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Are You Making This Colossal Mistake with Prospects?

Profile photo of Elaine Fogel Submitted by Elaine Fogel December 14, 2016


Acquiring new customers these days is a challenge and a half. Marketing messages bombard your prospects up the wazoo.

Your first point of contact is critical. It can make or break your ability to get a response.

So, how can you make it count?

I receive countless email pitches as I’m sure many of you do. When they clog our inboxes, many of us discount them and click delete before we even read them.

So, when it’s you attempting to grab a prospect’s attention, there are some best practices that can improve your odds in getting a response. But, if you make this colossal mistake, you’re likely doomed.


Here’s the email I received last week.

Hi Elaine,

Been following your org for a bit as my communications firm works specifically within emerging media and tech niche. Have been really compelled by your value prop, but certainly believe you could be hitting more strategic press on a weekly basis from the niches  to larger mass market pubs like Forbes,Wired and TechCrunch.There is certainly a thought leadership play here as well to engage the industry with via bylines,earned panel positions and awards. Our media relations practice is second to none and we have multiple proprietary content marketing and b2b branded content platforms to supplement it with. Let me know if you are game to chat, at the very least, we could provide some exceptional outside perspective to your current comms teams.

Let me evaluate this for you. First, the message itself.

I am an individual, not an “org” and therefore do not have a “current comms [communications] team.”

I am not involved in the tech niche.

What value “prop” [proposition] is compelling this salesperson?

Wired and TechCrunch are certainly not within my target audiences… at all.

What does this mean?: “There is certainly a thought leadership play here.” Shouldn’t it read: “There is certainly thought leadership at play here.” ??

There are punctuation, typo, and spacing errors in the message which I have highlighted in yellow.



This salesperson could never get a positive response from me because he did not do his due diligence. He could not have possibly been “following my org” or he’d know more about me.

Since email spam laws prohibit mass distribution to people who have not subscribed, he had to send his messages one at a time. Now, you can ask me: “What if he had hundreds of prospects on that email list? How could he possibly research each one?”

My answer: I truly believe that you can get better results by knowing your recipients and sending fewer emails. Personalizing your messages demonstrates your insight and can lead to more responses.

The interesting thing is that I have been contemplating working with a PR firm to build more buzz for my book. So, his timing was good. But, he blew it by not checking me out first before using his generic message.

Now, I could surely have deleted the email without a second thought. But, I replied.

Thanks for reaching out, [name]. I took a look at your site and don’t doubt that your firm has experienced success for your clients. However, in reading your email, I doubt that you have been following “my org” for a bit, or you would know that I am an individual – a professional speaker and author – not a B2B or tech business.

Since I am a branding specialist, I am very finicky about presentation. Although I realize that you work in business development and may not have PR campaign responsibility, your pitch message represents your firm’s brand. Because it includes punctuation and spacing errors, and sounds like a scripted appeal, it can erode your credibility with prospects. What confidence does it build that any news releases or PR your firm creates on my behalf would not be similar?

My intent here is NOT to embarrass you. The purpose of my reply is to be helpful. Unless you have researched each contact to learn his/her pain points and challenges, it may be challenging to get the responses you want.

My three cents for whatever they’re worth.


As the clichéd saying goes: “You only get one chance to make a good first impression.” If your job or company depends on customer acquisition, it makes sense to make that first impression the best you can make it.

Do you agree or do you think I’m being too picky?


This post was originally published in by Elaine Fogel

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Profile photo of Elaine Fogel
Elaine is a professional speaker, marketing thought leader, and author of Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most For Small Business Success. She is a regular contributor to Business2Community, and SmallBizClub (founded by NFL Hall of Famer and author, Fran Tarkenton) and her articles have appeared in many publications. People in 100+ countries read her blog, Totally Uncorked on Marketing. She has also been a contributing writer for The Business Journal and MarketingProfs and her career has included stints as a cookbook author, teacher, singer, and television show host. Elaine Fogel Speaker: Elaine's Book: Totally Uncorked on Marketing blog:

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