Email is a viable communication tool for sales people.
I have noted that many trainers have looked on emailing as a poor relation to making sales calls and meetings but used effectively it can help you get to a decision maker when other attempts have failed.
First off, one must realise that almost every decision maker nowadays carries a smart phone with them to enable them to read their emails on the move. As a sales person you can take advantage of this addiction to their ‘crackberry’. So after every call it makes sense to send an email. One can always find a reason to send an email:
- Congratulate a person on a career move
- Confirm a meeting
- Follow up on key points discussed at previous meeting
- Forward on product information
- Pass on relevant competitor information / lead etc.
- Case Studies / Reference Listings / Product Recommendations
- Company Newsletter / Recent Announcements
- New contact details
- Surveys / Questionnaires / News article / PR News
- Request for a meeting
- Web Links to company website
- LinkedIn URLs
- Ask for the next step in the sales process.
The great thing about email is you can note the signature of the respondent: Does it contain a direct dial number or a mobile phone which will facilitate future Tele-Canvass campaigns and therefore bypass gatekeepers? If an email bounces on you, then you know that person has moved on and you need to follow up on this and meet the new person in charge. A direct email is likely to get read and may get filed for a later date. In terms of productivity, a sales person can write up emails after hours, to be sent the following morning.
Regarding the proper use of emails, one should follow a few rules:
- Make the headline descriptive and eye catching and personalise where possible.
- Personalise the message so it won’t get associated as SPAM.
- Send your emails during business hours not after hours for same reason.
- Include a signature which includes your LI profile personalised URL.
- Carefully review what you are sending; bad grammar, misspellings and misinterpretations will reflect badly on your professionalism.
- Make emails short, concise and to the point.
- One message per email. If you have several issues to address eg a customer service issue and a sales issue; send two emails so they can be addressed separately.
- Never use block capitals as it represents shouting and refrain from clever symbols eg LOL (Laugh out Loud). Remember this is a business communication tool only.
- Last but not least – don’t use it as a substitute to making sales calls.
The big advantage of emails is it is fast, cost effective and a great tool for keeping in contact with customers. When you add a tracker to your emails, you will know whether an email was read and therefore assists you with planning your sales call. If it gets deleted, then you need to employ an alternate strategy / contact in an organisation. Email, if used correctly is another way of getting your message to the decision maker.