Reading Is Fundamental has been the mantra of a children’s literacy not for profit by the same name. I’m writing the management team to suggest they expand their services and offerings to sales people.

Like everyone, I get inundated with emails and social platform prospecting outreaches. They fall into three categories:

  1. Less than 1% are relevant, interesting and I follow up to learn more.
  2. About 50% are irrelevant, unfocused, and just uninteresting. They are usually not the greatest prose, but at least I get their point, regardless of how bad they are.
  3. About 49% are unreadable. They may be something I might be interested in, but they have been written by people who probably failed third grade writing classes. Below is one I received this morning:

“Hi David — I hope you’re doing well, and having a great start to the new year and the Q1 quarter. We’re inviting people who share similar backgrounds to an exclusive session below.

It’s great that EXCELLENC values management consulting. I was reading news that there is a deadline for nominations and that it’s closing soon. I was skimming through it, and hope to share more.

I’m David, Sales Consultant, at [Name Withheld] Digital Marketing. We’ve helped companies similar to yours, and please accept [our invitation for an exclusive session (attached deck here) ] (link removed) to learn more.

Have a wonderful rest of your week!”

Upon receiving this email, I suspected it might have been written in a language that is close to English, but not quite. Dutifully, I copied it, pasting it into Google Translate. Google came back with the same text. So it, apparently was written in English–it was simply illiterate and unintelligible.

Some observations:

  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.

Sadly, 49% of the prospecting emails I receive are unreadable. They may be things I might be interested in, if only I could understand what they are saying.

Reading and writing are fundamental, if you are unintelligible, you will fail. Consider taking a course or maybe enrolling in Reading Is Fundamental’s literacy programs (lie about your age in the sign up form).