Maintaining your resting pitch face is a skill that you will never want to retire, but there are times when you’ll need to display that sense of confidence, coolness and control via the written word (text or email). When do you want to head to email to move your sale along?
Remember that you of course are here to sell, but you ultimately want to help them. You are not trying to be a burden.
- When you are plagued with scheduling woes: Some clients may be hard to pin down because of time zone barriers or packed schedules. Not every interaction can or should happen on a call or video chat. Emails can be far more efficient depending on what stage of the sales cycle you are at. We’ve all been in that spot where we fall into an email thread with the aim of scheduling a meeting when you may have been able to handle this phase over email.
- You need to formalize your spoken agreement in writing: There is something to be said about the “get it in writing” rule of thumb. Everyone has busy schedules and full plates. Once it is written, it is permanent. When you have been debating and negotiating terms, getting it down on paper, okay digital paper, can be helpful in terms of clarification and making sure that everyone is on the same page.
- You want to pull in executives: You might need their support or weight to move sales down the funnel. You may be saying the exact same thing or writing the same thing that you would have, but it may be received differently with an exec in the virtual room. You can leverage that. Another reason you might want to cc execs is for visibility. Keeping them copied in emails is one way to demonstrate your hustle, skill and knowhow.
- You want to be fully transparent: It is rare for all stakeholders to be present at a meeting. Everyone can equally be a part of an email conversation. No matter your geographic location or other limitations, everyone has access to email. Additionally, there are times when the only way to get the decision maker or decision makers in the room is through an email.
- You don’t want to catch your customer off guard or make them feel uncomfortable: Perhaps you made your initial offer, they were on board, but their decision maker put the kibosh on the deal. (Who hasn’t been there?!?) Your contact may be frustrated or embarrassed that what seemed to be a closed deal is now cold or nonexistent. An email might be a way to demonstrate that you get it, you’ve been there, and you want to help them. You can find out what elements were not appealing to their manager and make it clear that you might have flexibility on your end depending on their answers.
While there are several reasons why you might opt to negotiate via email, remember that you can’t rephrase as easily after the fact. Be conscious of your wording and language. Present yourself in a personable way.
- Speak in first person as a friendly partner and not as a corporate entity. For example, use “I” instead of “We.”
- Be aware of any cultural sensitivities or etiquette when interacting with international clients. That may relate to your spelling of words, phrases, sayings, etc. Someone from the UK will have no idea what you are talking about if you ask how their vacation is. However, I’ll bet they have what to share about their holiday.
- Read your email out loud to make sure that it sounds right. You want to make sure that it flows and has the right tone. This is a simple trick that will help you catch awkward language, grammatical errors, and tone.
- If the email is meant to serve as a critical tool in your negotiations to close a deal, loop in your team. You may want to consult with another individual or department to make sure that what your promise is doable and in line with company protocol, etc. This might include:
- A team member
- Your manager
- While email is often a primary mode of communication with clients, remember to go with your gut. You should never limit yourself to email or text alone. When you do use email, be smart about it!
- Notice that your email seems to be falling in the depths of your customer’s inbox? If it has been a day, or two, go with your gut on this, go ahead and bump that email. Always come from a place of understanding, particularly when you are typing in black and white.
- Make sure not to come off as pushy or as aggressive. They may be waiting on their colleagues and decision makers and your polite nudge can be useful to them.
While we may connect with our colleagues and customers in a variety of ways, always keep in mind that we are all human. Ultimately, human connection and developing relationships, no matter the medium, is critical to your success in and out of the office.
Speaking of the element of humanity, want to make sure that you and your colleagues are on the same page? Collabria recently designed our design partner program. It makes it possible for you to close deals, with collaboration as needed, quickly and efficiently, so that you close long lasting deals.
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