How To Lose A Sale In 10 Minutes

Lose A Sale A couple of weeks ago I received a sales email from somebody I have never met that really made think about how we assume that everybody gets it. Everything changed around us from business models, communications, marketing, the internet, social media and yet, are we sure that all of us are understanding and reinventing ourselves to adapt to these changes?

To be honest I gotta say that my first reaction was “I’m gonna trash you like it’s 1999…”, it pissed me off, but today I rather take it as a lesson to be learned AND shared. I should probably say also that I never claimed to be a writer or an expert at anything… Hell, English is not even my first language!

The email said (in regards to one of my posts):

“Hey: Nice content, but . . . are you interested in having your posts edited so as to sound better written?
Seriously . . . we could do wonders for your “voice”
Good luck . . .”

So here are a few (grammatically incorrect) thoughts:

1. Cold calling died a few years ago… Maybe you didn’t get the memo

How about introducing yourself first? If the person on the other side doesn’t even know who you are, what are your chances? If you are an entrepreneur, you should know that people don’t go knocking on doors anymore. Imagine if this happens in the real world, you’re standing in front of a person for the first time and the first thing that comes out of your mouth is your sales pitch…

People get the impression that you’re kind of desperate to close a sale.

2. You don’t need to be a designer, but hire one

ClipArt We can’t be good at everything and that’s ok, the key is that we delegate those tasks to the right people, specially if you are an entrepreneur. If accounting is not one of your gifts, would you file your company taxes on your own? Of course not. Design is one of the most important aspects of a business first impression, you can actually kill a perfectly decent product if it looks like crap.

You can’t afford to look bad, it damages your reputation. Using Clipart from Microsoft Word is unacceptable.

3. If you don’t know how to write an email, ask for help

Email was invented a couple of decades ago and it is assumed, just like Word, that everyone knows how to use it. Email is most likely a big part of your daily routine, take the time to make sure you’re doing it right. If you are not sure, google “email etiquette” and invest 10 minutes.

If your intention is to make email part of your marketing or sales strategy you should definitely allocate some time into learning how to do it or you will be burning leads left and right.

4. Fake it ’til you make it

You know what I’m talking about, you can’t pretend to sell houses in Beverly Hills if you’re driving a ’92 Hyunday… I’m not suggesting you buy a Mercedez if you can’t afford it, just make sure you’re not damaging your reputation while chasing business. If you are trying to pitch a service that will improve how I write my posts, it would be better if when I visit your blog there are some people commenting or retweeting your content…

If you look like you need the product more than your prospect, you probably won’t be closing that sale…

5. Can you be any less human?

I am a terrible sales person even tough I’m aware of its importance, I think the only way I get away with it is because I truly try to be as human as possible. Believe or not, if you leave the strategy and the sales technique aside and you focus on putting a smile on your client’s face, that will do.

I won’t make any comments about the “but” and the “seriously” in this particular email because that is just from another planet.

In other words…

If you don’t have the marketing background or the sales techniques, having some heart and a whole lot of Common Sense can take you a long way.

Happy selling!


  • carriekish

    English is my first language and I am a very good writer and I am offended by the note you received. I happen to love your voice! You are incredibly authentic and that is what sells. There is all this “authentic marketing” nonsense going around right now. They are tips and tricks to improve how well your prospects get to know, like and trust you. Well, stop trying so hard and just be yourself, people! You've got this one, Francisco! I have a good appreciation for your restraint around the “but” and “seriously” and why would I buy copy editing from someone who overuses extraneous punctuation?

  • What…punctuation…are…you…talking…about…?

    I appreciate your comment. I guess being yourself can be a lot harder than putting up a “personal brand” and borrowing a voice from your ego. But it's all good, as I said, let's get something out of it and learn what we can.

  • carriekish


  • paigeoneill

    Great post, and I think your voice is authentic, which is the most important thing. You say cold calling died a few years ago — I wish more people would get the memo. As a head of marketing for a successful startup, I receive on average of a dozen cold call emails and telephone calls EACH DAY. I'm pretty adept at tuning this out, but it is annoying and what a waste of time and resources for the companies engaged in this futile tactic.

  • Paige,

    I guess some of us still hope for a quick fix and are not willing to take the time to establish a relationship first. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words.

  • Oliver

    Sorry, but I disagree. Cold calls with good pre-evaluated target lists work fine in Germany, the UK and Poland. We do it every day and Germany had a conversion rate of 27% over the whole pipeline. This is a great conversion and it shows, that cold calls can still be done. Targeting is the key, as it always was. And there are still many people who prefer a human touch delivered by a direct and authentic call to a mass email.

  • Thanks for the comment Oliver. Very good point and I love the fact that you disagree and provide your opinion. Let me just make it clear that I'm not saying you should email blast instead of making cold calls. I'm talking about letting the customer come to you instead of interrupting their lives.

  • Deb

    This was a great post! I have a weekly radio show (Nashua, NH) on Mondays from 10 – 11 am. Today's discussion was Sales Related and I gave credit to I'll have the recording posted within a couple of days.
    By the way, I'm Deb Titus. Thanks again for your message.

  • Hey Deb, thanks a lot for the mention! Please let me know when you post, I'd love to listen to it.