Pop quiz time. What’s wrong with this email (an actual email to me from a sales rep earlier this week):

Hey Matt,

I was doing research on (a product you use) and was inspired to reach out. We’re working with firms who are potentially misallocating budget towards companies like (list of their competitors).

I was hoping to find some time on your calendar to talk further about (our products). Are you available to speak briefly with my director sometime today or this week?

There’s a lot wrong with these first few lines. But the “misallocating budget” line is what really got me. So I asked the sales rep to explain. His response:

Hi Matt,

What I intended by saying “misallocating budget” is that agencies I encounter aren’t always aware of other options, and tend to overspend.

Now that’s not a bad message. Maybe he should have started with something about overspending, instead of telling me I was basically wasting money purely by choosing a competitor.

I let the email sit, but a couple days later I got a follow-up with another request to set a meeting. I told the poor guy that I didn’t have time for a meeting and really just had a couple questions he could hopefully answer via email. His response:

Thanks for the response Matt. My director handles all of our prospective clients and answers any questions you may have in regards to what our tools do to… (stopped paying attention at this point)

I probably don’t need to point out the problems with this exchange, but just in case:

Don’t tell the prospect they’re wrong
Highlight something I might not know, or highlight a better way, but that’s different than telling me I’m doing something wrong right now. That’s condescending,or insulting, or both.

Answer my questions

This guy is clearly an inside sales appointment setter. Nothing with that, except the fact that he’s providing ZERO VALUE to me as a prospect. He’s wasting my time by providing little context or value.

Lessons to learn…