Denny’s Zinger: Don’t Start Your Sales Pitch With an Insult

I always look at my Yahoo incoming spam mailbox.

I want to be sure the Yahoo bluenose bots didn’t assign spam status to something important.

Insult LedeSaw the following message:

Calvin Mcdaniel    Openings? Hello there. I saw your website and I’m very intere . . .

I just redesigned and can always use feedback from a professional.

What might be done to improve it?

I clicked on Mcdaniel’s email and up came the following message:

Hello there. I saw your website and I’m very interested in working for your company.
Please see my resume.
With deepest sympathy,
Calvin Mcdaniel

“With deepest sympathy?”

Takeaways to Consider

  • Advice from a geezer No. 1: Don’t start a sales pitch with a smartypants insult. It’s a losing attention-getter.
  • The seven key copy drivers: fear – greed – guilt – anger – exclusivity – salvation – flattery.
  • Advice from a geezer No. 2: The late guru Axel Andersson once analyzed 1000 direct mail letters in myriad fields. The largest percentage — 42 percent — used flattery in the lede.
  • When I clicked on “View Attachment” a “Sorry, no dice” message appeared.
  • Advice from a geezer No. 3: If your attachment doesn’t work, neither will you.
  • Advice from a geezer No. 4: Use a believable alias.
  • is the Beresford, SD. Municipal Telephone Company.
  • White Pages shows no record of a Calvin Mcdaniel in South Dakota.
  • God grant me a service where people must pay a penny to email me and I pay a penny each to email them.
  • Hey USPS! Are you listening?


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Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

Publish date: June 10, 2015 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT