6 Things To Strictly Avoid During a Sales Process Over Emails

I wrote an article earlier where I mentioned about “How to close $$$$ Deals over emails and make it a process?” and while the hacks shared are still working great, I am now sharing my experience on what should not be done over emails during a Sales process.

In Inside Sales, emails are salespeople’s biggest strengths, much more than calls. As a Sales rep, you don’t want to call the prospect 5 times a day trying your luck at the end of every hour, hit voicemails and then come across as unprofessional and desperate, so, you take the safer route, which is emails… and why not! After all, it gives your prospects the breathing time to think over and respond at their convenience.

We all are so tuned to emails day and night and while it is our biggest strength, its usage should only be limited for confirming next steps, getting approvals, etc. and can mostly be avoided for any big steps in a sale. Here are a few things to be avoided over emails -

1. Rapport Building

Imagine your competitor’s reps visiting your prospect’s office, making them laugh hard, building a personable relation while you try and crack a lame joke over email, which only ends up offending your prospect. What could be worse?

Can you know the tone, pitch, sense OR the context of the joke in a single line over email text? Yes, we are all great listeners and speakers, but emails are not utilizing those skills to the optimum, so let’s stick to calls.

If you want your emails to be changing from -

Hi Joe, Hope you have been well.

to

Hey Joe, I’m still hungover from the weekend. I’m sure you had a blast too.

Pick up the phone (1).

2. Discussing the Proposal/Quote

It may sound convenient and easy over emails but there is nothing better than to get on a call to discuss this. Remember, your prospect did take a demo with 3 competitive vendors and all of them would have furnished a quote. Not that you doubt your prospect’s ability to comprehend things themselves over email, it is just safer and better to ensure that your terms, conditions and the differentiation points stand out.

How long can an email you write and do this?

Pick up the phone (2) and provide clarity. All the back and forth can be avoided and all queries can be answered at once.

In the same email with the proposal attachment, always write a one-liner — Hi, I’d be glad to walk you through the proposal and answer any specific queries around the same. Would 9 AM EST tomorrow work for you?

3. Handling Pricing/Other Objections

Prospect says your competitor product is better priced and you start hunting for discounts and offering them. Is that always ideal? Get on a call and understand more about what “better-priced means?” Is that the overall “Licensing cost” OR the “Payment terms” that is being referred to? Handle objections by better understanding them.

You’d hear from your prospects, I don’t think technically we may have a fit. Now, you make 100s of assumptions and keep shooting in the dark over email OR schedule a 15 minutes call, get your technical resource, and end the call smiling with a win :)

Pick up the phone (3) and let the objections coming.

4. Negotiation

Conversation Over Email:

Prospect: — Your pricing is too high for us. Can you do something?

Sales Rep: You respond with a 10% discount.

Prospect: Sorry, but it’s still over our budget and we’d have to put this on hold. We really like your product and we can allocate budgets for it for Q1 2018 sometime.

Sales Rep: I understand and at max, can sneak a 15% for you. Would that help?

Prospect: Thanks a ton, but we look forward to reconnecting.

Same Conversation Over Call:

Prospect: — Your pricing is too high for us. Can you do something?

Sales Rep: You respond with a 10% discount.

Prospect: Sorry, but it’s still over our budget and we’d have to put this on hold. We really like your product and we can allocate budgets for it for Q2 2018 sometime.

Sales Rep: Hmmm…I understand and would love to work things in your favor. The fact that we have both spent considerable time into this, I’d be glad to have you onboard sooner rather than later. Do you have a number in mind that works for you so then I can take it back to the management and see if we can work with that?

Prospect: If you offer anything close to 20%, we can start next week.

(Now, you see the ball is in your court and now you decide whether you want to offer the same, play around with payment terms OR still let the project go on hold, but it still leaves you with three options rather than one).

Pick up the phone (4).

5. Qualification

A prospect can never provide the same information over email which could be on the call. A 5-minute qualification call does wonders before a product demonstration, with very custom tailored information going to a prospect as per their needs. Over emails, the information is limited, there is more back and forth and sometimes it also becomes annoying for a prospect.

What is the probability of getting this question answered over email than on calls — Are there any other similar solutions that you have already had a look at?

This may not make them comfortable, but on calls, it is easier to break barriers and share.

Pick up the phone (5).

6. Trying for a response

The demo was great and prospect seemed interested. The budget was allocated and timelines were perfect, and you thought you had this closed… and then there was silence. You reach out and there is no response on 1,2,3 OR 10 emails.

What happened?

I learned the hard way that it is better to pick up the phone and get a NO sooner (saves a lot of time and keeps your pipeline healthy) rather than consistently following up only adding noise to a prospect’s inbox (and keeping your false hopes alive).

There could be more such scenarios but as a gist, though emails could be an effective way of communicating and driving things forward, to accelerate and provide momentum to your buying cycle, to keep your pipeline fresh and healthy calls are the best resort.

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If you have a hack OR two OR have something else that could be avoided as well over emails, I’d be glad to hear your thoughts below OR on prakharjain.sbmjc@gmail.com.