Since I began leading my own sales team, trends have become more obvious on what works, what doesn’t work, and what might be more effective. I’m one of those people that can’t leave work at work. I’m always spending free moments reflecting on certain situations or decisions I made, or playing Monday morning quarterback. Recently, during one of these “reflection sessions,” I had a moment of clarity while driving and said to myself: “Pick up the $%#^@&* phone!!”
From a standpoint of effectiveness, e-mail has been a great way to engage a prospect. It’s quick, easy and, for the most part, not in your face. But don’t rely on it. The person on the other end has no idea who you are. You need e-mail to engage people as it’s a softer intro but it’s not a way to build a relationship. Even if the prospect e-mails you back, it’s probably time to pick up the phone.
E-mails are terrible for conveying tone and there’s obviously no body language. Prospects will ask for price quotes or want to know more about something specific but if you are just answering e-mails, then you are a glorified automated attendant.
Only picking up the phone, asking smart, pointed questions and LISTENING will allow you to uncover problems. Without a problem there can be no solution. Setting up an appointment is best as you’ll be able to communicate even more effectively and you’ll leave knowing that you’re both on the same page.
E-mails have become so common place they are a form of white noise. People don’t react right away and it’s easy to just click delete. There is no person attached to that e-mail. It’s just an e-mail address, most of the time without even a full name and an absolute lack of a personal connection.
So pick up the freaking phone and start truly building relationships because you not only need to win the business, you need to close the door behind you. People want to know you are taking care of them and you can’t provide that assurance through an e-mail. Next time someone responds with an e-mail, pick up the phone. The conversation might lead to a place you never expected…