emailI wish I were making this up.  Got an email today.  Title: Problem with Millswyck web site (first problem — already failed in the obscure capitalization of my business name, but that’s forgiveable).

I just came across your website.  It looks pretty good, but you’re losing a lot of potential email subscribers and fans.  You can get 50% more email subscribers and fans from your daily online visitors.

This 2 minute youtube video [link extracted] tells you how to get 50% more subscribers and fans from this tool called XYZ.

I don’t know him. I haven’t put out a plea for help on Twitter.  I’m not looking for unsolicited advice, and I can’t imagine clicking on this link (although it did appear to be a valid YouTube link).

But the kicker was in the closing sentence:

I hope it helps. And, please don’t add me to your promotions or mailing list.

I realize that these are often foreign scam artists.  I get that this is most likely automated and he’s looking for a 1-in-a-thousand hit rate.  Most likely, he doesn’t even own the video he’s sending me to watch.  In short, the guy (or gal, I suppose) is a scumbag.  What can we learn from scumbags?

Rule#1 is always in play.  He tries to make it about me and my web site, but he fails to know anything about me.  He assumes he has my attention with some wild numerical claim, but has no qualification to what I want (I only do business with people who can promise me 51% more subscribers.  Dang.  So close!)  He assumes I am interested only in HIS solution (and that it is my major problem), and that the only way to get there is to watch HIS video.  He is wrong, terribly wrong, on all accounts.

Then the ending tagline, which I interpreted, “Please don’t do to me what I’m doing to you.”  It’s the pinnacle of hubris and a lack of integrity.  It made this email go from a simple DELETE to spending 15+ minutes writing about it, and making a commitment to myself, my staff, and my clients that this will not be our method of doing business.

I get the concept of a sales funnel.  I am at least familiar with online marketing techniques and the need to build a tribe.  As the head guy and founder/owner of our operation, I want to expand the reach of the skills we offer.  But if this is the level we have to stoop to in order to get it, I’ll take obscurity — and an intact and respectable reputation — with me.  If you subscribe with us (do you get our newsletter?), you can be assured we will use it to communicate with you only about matters of communication, never offer your information to others, and keep service offerings to a mere mention.  Any result we promise is something we are confident we can produce (I’ve never offered to make anyone 50% more confident, mainly because I can’t be sure I can — or even what that means!).  I may miss out on email subscribes and fans (although I’d rather have clients than either, a point noticeably missing in the email), but I’ll do it in accordance with the values that are more important than any result we obtain.

But hey, at least my web site is pretty good (kudos to the Marketing department!)

Use common courtesy and customer focus when you offer services or make contact with a prospect.