Avoid The Five Biggest Sales Email Blunders

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Laptop emailWe see so many emails come through our office that, in all honesty, are an embarrassment to our profession. They are poorly laid out or lack impact or are lame in the extreme, too patronising, or something similar.

Being one of the main avenues for most salespeople to connect with prospects, it’s imperative we utilise this communication medium in the best way possible. Therefore, here are five of what I would consider the biggest errors or mistakes in sales emails:

1) Mismatching the tone from the prospect. Imagine you have received a message from a prospect that gets right to the point, is fairly dogmatic and demands (rather than requests) information. Many salespeople would miss the very important conversational cues laid down by the prospect, and would reply with a long-winded and detailed monologue.

No, you need to be aware of the thought processes the prospect was going through when they wrote their original missive. Highlight their main points and answer them in the same way. Match their tone…not their abruptness. Match their tempo…not their dogmatism.

2) Sending one-word answers. Yes, I’ve received many replies with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ before. It may be the other person was in a rush or had nothing more to say. But it can come across as arrogant to certain people. Even worse is the simple smiley or miserable face!

Take the time to address the issues and at least be courteous and civil.

3) Not re-reading it before pressing ‘send’. How many times have you uttered the immortal word ‘Noooooooooooooo !!!!’ as you pressed the send button and noticed that spelling mistake or grammatical error wing off into the ether without the chance to correct it? Of course, the client might not spot it. But why give yourself the worry that they might? Simply stop, check the wording and be happy that the other person will understand the meaning before you send it.

Remember, the absence of the tell-tale red line under the word doesn’t always mean that it’s grammatically right…you may have spelt the word right, but it’s not in the right context!

4) Being condescending. Too many times we see salespeople mistake humility for being servile. They say things like ‘I hope you don’t mind’, ‘at your convenience’ and ‘ if it suits you’.

These out-of-date terms shouldn’t be used as the client may think you’re being subservient. You need to portray yourself at the same level as the client. You may be serving their needs in the long run, but the impression you have to give has to be one of equality and congruence with their business.

5) Not confirming or setting the next step. Surprisingly, many emails don’t give an idea of what is expected or what will happen next in the relationship. Here are some examples of what you can place in emails to determine the next steps to take place:

  • A request for a face-to-face meeting
  • A link to a specific article or video that would be of real interest to the recipient
  • A specific time and date to discuss a new idea
  • Set an agenda for an upcoming meeting
  • Create a proposal for consideration
  • Agree a time for a phone call to discuss options listed in your email
  • Determine when a debrief meeting can be arranged to action a specific point

These five are among the biggest mistakes you can make when communicating with email within a sales environment. Naturally, there are many more, but if you can avoid these five, you give yourself a chance to at least look and sound professional with the prospect, who may well turn into your next client.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Kookkai_nak at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 15 May, 2013

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