Key Selling Ability: Literacy

The motto of a children's literacy non-profit with the same name is "Reading Is Fundamental " I'm contacting the management group to urge them to increase the services and products they provide to salespeople.

Like everyone else, I constantly get emails and outreach on social media platforms for prospecting. They may be divided into three groups:

  1. Less than 1% of them are pertinent, intriguing, and I pursue them to learn more.
  2. About 50% of them are pointless, unfocused, and plain boring. Even if the writing is typically not the best, I can still understand what they are saying.
  3. 49% of them are illegible. They could be of interest to me, but they were presumably written by folks who failed their third-grade writing lessons. Here's one I got this morning:

Hello, David. I hope the first quarter of the year and the new year are off to a terrific start for you. People with comparable backgrounds are invited to an exclusive session below.

That EXCELLENC appreciates management consulting is fantastic. I have heard in the news that the nomination period is about to close. I just glanced over it and want to share more.

David here from [Name Withheld] Digital Marketing, sales consultant. Please accept [our offer for an exclusive session (attached deck here)] as we've assisted businesses just like yours. (Link deleted) for further information.

Enjoy the remainder of your week!

I thought this email could have been written in a language that is somewhat similar to English when I first received it. I copied it as required and pasted it into Google Translate. The exact same text was returned by Google. It was thus illiterate and incoherent even though it seemed to be written in English.

Some findings

  1. EXCELLENC is not a spelling error, it’s part of our company’s email address (long story). But seeing the name of the company referred to in that manner, is always an indicator the person has no clue of who we are and what we do. Most likely they got the email from some list.
  2. We do value management consulting—less for ourselves, more for offering consulting services to clients with facing tough growth issues. So I really don’t understand what the author is trying to to communicate.
  3. Then there’s the sentence, “I was reading news that there is a deadline for nominations…….” Huh! I quickly went to Axios to see if they were announcing a deadline to nominations. Neither were deadlines announced in the WSJ or the New York Times. I realized the news might have been in my social media news feeds, I looked at my LinkedIn new feeds looking for deadlines to nominations. I have no idea what this person is trying to say. Nominations for what? Are we nominated, should we be seeking a nomination? Should we be nominating somebody for something? I did sign a petition for nominating a neighbor to our local community board–is he referring to that? What is he trying to tell me and why do I care?
  4. It’s interesting he is representing the services of a Digital Marketing Agency. I wonder why I need to go through a deck of some sort to register. But more importantly, my experience of Digital Marketing Agencies is they tend to provide digital content to attract interest. And I suspect this email is an example of the quality and clarity with which they deliver that content.
  5. This is the third email I have received from David. Each is exactly the same, each is unreadable.

Unfortunately, 49% of the prospecting emails I get cannot be read. If only I could comprehend what they are saying, these could be things in which I'd be interested.

Fundamental skills like reading and writing are essential; illiteracy will cause you to fail. Think considering enrolling in a course or one of Reading Is Fundamental's literacy initiatives (lie about your age in the sign up form).

Thanks to Dave Brock at Business 2 Community whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.

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