According to Carolyn, she doesn’t think this marketer had clients cancel projects. She points out that the email, based on its format and style, had been sent through an email platform, as opposed to a 1:1 personal email from someone at the company. She found it to be deceptive:
“I don’t think I want to ever start a new relationship based on a lie, so I find this message leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth. Not only would I not respond, but I certainly would NEVER refer a company I’ve never done business with to another business colleague.”
My response back to her was that, even worse, if the loss of projects was true, then the marketer’s choice of messaging left with me with very little confidence in them. For me, the line from being open and transparent was very quickly crossed over into TMI territory.
Why not put a positive spin on a situation? Your email subscribers don’t need to know you lost business and are in a pinch. For many, this may be a first or early impression of you, and let me tell you, it’s not glowing. Instead, why not offer up a promotional discount to new clients, hoping that could drum up enough interest to make up the lost revenue, or at least close the gap?
What do retailers do when they need to move inventory? They have a sale. Similar idea.
I mentioned this to Carolyn who told me I was “dead-on” and “and, if [the marketer] really did lose a project, shouldn’t they be talking to people they at least have a past relationship with?”
Thanks Carolyn for making me feel so smart.
Then one of my copywriting mentors and Target Marketing columnist Pat Friesen chimed in:
“The email struck me as being odd, awkward and lacking authenticity. A very strange way to ask for referrals. NOT 1:1. To Carolyn’s point, it’s uncomfortable to be asking for a referral from someone who doesn’t have personal experience working with them.”
It’s a shame when projects fall short. But you’re not going to earn trust, support and business with a plea like this. To be frank, it seems desperate.
But I think Jeff Molander, another blogger I work with regularly and a digital sales prospecting trainer and coach said it best:
“It’s funny. We put words into emails and send them. But we would never consider actually showing up in a crowded room, stand up at a podium and make a plea like this. Would we?”
Well, would you?