I found out recently that there are certain animals that can develop parasites in their brains, sometimes referred to as brain worms. Some mice have been found to develop one that makes them attracted to the scent of cats. Deer and Elk can get a variety of brain worms that cause them to run in circular patterns, even when predators are chasing them. Neither of those seem like they provide a good survival advantage. Parasites are bad.

In his recent book “The Parasitic Mind”, Canadian Professor Gad Saad theorizes that humans can suffer from the same ailment, though not through a physical parasite, but through a mental or thought one. One, or a series of ideas gets stuck in your brain and forms some habits, to the point that no matter how feckless the results or negative the consequences, you keep doing it. That also sounds bad to me, especially in sales.

One such “parasite idea” I see in sales way too much, is the curse of the lazy prospecting email or message. I get a number of these each week, many of them on Linkedin as well, and they all have a few common elements.

  • They start with some sort of fake friendly outreach
  • They assume you have the issue their product solves
  • They are missing any valid reason for contacting you (trying to sell isn’t a valid reason)
  • They over explain how their solution works
  • They assume you need to speak with them and ask for a meeting

Please, if you are sending out these kinds of messages, just stop. You’ve got an idea parasite that is corrupting your judgement and actions, and you’re giving the rest of us sales people a bad name.

Prospecting is NOT about your agenda, and it is not about making a sale. First and foremost, there are a couple fundamental beliefs that you need to parasite proof in order to not fall into this behavior.

  1. No one, NO ONE, cares about how your product or service works. They care about their needs and maybe about what you can do for them.
  2. No one out there is looking to make friends from cold calls. They are fine with someone being polite and friendly, but usually not responsive to someone they don’t know faking friendship.

Once you lock down on those two beliefs, the mental parasites can’t get you. That means that you are free to start using prospecting messaging with the right elements. Namely:

  • Showing them the time risk in talking to you (hint, make it small)
  • Quickly explaining WHAT you do for clients (not HOW you do it)
  • Confirming the existence of pain or a problem you can solve or assuage
  • Suggesting a meeting or an end to the call based on the existence or lack of existence of pain

Now, go review your messaging. Are you close to the first list or the second list? If it’s the first list, then you likely have a sales parasite. Time to get that removed.