How Bad Is Your Sales Pitch And Are You Missing The Millennial Boat?

How Bad Is Your Sales Pitch And Are You Missing The Millennial Boat?

Listen to this episode.

Host Swap!

Originally we planned to do a host swap with the Superheroes of Marketing podcast but due to scheduling snafus and the alignment of Jupiter, we had to postpone that. So we swapped our own hosts instead. Carol Lynn takes on the role of Ralph including the intro, and Ralph takes on the role of Carol Lynn, smoothly commanding the “What Did We Learn?” segment.

Visit Our Sponsor

We’ve talked about Tammie Rampley and Tramplee Designs before but it’s worth repeating: you can get some amazing bags there. We just got a bag we custom ordered for Ralph’s mom with a pretty vague directive: she likes cats and she’s constantly digging into her bag for something that it usually takes her forever to find.

Tammie ran with that and came up with an amazing bag that I’m debating not giving as a gift… I mean… I can’t wait to give the gift! We’ll post photos after our moms get their gifts so they’re the first to enjoy the surprise.

Shout Out to Tom Richards, AKA Mr. President

We were so excited about our 100th episode that we forgot to give a shout out to our Obama impersonator last week. His name is Tom Richards and we found him on Fiverr, which may not be the best place to get your logo designed but is pretty cool for other fun stuff.

If you haven’t heard the intro, go back and listen and if you want to have a little fun with your audio scripts, Tom will deliver fast and brilliantly.

Get My Name Right, Will Ya?

I got a solicitation from someone on LinkedIn that started out like this: “Hi.”

That’s it. No name, no intro, just a pitch. If you’re planning to pitch someone, at least start with their name and do me a favor: get it right! My name is a little more complicated since it’s two words but you don’t have to look far to figure out how to spell it. It’s all over this website, on all my articles, on the podcast, on every social network.

When you can’t even take the time to include or spell someone’s name correctly in your pitch, it just screams, “Spam!” and only makes people want to delete it.

Beware The “Happy Birthday” Notifications

LinkedIn does it. Facebook does it. Skype does it. You see those notifications prompting you to wish people a happy birthday and it may seem nice on the surface but if you don’t really know the person, you could be doing yourself – and the person you’re engaging – a disservice.

Sometimes that info isn’t correct. Sometimes people don’t celebrate birthdays. I wished someone on Skype a happy birthday some three months too late because for whatever reason, it popped up in my messages that day. Fortunately I knew the person and we laughed it off, but that can be kind of awkward otherwise. Not exactly a great relationship building strategy to wish someone a three month late happy birthday.

I’ve seen people blindly wish someone a happy birthday on their Facebook page after that person has been dead for years.

And The “Congratulations” Messages

It can also be touchy when wishing someone “congratulations on your new job” as LinkedIn prompts you to do. What if that person was just correcting a typo? Or finally got around to adding their job after years working at the company? What if they were downsized and had to take on a crummy interim job? “Congratulations!” doesn’t seem so appropriate anymore.

Instead of blindly connecting or spewing out niceties, try engaging with people you have some kind of relationship with. If you don’t have a relationship with a person, it’s ok to not wish them a happy birthday.

Don’t automate your relationships. Be careful about what you say and be real about who you say it to.

Why Marketing To Millennials Is Fiction

Someone recently told me they need to revamp their website so they can tap into the millennial market. If that means making their website mobile friendly, then that’s a great idea. But usually when people say that, it means they want to reach “the young people.”

We stole a page right out of Ryan Hanley’s book on this one: we don’t believe there is any such thing as generational divisions. The only thing that matters is whether you’re connected or not connected.

If your audience isn’t connected then how you market to them will be different. You’ll have to rely on snail mail, phone calls, maybe even door-to-door.

But if your audience is connected then whether they’re born after a certain year doesn’t matter. Your job is to provide a solution to your customer’s problem, age notwithstanding.

Should Your Prospects Have To Do Your Marketing For You?

Lots of people put a field on their contact forms that asks, “How did you find us?” It’s usually a dropdown box with a bunch of choices and one of them is usually “other”.

The other day I left a website that required me to choose from a very long list of options. I opted out and they lost my business.

Ralph says I’m a fringe case. I say I’m busy and I got the same product at another website without having to complete an annoying form.

Be mindful of what barriers you’re putting between you and your prospect. And that incudes captchas. It’s not your prospect’s job to do your marketing nor is it their job to manage your spam.

As for me, I’d rather get 100 spam messages than miss one opportunity.

Guess I’d better get rid of the captchas on our site…

Here’s A Better Question

Chances are your customers didn’t take a straight path to your door. They may have seen you on Facebook, read your blog, signed up for your email then finally contacted you because of a tweet. So when you ask, “How did you find me?” they probably don’t even know.

And that’s ok because if you’re doing your marketing right people shouldn’t remember how they found you. You should just be everywhere they are!

Here’s what you should be asking people: “Why did you choose to work with me?” Or even, “Why didn’t you choose my competitor?” Knowing what really made their decision can inform your marketing much more effectively.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Carol Lynn: Look at your website forms and ask yourself whether you need all the information you’re currently asking for. Examine every field and ask yourself, “Do I need this information in order to respond to this person effectively?” If the answer isn’t a definitive yes, remove the field. Make it stupid-simple for people to complete your form. That also means getting rid of captchas and not asking your prospects to do your marketing for you by asking, “How did you find us?” Save it for your second date.

From Ralph: Find a time tracking tool and start tracking your time in as granular a way as you need. Be careful not to micromanage your tracking though, because you can get carried away and start measuring minutia. Find a balance that helps you figure out where you’re spending your time, what’s making you money and what’s not. People are notoriously bad at estimating how long a task is going to take. If you’re investing a ton more time than you’re billing for, you’re losing money.

Links & Resources

Oh, And Stickers!

As part of our 100th episode celebration we gave away 100 stickers and clings and we’ve still got some left so if you’d like one for your desk or laptop then complete the form below and we’ll shoot one out to you ASAP. We are only shipping to the U.S. right now.

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Carol Lynn Rivera

Carol Lynn Rivera

I'm a business owner, content creator, podcaster and marketer. In 1999 I founded Rahvalor Interactive, a web and creative services production studio, with my husband and business partner Ralph. In 2011 we created Web.Search.Social, a consulting and marketing service line for small businesses. We also cohost the Web.Search.Social Podcast where we challenge the status quo of marketing and the Carbon Based Business Units podcast where we talk about the human side of being an entrepreneur. On any given day I wear the hat of project manager, consultant, social media manager and content marketer. My true passion is writing and in my spare time I'm busy planning my early retirement to Barcelona as a famous and wealthy novelist.
Carol Lynn Rivera
Carol Lynn Rivera
  • “How did you find us?” ?! Hell, I don’t know. I did a Google search … then I landed on some article on a site whose name I can’t remember … then I think I clicked a link in that article which took me to a Facebook page, but I’m not sure … then I believe I clicked an image that took me to Pinterest … then I can’t remember what happened next but I landed on your website. (Please add “I don’t have a clue” or “It was a convoluted journey” to your drop-down menu.)

    Captchas. NO. Just no. They’re a horrible idea. Some bloggers require readers to complete a captcha before posting a comment. Guess who doesn’t leave comments on those blogs?

    • Ain’t that the truth! Everyone is everywhere so it’s hard to know how people found you. I think that is actually a sign of good marketing! When people don’t know where they found you because it just seems like YOU’RE THERE, that is a win.

      • I agree! I think that’s a wonderful indicator of REALLY good marketing. 🙂

  • Krithika Rangarajan

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!

    Thanks Carol and Ralph! #HUGS

    Kitto

  • Love the new show notes – I felt like I was missing out on some of the good stuff if I didn’t get to the podcast, so this is a huge win as far as I’m concerned. 🙂

    • Yah! Good to hear. And it doesn’t really take much more effort to do them, since the content is already there for the plucking. Thanks!

  • Thanks so much… I just love you guys…

    Am I the only one that has noticed that either my eyes are getting worse or captchas are actually getting impossible to read? They are pointedly making them either so scrambled or so blurry that with 20/20 there is NO way I could possibly tell you what the heck it says. That cannot be good for keeping people on your page.

    I notice that a lot of people who tell you how to “increase your LinkedIn presence”, because you know that is all that is necessary in making you a marketable and successful business person.. tee hee.. They allllll do this phenomenal form letter, it sounds great the first time you get it, like they are wanting to be helpful, they have been so successful and they want to give back and how can they possibly help you.

    The first time I received it, It was from a pretty successful Businessman. I took him seriously. I responded. He asked how he could help me, in what way he could advise me, how his wisdom and knowledge could possibly be of assistance to me and my personal growth. Let me just say, He didn’t really mean it. I took the time to really think, if there were one thing and I had one question that I could ask him, what would it be? And I asked. His response was so form and so regurgitated that I was sadly disappointed… UNTIL.. About a month later, I received this same, super duper, wonderfully encouraging and well written letter asking to help and do all he could from me, word for word, from another successful business man. Who, by the way, had also made a bunch of money himself and wanted to give back and help others who were struggling. Who also wanted to help those in any way that he could.

    I am not sure what the point of this is, other than to make people think that they really are some kind of Philanthropist and truly cares about other people??? Because the answer to the question make it clear that he was not that at all.

    I would much rather have people look at me and say, you know what, she makes a fantastic product and gives great customer service than have someone say, hey, I got a great email from her once.. I just don’t get it..

    • If you stick around the internet long enough you start to see these things circulate again and again. I guess I get it if you’re a total noob and you took some course about how to pitch your crap or connect with influencers etc etc. But from people “in the industry?” Who should know better? I really don’t get it.

      I have fallen for those genuine sounding letters before. You think someone actually give a crap then you respond and you get…. like you said, another form letter. It’s sad but I have learned to ignore everyone unless I already know them.

    • Don’t get me started on the lovelies from LinkedIn, Tammie, because we’ll be here all day.

      You know what’s just as awful as people who claim they want to be helpful? This:

      !.) You get a LinkedIn invitation to connect.
      2.) Two minutes later your brand new connection emails you a sales pitch to buy their “thing”. (You know, because they want to be so helpful!) 🙁 Pffffttt!

      • I just had this very discussion with myself while pilfering through pages of LinkedIn messages. As I reprimanded myself for neglecting them for way too long, I realized why I had. Every single one was a sales pitch or ad of some sort. Grrrr….

        • I hear ya, Tammie! The phrase I hate the most in those LinkedIn sales pitches goes something like this:

          “I just know your audience is going to love this!”. Really?? You don’t even know “me” yet and already you think you know my audience. WHAT A CROCK OF CRAP!

    • The thing I don’t get about captchas is why they have to be so HARD. Ok, make me copy some letters or whatever but do they have to be so obscure that you can’t read them? I have left plenty of sites because I just can’t get past that stupid box. And forget the thing where it tries to “speak” to you. HAHA!