The email has been a fantastic tool for sales professionals but also a terrible curse. How many times have we heard stories of sales people being told by those in charge; Don’t hide behind email!
And yet many continue in the practice of writing long emails which if the recipient ever attempts to print them out will cost the world a few trees! Whilst the email is a great tool for sales teams around the world for providing ’hard’ copies of agreements and quotes it is absolutely the wrong tool to negotiate prices and agreements. This is where the phone – or better still the face-to-face meeting – is king.
As anyone who has written more than two sentences can attest to it is incredibly difficult to convey tone in a written document. Jokes or humour that works when spoken can fall flat on their face when written down – or even worst just end up coming across as downright rude! If you are considering or have just reached for the keyboard to write an email to an existing or potential client then STOP right now. Don’t just bang out a quick few lines and ping them off – pick up the phone!
We always remember those we have spoken to better than those who have emailed us. So why do you want your customer to forget about you? If you maintain regular verbal communication you can react fast then email ever could to potential issues or problems you customer might have. If it’s a potential customer you are communicating with especially when it comes to something as serious and important as agreeing terms you could spend two days doing back and forth emails as you both try to get the best deal for your party. Think of the hours you have wasted try to conduct this negotiation when you could have solved this issue with a five minute phone call and spent that time saved keeping other customers happy.
It’s not just when negotiating that you should reach for the phone – or better yet the car keys so see the other party face-to-face – bad news delivered in an email is much more likely to simmer and come back to bite you on the backside in the future. But deliver this bad news personal and actually speak to the individual you are delivering it to will give them to vent if need be and ask any follow up questions. This might only take five minutes but the other party will respect, and appreciate, your actions and it can only improve the relationship you have with them.
This is not to say you should never email your customers or prospects – any form of communication is better than none at all, email, letter, postcard or even carrier pigeon – but when it comes to getting the best deal for you and your customer or giving that bit of bad news the spoken word is king! So come on why not set yourself the goal of putting down the keyboard and only picking up the phone for the day and see how much more success and happy clients you can achieve!?