I just opted out of yet another newsletter that I never opted into in the first place. Does that ever happen to you? Frankly, I'm almost ready to stop handing out my business cards to people. I'm betting that I am not alone.

Get Permission

For the newbie e-salesperson, let me help you get a clue. There is a concept called permission marketing - a term coined by Seth Godin some years ago - that you need to educate yourself about. The concept is simple really. Ask permission before you add people to your sales list. Just because we met you at an event and cheerfully handed over our business card when you asked, does not mean that we said it was OK for you to add us to your marketing list. Got it?

A Common Mistake

Realizing that this is a common mistake made by a lot of people, including me in the earlier days, I will often let it slide if the content you send provides something of VALUE that I can use. Creating value with your prospective buyers is what leads to the sales of your products or services, but that's a detail that seems to escape a lot of sellers these days.

Target Your Audience

Speaking of prospective buyers, your market is not the entire world. If you want to succeed with your sales and marketing campaigns, you must give some serious thought to who your "target buyer" actually is. It doesn't matter what you offer - not everyone is your potential client! The danger that comes in assuming that's the case is that your messages will lack focus, clarity and value to a majority of the people you email. What you send won't be relevant to them and that's akin to slinging hash up on the wall expecting all of it to stick. It doesn't!

Build Relationships

For just a moment, I'm getting up on my soap box with my megaphone in hand to shout out that a one-size-fits-all, I'll just email the entire planet approach simply defeats the entire purpose of using e-marketing at all. Your goal must be to build relationships with people that "over time" leads to business. That means you need to be patient, because building that all important relationship is not going to happen overnight, and it requires your commitment to be consistent.

It's the Content that Matters

Back to that newsletter I opted out of today. Though they don't know it, I've actually given them a couple of chances to woo me with meaningful, valuable information. They haven't. Each piece of email I've received is nothing more than a sales pitch for their latest workshop. Not an introductory note, article, book review or news flash to be found. There is nothing compelling about the material at all. The subject lines lack punch, the information is poorly written, and it is clearly all about them.

These folks have given zero thought to their audience as far as I can tell, which will certainly impact their ability to convince someone to buy from them. Oh, and did I say that their workshops are supposed to help you increase your sales? Pardon me for thinking you'd be wasting your money if you decided to buy what they are selling.

Time to Say Goodbye

Image Consultant and colleague, Peggy Parks is fond of saying that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. That's definitely true, but I know that I'm also willing to give people other opportunities to change my mind. In this case, it was just plain time to say goodbye. Not only was my impression of this company not changing, it was only getting worse, and that's a surefire way to blow the sale forever!

ps...I'm their competitor. I have to wonder what makes them think that I will sign up for their sales workshop when I've been professionally selling, training and coaching others to sell for close to 30 years? Selling services that complement your competitor's business may not be a bad idea, but if you going to try to sell them something they offer themselves...well, you better have your game on!

pss...if you struggle with writing or aren't sure how to create messaging that will catch people's attention, I recommend you contact my colleague, Lya Sorano. She's an expert writer and editor who will make your content pop!

Author's Bio: 

Talent Builders CEO Barb Giamanco capped a corporate sales career at Microsoft, where she led and trained sales teams and coached executives, before establishing the company in 2002.

Since establishing Talent Builders, Barb has worked with organizations to increase sales, build high performing executive teams, develop leadership bench strength and improve communication. She now consults with companies and trains business professionals in the art of turning connections into cash while making sure they don’t leave easy money on the table. Visit talentbuildersinc.com for more information or call 404-459-4030.