, from her. That basically says I don’t care about you. Talk about disappointing!
I knew going into it that I was not going to take the offer unless there were some good partnership opportunities involved. I was intrigued and even had a fellow business owner that I thought could have found their offering valuable. I thought about referring them to her. But, I didn’t.
When I received the first email I saw an opportunity to build a relationship with this company. I would have considered renewing for a 1-year commitment ($4-5K for the year) based on the tone and offer of the email. They had me. They blew it too. Samantha did not give a crap about us. We were just a number she was trying to put on the board for a commission.
Yea, she blew it.
That’s the big problem with inbound.
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