If I was going to ask you to spend a good deal of money with me, I’d be smart to make sure you felt I was trustworthy and reasonably intelligent. Let’s say I’m trying to sell you a car, which is a pretty big expenditure. If I was to reach out to you, I might do what I could to give off an image of reliability and stability – two things I’d like in a car as well as in the salesperson selling the vehicle. Which is why something I received in the mail yesterday is so baffling and yet so instructive and so I’m sharing it today.
That big yellow blob over there is a letter I received from a local auto dealer. While it might be hard to tell from the photo, this is a printed document made to appear as if it was hand-written on a sheet of lined yellow paper. A few things of note:
- If you’re going to the trouble to use paper with lines, why not print on them? I’m not sure what psychologists tell us about people who can’t be bothered to write on the lines but to me this appears as if you’re in a rush and kind of scatter-brained.
- Why is the punctuation so absurdly bad? Comma faults everywhere, some grammatical issues – where’s the proofreader?
- The thing starts out with a “From the Desk of..” in the same “handwritten” font as the rest of the document. I don’t know about you, but whenever I’ve had stationary printed, I want it to look printed and different from what I write on it, and I don’t write “From the Desk of” on my own notes.
The above are the “mechanical” things that call into question the merits of doing business with this person. The letter contains a number of substantive things too: a claim he can get me in a car that gets better mileage (doubtful given that the current car is one of the top MPG cars); the fact that I’m eligible to terminate my lease or financing earlier than I realize (well, since the thing is neither leased nor financed, I guess so – but shouldn’t you have known that since you’ve done more than just buy a list?), and the fact that he wants to get me in the Special Payment Reduction Program (gee, I’m not making payments so unless you’re going to pay me…).
Trying to make a mass-produced document appear personalized isn’t a bad idea but this is a horrible effort. Sending me what might be mistaken for a hostage note or a thank you note from my daughter’s third grade class isn’t going to make me want to do business with you. Being a smart professional, doing your research, and speaking to me in a way that shows me you’re someone worthy of my time and maybe my money (both in short supply for most folks) is a better start.
Am I being too harsh here?