How NOT to respond to a sales inquiry

Bad example for sales response

A few weeks ago I was on the look out for a new serviced residence. In Singapore certain hotels allow attractive long-term (2-3 months) stay packages and I came across this website which indicated they have “negotiated rates” with hotels. However no specifics were given except an email address to contact them, so I wrote in and asked for details indicating my budget and stay commencement date. What I got in reply was appalling (posted above).

Needless to say it was such a useless reply I didn’t bother to contact them further. The reservation agent who replied me clearly didn’t snatch the opportunity to lock me in as their customer. Instead she gave me a stock response, stating in bold letters that she cannot help me further. I took some important lessons out of this and wish to share with all of you.

1: Always remember this about a potential customer – If (s)he wrote to you in the first place that’s because (s)he had considered you as a potential client to do business with. So now your only job is to not scr*w up the opportunity. Does that remind any of you of a scene from the movie Hitch where the namesake character says “remember, she’s already out with you. That means she said yes when she could have said no. That means she made a plan when she could have just blown you off. So that means it’s no longer your job to make her like you. It’s your job not to mess it up.”?

2: Read your customer’s message properly. If (s)he has clearly asked for something, give that…and more. Not less.

3: Never say “I cannot help you”. And for heaven’s sake, do not put that in bold black letters. If you really cannot help, state so politely and advise a possible alternate solution.

4: If you have a company website go check it and see what’s on it. A customer might reach out to you when there is lack of information on your website. If you point the person back to the website, (s)he is going to walk away…for good.

4.5: And for the love of business don’t send back stock messages starting with “Dear Sir/Madam”. If your customer has written an email and signed a name on it, just copy it. A personal message shows you care.


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