A Few Don’ts (Please, Please Don’t) of Business Development


Most of the clients I coach in developing business hate the idea of it, because they do not want to be sales-y. “You don’t expect me to cold call, do you? Because I will not do that,” they say. I also hate cold calling. I hate being cold called or cold emailed or cold texted or whatever else sales people are doing coldly. I am in favor of the warm lead and the warm reach out.

Lately, I have been so annoyed by the kinds of sales emailed at me, I decided I have to write a blog about it. These tactics are, I believe, universally annoying. Whether you are a person who holds a position within a company to make purchasing decisions or someone, like me, who owns your own business, being approached in these ways is likely to not make a sale. In fact, it is likely to generate annoyance and distrust from your potential customer. Worst of all, it is likely to leave a huge negative impact on the brand itself.

  • Don’t Act Like You Know Me When We Have Not Met.
    This type of cold emailing goes something like this, “Hi Mary, Just checking in regarding your website. I know you are interested in reaching as many potential clients as possible.” I admit the “just checking in” makes me pause in case the person is actually someone I met while networking or with whom I am LinkedIn. When I realize I never met them, it becomes annoying. You don’t “know” anything about me, so leave me alone!
  • Don’t Act Like I Owe You Something When We Have Never Spoken.
    Here is a direct quote, “I’ve reached out to you thrice before without receiving a response, but I’m not going to give up easily.” Seriously? I do not owe you a response simply because you bought a list that has my email on it. For many of these sales methods, it is clear they are using an old list. They are spamming my personal email rather than my business email. Ouch!
  • Don’t Tell Me I’m Stupid.
    I want to lash out with a response to these emails, because they are the absolute opposite of what you should do when establishing a relationship with a potential client. But, I hold myself back. Someone please explain to me why a sales person believes degrading and humiliating a potential client and their business will lead to success? What am I talking about? The emails that start with, “I looked at your website and see you are trying to establish your brand. Unfortunately, It is clear your tactics just aren’t doing the trick. Here’s how I can fix it for you.”

    Another one in this genre talks down to the potential customer, me in this case, as if we are too inexperienced and unsophisticated to understand the world of technology. “In the digital frontier, (people like you) often find themselves wrestling with a rowdy gang of technological roadblocks.” As I continued to read this email, I was impressed with the prose but the resulting message to me came across as, “Don’t worry your pretty little head about technology. Us brave smarties will save you and your company with our intense skills.” Yuck!
  • Don’t Assume I Am Going To Miss Out on Something by Not Replying To You.
    This scheme is age-old. “I can save you 83%…” or “You really need to respond now to take advantage of this deal!” No, I don’t. Save me 83% of what? Because, I never planned to spend money the way you want me to spend it on your product. Enough said.
  • Don’t Clog Up My Email Box.
    As a coach, I receive multiple emails every day from businesses asking me, “Can you take on 100 new clients?” or “Do you need 50 new qualified leads per month?” This strategy makes me laugh the most, because they plan to set me up with leads so I can do the same thing to someone else they are doing to me. Spamming. Shaming. Annoying. Misrepresenting. Just no, no, no!
  • Think beyond this moment. You can make a fast sale, or work harder to develop a trusting relationship.
  • Misrepresenting yourself at the outset of a relationship smashes trust to bits. If you start that way, it’s over before you begin.
  • A happy customer is a repeat customer, and likely to become a referral source.

For more information contact Mary Balistreri, The Mindful Business Coach at mary@mbtmorebusinesstodayllc.com

Published by Mary Balistreri

Mary Balistreri offers a variety of coaching and professional development services to individuals and organizations focused on harnessing strengths to develop more business. Mary’s approach is goal driven, focusing on measurable results and developing actionable plans to move past obstacles that hold individuals, teams, and organizations back from executing on the plan. Mary offers expertise in business development, team building, and leadership development coupled with strategies to improve conversational and emotional intelligence to support clients moving toward their goals and aspirations.

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