In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains why most people struggle with ‘selling by email’ – they don’t understand it, they don’t know when to use it (and when not to) and they don’t know how to use it for best results…….……
After reading this article you’ll be able to utilise email to add value to your sales efforts – instead of hampering them – and get your sales figures back where they belong!……..
When I working with sales teams all over the world, Sales Managers and Directors often tell me that they believe all salespeople are inherently lazy. I’m not sure I agree with that hugely sweeping statement, but I do think salespeople often look for the quickest way to do something!
I think this is partly down to the fact that a lot of salespeople only start earning real money when their commission kicks in, so any task that isn’t directly related to bringing in new customers, orders or money, they tend to try and find the quickest way to do! Hence why the managers think they’re lazy.
As salespeople though, this ‘quickest route’ habit can often cause us problems! Particularly as technology has advanced and email is a popular communication method for many. However, this often results in salespeople resorting to email communication – at the expense of their own sales figures! Have a look at the examples of common email sales mistakes below, and see if any ring true for you……
Let’s look at this from a ‘new business’ perspective. You’ve spoken with (or met with) a client previously, you’ve started to develop rapport, but they’ve probably got an existing supplier, or existing way of doing things. So you didn’t pick up their business from your initial call or appointment.
Your boss has probably been putting pressure on you about your sales figures or your sales pipeline. So you decide you need to ‘follow up’ with a few people, this particular prospect included. So what do you do next? Pick up the phone and call them, establish their current situation and needs and potentially see how you may be able to add value to what they’re trying to achieve over the next few months? Close for another appointment, attempt to dislodge the existing supplier (or existing process) and pick up their business? Or send an email?
If you’re in the ’email’ category, stop it! Right now!
Another great idea from the marketing department. Sending an email newsletter or similar to keep people ‘informed’ of your products and services. The funny thing is, how many newsletters do you get that you don’t read, or you don’t read in full? I bet it’s quite a few. If you don’t know the sender well, you probably don’t read it at all. Sometimes even when you know the sender well you still don’t read it!
Don’t sit back and think that just because someone is on your generic email list that that’s helping you ‘sell’ to that person. In most cases it isn’t. That’s more of a ‘nurture’ campaign for the Marketing department to worry about!
The responsibility to move that person through your sales pipeline is still yours!
Please tell me you’re not still doing this? Even worse if the email is titled ‘offer of the month’ or similar! If the person hasn’t used you before, you’re relying on ‘luck’ for the person to buy from you. And the more competitive your marketplace and the higher the price of what you sell, the less likely people are to buy!
Plus as mentioned in my last point above, it’s hardly ‘personal’ communication to that prospect, is it? Is this really the professional sales job you were employed to do? If this is the best you can do in terms of ‘sales persuasion’, you’re in trouble!
Let’s think about this one. You or your company has expended time, money and effort in producing the incoming sales lead. Whether it’s come from a previous phone call by you or a colleague, networking, advertising or over the internet, you’ve managed to get a precious incoming sales lead.
The next question is, what are you going to do about it? Pick up the phone and find an excuse to start a dialogue to understand their needs in more detail, positition a ‘next step’ in the sales process and look for some committment from that person. Or just send a quick email giving some information and leaving them to ‘wander’ on their own, with no idea how motivated they are to purchase, their timescales, or what other options they’re considering?
Looks like you’ve missed your chance again, doesn’t it? In most cases if they come back to you, it’s because when they enquired with your competition, they did a worse job than you did (hard to believe I know, but it could be true). Is this really the best way of dealing with that precious incoming sales lead do you think?!!
Now it’s time for my personal favourite! Sending proposals or quotes by email. This has become an interesting area over the last few years, with many prospects asking you to send your quotes/proposals etc via email.
Now, most of the ‘old school’ trainers will tell you that you HAVE to go in and present the proposal face-to-face. That that’s the ONLY thing you can do.
I don’t agree.
I agree it’s BETTER to be able to present the proposal face-to-face and talk it through. I agree that the more expensive the product (and the more value you have to build before presenting the price) the more important it is to try and get in face-to-face to present it.
But what happens if you’re not in Field Sales/Outside Sales? What if you don’t have the opportunity to visit the prospect? And how about the prospects that ask you to send through your proposals and quotes via email?
The main thing you need to be aware of is that the minute you send through your proposal or quote via email, you lose most of your control over the sales process. You allow the prospect to go into ‘hiding’ – not returning your calls or emails, and basically going quiet on you!
Therefore you need to have asked ALL your ‘sales questions’ BEFORE sending through the proposal, otherwise your chance of winning the business is dramatically reduced!
If you don’t know what sales questions you should be asking, REQUEST YOUR FREE ‘7 AREAS OF QUESTIONING’ VIDEO HERE to find out the areas you should be asking questions BEFORE sending ANY proposal!
I also have some ‘rules’ about sending proposals or quotes via email. If you want to know what they are, use the ‘7 areas’ video link above and put a note in the message box that you want to see the ‘Proposal Rules’ video as well, and I’ll also send you a link to that, free of charge, with my compliments!
If on the other hand, you are interested in me working with you or your team to overcome some of their problems with proposals, pipeline management and closing, then contact me here, or call +44 161 401 0142 to see how I can help you!
Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on…..
(This article is copyright Andy Preston 2004-2016. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines).