Fumbling on the Two-Yard Line

My friend David received the following e-mail from a company looking to sell him something. I can’t name the company, but it sure wasn’t Salesforce.com.

OK, it was Salesforce.com:


Hi David,

I just tried calling you and spoke to the receptionist. I left a message and I thought I’d shoot an email your way as well.

There are two reasons why we should have a conversation:

1) Save you a lot of time—I’m really honest in regards to whether any of our solutions will work for your type of business.

2) You don’t know what you don’t know. Perhaps, the demo or webpage you viewed only covers one aspect of Salesforce or gives the idea that we work only for a specific type of business (be it size, industry, sales process etc).

In the end, whether we part ways or not, you will come out with value-added information about Salesforce.com

Looking forward to hearing from you in the future.


<<< So if I were an announcer and the Salesforce.com’s e-mail to David was a football game, this is how my play calling would sound: Salesforce has been really driving the field. He has affectively moved the ball through the defense and now stands over center. The ball sits on his own 20-yard line. Here’s the snap…

Oh, what a great play! Salesforce brings up “time” right away. Time is a wonderful selling point and a precious commodity. The defense has backed up, and the play goes for 20 yards. Nicely done! That’s a solid gain!

Salesforce is now in the shotgun. The ball is snapped…

It’s an audible: “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Brilliant! The defense ponders that point and considers the fact that perhaps Salesforce could indeed add some value to his company. It’s a 48-yard gain! The ball is on the two-yard line and the crowd is going wild in anticipation. All that is left is for Salesforce to follow up and an appointment is eminent.

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."
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  • Mary

    Now that you bring this to my attention it sure is a fumble. I assume a better ending is "I’ll call you next week to set up an appointment" ?

  • RetSales

    …And that’s what sales has become. Faceless, sometimes nameless emails and other communications without ever engaging one-on-one. I know young salespeople who have never been in the same room as their customer and we wonder why these people cannot communicate let alone look you straight in the eye. Oh, they are experts on email and can send a blast out to countless prospects but could not carry on a face to face conversation if their commission depended on it because it would require an attention span.

  • H Cossell

    Don’t mean to quibble, but you’re actually on the 12 yard line, not the 2 yard line.

  • Rusty

    This is why I can’t stand salespeople – they can’t seem to get the details right. The ball would be on the 12 yard line, not the 2. Good article but you might want to follow it with one about getting the details right. (Recently we had a product where the size was in centimeters not inches and no one told production.)

  • Dave

    Bill – great post, but you left us hanging a bit. How would you have wrapped this up?

  • kelly

    Great post – there are also some grammatical problems in his email that are like nails on a chalkboard to me…. but the beginning was great! Thanks for sharing!

  • Marc Zazeela

    Great article Bill. I sell for a living and examples like this, make me cringe. I fear, as Rusty indicated, that we are all indicted for the horrible behavior of bad sales people. I can assure you, we are not all like that. Some of us actually take time to understand our customers’ businesses.

    I have never engaged in such SPAMMY activity as it is very amateurish.

    To the world, please don’t judge all of us by the behavior of a few. It would be very unfair and you just might miss out on a real and valuable opportunity. If I were that guys manager, he would be fired on the spot.