Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Big Time Author Sends Offensive Smelling Email

Big Time Author Sends Offensive Smelling Email

It’s not what you think – or maybe it is.

Learn from the experts. Don’t repeat their mistakes. Would it surprise you to learn that so-called experts make mistakes? This doesn’t mean that their work isn’t credible, just that sometimes they might get sloppy or over-reach – especially when their fans and sycophants keep telling them that they walk on water.

In this case, I received an email from a well-known author of several bestselling books. He’s an acclaimed guru on leadership and communication; therefore you would think that he wouldn’t make a major communication error.

Read the following email and notice the phrases that might feel offensive to the recipient. By offensive I mean insincere and deceptive. Keep in mind that I’ve never met or corresponded with this person before.


Hi George,

How are you today? I just came across your profile and thought I would reach out real quick and see if you would like to connect further here on LinkedIn.

I don’t usually reach out like this, but thought you may be a good candidate for my advanced leadership certification program and wanted to personally invite you to take a look at it.

If you are interested in learning more, let me know and I will introduce you to the right person on my team who can provide you with more information.

Here is a link with more info in the meantime:

Keep up the good work.
Your friend,



Keep in mind that we hold the gurus to higher standards.

What might smell funny in this email?

“How are you today?”

If he was the guru that he is acclaimed to be he would know that phrase is the dumbest way to start a cold call.  When you receive a phone call from a person who you don’t know and they open with “How are you today?” you know it’s a sales call. You also know that it’s a sales person who’s already wasted the first seconds of the call by asking an insincere question. They don’t care how you are and you still don’t know why they called.

The other dumb aspect to open with in that email is that the recipient cannot answer. Should you send back an email and answer that question?  Why ask a question if you don’t want an honest answer? This means it was a rhetorical question – one where the person asking doesn’t expect you to answer or care about your answer.

So how would you feel if a stranger asks you, “How are you?” then before you can answer they say, “Never mind, I don’t care.”

“I don’t usually reach out like this”

Now you might wonder, “Really? So why now?”

You might wonder “How many people did you reach out to with this message?”

Technically that phrase might be true. Perhaps he hasn’t done a mass promotion on this particular networking site yet. That phrase feels deceptive. The intent might be to sound selective – to make you sound special.

“Your friend”

His message is signed with “your friend”. His definition of friend is clearly different from mine. We’ve never met, conversed or corresponded yet this prospecting email makes us friends.

This person is seasoned enough to know that Facebook friends aren’t real friends. I don’t even know if we are connected on Facebook. Just because he wants to sell me something doesn’t make him a friend. It’s one thing to act friendly. It’s a different thing to claim that he is my friend. That feels deceptive and slimy.

It seems curious that he’s selling a Leadership Certification program while being deceptive.

I’ve omitted his name because my purpose is to help you learn from his mistakes not to embarrass him at this time.

Test your emails for the Smell of Deception.


George Torok Keynote Marketing Speaker Co-author of Secrets of Power Marketing Get your free copy of "50 Power Marketing Ideas" Power Marketing on FaceBook Marketing Zoo on Twitter Share/Save/Bookmark

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