Using email to sell to prospects and clients without any conversation is like working on a jigsaw puzzle with pieces missing. The end result won’t be what you wanted and … it won’t be as much fun!
It isn’t that I don’t appreciate email. Know that my background includes years of direct mail campaigns to hundreds and hundreds of prospects. This involved creating a new brochure, verifying addresses, addressing and stamping the envelopes, getting everything in the mail and then waiting a week to begin follow up. Very time consuming!
Email is a big contributor to The Phone Lady’s success but … it’s imperfections can – and do – negatively impact revenue.
First, the ease of email is seductive. For most of us, sitting at our desks and writing a note to a prospect or customer is much less demanding than picking up the phone. We don’t have to be prepared to discuss or listen. We can hit send, wait for a reply, and then create a thoughtful response. Email eliminates the need to think fast, react, perform.
Second, email is a black and white medium that communicates through the logic of technology. Yet when we read email, most of us “hear” a tone, an intent, an emotion. And, as most of us have experienced at least once, our hearing is often wrong. Check out this past post where I share a story about the word “maybe”: http://www.thephonelady.ca/how-do-you-say-maybe/
Third, and most importantly, email doesn’t include the back story. And in many cases the sale is in the back story.
For example, you receive an email from a prospect or existing customer that simply says, “Thanks for your information but we’re not interested at this time.”
In order to truly serve this contact (and that’s what sales is all about for me – service) you need to understand the “why” of this statement. Does it mean they are not interested now, but will be next month? Or next year? And why aren’t they interested? Are they working with another supplier? Are they experiencing a slow growth period? Or are there staff changes taking place and no decision will be made until everyone’s in their new role?
I could keep going with all the possibilities but I think you get my point. Email is insufficient if you want to “communicate” and “serve” your prospects and clients.
As we move into 2014, it is vital for you to honestly assess if you and your team are hiding behind email. If you are, you’re missing opportunities. So take a close look at your customer and prospect files and answer these questions:
- When was the last time we had a real-time conversation?
- Have we learned something new about them in the past six months or year?
- What do we really know about their current challenges and needs?
Then … pick up the phone and make that conversation happen!
And don’t miss next week’s post on the third trend impacting B2B sales in 2014. Enjoy your phonework!