Written by Sean McPheat |
Let’s face it: Today nearly every successful sales process has to include some kind of email correspondence between buyer and seller. Somewhere along the line, the sales person will have to contact the prospect via electronic or other virtual means and most often, it will be in the form of email, even if it’s to thank the prospect for meeting them.
However, sending email presents some serious challenges and opens the doors for major potential problems. Below are three critical issues you need to keep in mind when sending email.
#1: The Image
All sales professionals know and understand the importance of communicating a trustworthy and professional image to the prospect throughout the sales process, especially in the beginning stages. In a face-to-face meeting, sales people focus on presenting the right image. Even on the telephone, most understand the importance of using the voice to send the correct image. In email however, too many sales people seem to forget this important fact. Sending a professional email is not the same as sending a text to your friend. Image really is everything. Keep that in mind.
#2: No Emotion
Remember that an email lacks emotion. When communicating with voice and visual, your tone, pace, facial expression and other factors become part of the message. In an email, the receiver has no sense of HOW you are saying WHAT you are saying. This makes it far too easy for the prospect to misinterpret your meaning.
#3: Long Response Time
During a telephone or in person meeting, responses from the prospect come instantly. Through email, responses can come after several minutes, days or even longer. This often causes the sales person’s imagination to create all sorts of nonexistent problems and can alter the nature of future responses. Here’s an example:
Face to Face Interaction…
Sales Person: “So Steve, is this the exact model you had in mind for the plant?”
Prospect: “Yes. That’s exactly the one.”
Sales Person: “Great. And do the voltage and exchange rates match your needs?”
Prospect: “Oh, yeah. This could work out just fine.”
Sales Person: “Now Steve, this is our rate for this model including the one year service agreement. Is that what you had in mind?”
Prospect: “Yeah. That’s about what I figured…”
Sales Person Sends: “Steve, I sent you the information on my suggested model for the plant. Is that the one you had in mind?”
Prospect Responds within minutes: “Yes. That’s exactly the one I was thinking about.”
Sales Person sends right back: “Great. And do the voltage and exchange rates match your needs?”
Prospect Responds within minutes: “Yes. The parameters all fit our specs.”
Sales Person sends right back: “Below are our rates for the model, including the service agreement. Is that what you had in mind as well?”
No response. Twenty minutes later, still no response. An Hour goes by, nothing. Fear sets in and the sales person begins to panic. What happened? Is the price too high?
Sales Person sends: “As I mentioned before Steve, we have other options if that pricing doesn’t work for you…”
The prospect simply stepped out of the office!
Understand that delayed responses are a part of email communication.
Projecting the right image in an email is critical. Place a comma in the wrong place and your whole message can be taken out of context!
Remember. there is no emotional context or voice inflection and long responses are normal so if you’re playing “email tennis” it might be best just to pick up the telephone (remember them?!)
How to avoid email blunders.
Originally published: 28 November, 2011