January 8th, 2015 | by
3 min read

This blog originally appeared on the KLA Group’s Blog on September 25, 2014.

For those of us who have been in sales for longer than a decade, it’s easy to sometimes long for the days when customers waited until they met you (or conducted several phone calls with you) to decide whether they liked you. Back then, we had more control over how prospects perceived us. A firm handshake or warm smile went a long way toward building a strong customer relationship.

Today, we don’t have that luxury. In fact, many customers now assess a salesperson’s likability, knowledge, and authenticity based purely on electronic interactions and that person’s digital presence. Whether it’s how you phrase your emails, what you share in LinkedIn Groups, or which messages you retweet on Twitter, people – customers, prospects, support staff, etc. – observe how you communicate and monitor what you say. And because people buy from people they like, that means your digital presence needs to be as warm and authentic as your real-world persona.

With that in mind, there are six specific email “personalities” salespeople should avoid if they hope to get customers to like (and, ultimately, buy from) them:

BLD0218941) Ms. All Business: You know the type. This salesperson is so focused on quickly responding to emails that she forgets the importance of likability. If a prospect asks a question, this person fires back a brief answer and moves on to the next email.

2) Mr. Opportunity Knocks: These are the salespeople who love contacts when they’re a client, but refuse to give those same people a second of their time when they no longer possess tangible value. Sales isn’t always about selling. It’s also about relationship building.

3) Dr. No: We’re all busy, but this salesperson has perfected the art of saying “no.” This cold tendency is generally directed more at this person’s network or co-workers, but Dr. No rarely makes him or herself available for sales ride-along’s, peer coaching or speaking engagements because they’re too focused on their own priorities.

4) Bobby Bully: We’ve all worked with this salesperson – the type who bullies their support team via email, and demeans direct reports when things don’t get done. This cold approach not only kept reps from getting the help they need, it also alienates them from their support team’s network – including the owner of another company.

5) Corey Cold Fish: In an attempt to avoid writing something he’ll regret, Mr. Cold Fish chooses to compose robotic emails, often with underlined headings and bulleted lists. Those messages aren’t just boring, they also make it hard for prospects to tell if there’s really a human behind the Corey Cold Fishemail address.

6) Sarah Sweetie Pie: The opposite of Corey Cold Fish, this salesperson often goes overboard in an attempt to seem more friendly and engaging, writing multiple paragraphs where a few sentences would do. Even worse, they adorn messages with LOLs, emoticons, and smiley faces. While it’s good to let loose and show your personality, doing this too frequently will harm your professional credibility.

The key takeaway here is that people buy from people they like. So, be real. Personalize your emails. Be warm and friendly. Help an old prospect out. And always be cognizant of how someone might interpret your messages. While you might understand the context of your tone, it’s not always clear on the other end of the line.

About Kendra Lee, President, KLA Group

Kendra LeeKendra Lee, owner-president of KLA Group, is a prospecting prodigy and virtual sales magnet who advises and trains mid-market companies to generate leads, prospect and sell to mid-market companies in innovative ways that breakthrough common sales and prospecting barriers.

Named one of the Top 25 Influential Leaders in Sales by OpenView Partners and Top 10 Women in Sales Experts to Follow on Twitter by Sales Gravy she is author of the award-winning books The Sales Magnet and Selling Against the Goal.

Her clients have included Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Apple and countless mid-market channel partners. You can read more about Ms. Lee and her “Get More Customers” strategies at www.klagroup.com or call +1 303-741-6636.

About the author

Henry Schuck

Henry Schuck is the CEO of DiscoverOrg, a 7-time Fortune 5000 company, which he co-founded at the age of 23. He has extensive experience managing the sales and marketing activities of fast-growing information technology data companies.