You Want a Conversation

In order of preference and effectiveness, face-to-face is the very best way to sell, followed by video face to video face, followed by the telephone. Email doesn’t appear on this list because it isn’t a method you should use to do any actual selling.

Yet, some people write massive missives in hopes of convincing their prospective to buy, or at least to take the next step. They send proof providers to show their dream clients that they are a good company, full of good people, with a really good product. Those emails don’t get read, nor do they evoke a response. They also send proposals with pricing, anticipating the return email with a signed contract and an order. Instead, they get a prospective client who avoids their calls and their email.

Selling is not about the exchange of information, even though information is surely exchanged. Selling is about conversations. Face-to-face meetings are always conversations. This is also true of face to face video meetings over Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts. The telephone is still an excellent tool for conversing with a prospective client about change, even if inferior to the prior two choices.

Poor, small email is no match for other more powerful mediums when it comes to sales. Email doesn’t allow for a conversation. The communication medium is asynchronous, meaning one person can speak, and they have to wait for a period of time to receive a reply. Letters were a wonderful form of communication when there were not better methods available, but no one needs a digital pen pal.

What you want most of all in sales is a conversation. You want to listen to and speak with your prospective client and the people on their teams. You want to be able to riff on ideas, get to know each other, and work on problems together. In all cases, you want the best medium for the outcome you are trying to achieve.

If you want a real sales conversation, you aren’t going to do much worse than email. Move yourself up to a medium that better serves your outcomes. That medium is, in all likelihood, the phone.

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