Today more and more prospects are shying away from the phone (does anybody pick up anymore?) and using e-mail (texting) to communicate. E-mail is a strange bird. It is neither “see no evil” (face-to-face sales), nor “speak no evil” (phone). Its communication is already twice removed and often confusing because many people have difficulty expressing their thoughts while the reader tries to read between the lines.
When a prospect tells you, “Just send me an e-mail,” is he truly interested in buying your product or is he just blowing you off?
I’m not against sending out e-mails or faxes. Always use what you can to close the deal. Be flexible. A former employer of mine is against using e-mail (and faxes) as a way to make the sale. “An e-mail or fax is not going to sell this product,” he used to say to us. Although I clearly remember there was one time, when he was out of the office, when we sent a fax to a secretary (a non-decision maker!) and ended up getting the sale. But he has a point in the sense that a stand-alone e-mail or fax rarely closes the deal. However, they can certainly help the process.
I recommend that you keep your e-mails as short as possible. For example:
It was a pleasure speaking with you this morning regarding XYZ. Attached is our proposal. I will follow up with you shortly. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out.
This is a proactive, bare bones e-mail. Bill knows that I’ll be following up with him “shortly.” That could be today or by week’s end—it all depends on the sales process—but he knows I’ll be reaching out. Notice there is no “thank you” or “thank you for your time.” I don’t believe in being subservient to the prospect. My time is as valuable as Bill’s time, and as I’ve said before, in the big picture, our time is no different than the hours of a poor homeless person. All are equal in war, sales, and riding the train.
The e-mail to Bill might also include, “please let me know if you were able to view the attachment.” Many people have problems opening up attachments. Happens every day. This also puts added pressure on Bill to make contact with you and gives you a reason to follow-up with him sooner.
“Bill, it’s John. I’m calling in reference to our conversation yesterday … “
“Well, John, I haven’t had a chance to look at the material.”
“Were you able to open up the file?”
“Do you have moment now? I want to know if I need to resend it.”
If Bill doesn’t have a moment I’ll ask him to tap me an email later today telling me if he was or wasn’t able to open the file. If instead he has a moment, wonderful, I’ll walk him through the proposal and then ask him for the sale. Why waste a great closing opportunity, right?
The point to all this is to conduct business as quickly and effectively as possible. You don’t want to waste your time or the prospect’s time.
In short, when the prospect says “Just send me an email,” you might come right out and say, “I don’t want to waste our time, Bill. Are you interested in buying or just blowing me off?” That may sound like tough talk to some but I find that “tough” talk separates the buyers from the pretenders.