7 Conversations You Should Never Have With a Prospect via Email

Email is easy. But easy isn’t always best.

People try to send emails instead of having conversations all the time. Sometimes it works. But in these seven situations, it just doesn’t.

Even if you’re tempted, don’t have these conversations via email. It’s time to pick up the phone.

1. Anything that starts with “Just”

I was just emailing…
Just following up…
Just checking in…
Just dropping a note…


Call them instead. When you’re speaking with someone, you can control the conversation and really take their temperature. Listen to them and propose something that’s reasonable.

If you think they’re a hot prospect, they’re worth a call. Say, “Hey, making sure you have everything you needed. When should I follow up with you next?” They’ll tell you where they are.

Maybe you thought they’d close next week, but they tell you, “Well, I need to run it by this person…” Now you know they’re not ready, while your “just” email would have likely gone unanswered, leaving you wondering where you stand.

Related: Use These Sales Follow-Up Strategies to Replace “Just Checking In”

2. Negotiations

Don’t negotiate over email. No one gets your inflections so it’s tough to communicate nuances. It’s difficult to distinguish between value and price in text. Everything is literally black and white while negotiations work best in the gray. Sometimes negotiating via email is unavoidable, but avoid it whenever you can.

3. Introductions

Pick up the phone if you can (and if it’s appropriate) to make an introduction. The point of an introduction is to connect with a new person — and email doesn’t provide the best channel for connection. With a phone call (or better yet, a face-to-face opportunity), you’re better able to put a personality to the name and establish a connection they’ll remember.

4. Become Someone’s Friend

Email isn’t the place to build rapport and make friends. You’re not pen pals. Again, there’s no inflection in text. We all read emails according to our moods — which leaves too much to interpretation. Save rapport building for a conversation.

5. Cancel Vendors or Customers

If you have a customer or vendor that’s not a good fit, still give them the respect of having a conversation about it. You need to listen to them, and you can explain why the relationship isn’t working out. If the conversation goes well, you may even get a referral out of the deal.

You’d never get a referral from email. They’re not thinking about that. But every time you talk to someone, as long as the conversation goes well, you have the opportunity for a referral. If you ask them about it in the course of a conversation, they may know just the person to send your way.

6. Apologies

It’s too easy for an apology to be misread via email. It’ll be misconstrued depending on what the person wants to see. If you keep an email apology too brief, it seems like you don’t care. If you make your email too long, no one will read it.

Plus, it always takes too much time. It probably took you 45 minutes to craft the message that’ll be misread anyway. Just call them or make an appointment to meet so you can apologize the way you intend.

7. Pitch a Sale

Sales pitches rely on interaction, which makes them near impossible to do via email. Even if you send a video sales pitch, you end up guessing about the client’s needs. You’ll spend a lot of time on disclaimers, “I think this is probably what you’re looking for based on…”

If a client asks for an emailed pitch, you can always try it. It won’t be as effective as a face-to-face pitch, but you’ll miss 100% of the shots you never take.

Related: Tell the Story, Make the Sale: Sales Conversation Starters to Improve Your Pitch

Sales is all about the relationship… and emails don’t allow for the back and forth you need to have the conversations that build sales relationships. So, whether it’s time to negotiate, check in, or apologize, pick up the phone. It’ll be worthwhile.

Salespeople: Avoid These Email Etiquette Mistakes

sales email mistakes

How many emails do you click through in a day? 75? 100? More?

Reading emails is an exercise in snap judgement. You see an email that isn’t visually appealing – trash.

Another one has a generic subject – trash.

Then, you come across a message from a salesperson. They have a product that may actually work for you, but the email has some mistakes at the beginning. What’s your reaction? Trash.

Now, let’s flip the scenario for a minute. Do you make these common mistakes in your messages? If so, these issues could be the reason your sales numbers aren’t adding up.

1. Capitalization…Or Lack Thereof

We all work from our mobile devices. When typing an email on your phone, it’s easy to skip the capitalization without thinking much of it. Resist that temptation. Take the extra time to capitalize and punctuate your emails correctly.

When you make obvious errors, you seem lazy to your prospects. In fact, most people won’t give a message with typos a second thought. They’ll consider you or your business illegitimate and unprofessional. Why would they want to work with that type of person or company?

Fortunately, this is an easy fix. Take a few extra minutes to proofread for obvious mistake – even if you are on your phone.

Related: The Biggest Social Networking Mistakes Salespeople Don’t Know They’re Making

2. Not Asking Hard Questions

In sales, you’re looking for the objection so you can negotiate past it. In an email, you can find that objection a little easier than in a face-to-face conversation. Use your emails to get straight to the point.

Maybe you’ve called a prospect repeatedly, but he hasn’t returned your calls. When you email him, don’t hesitate to say, “I know you’re busy, but let’s be frank. Are you still interested in the product?” Rather than waste everyone’s time, get to the heart of the issue.

If the price is too high, you need to know so you can either negotiate or move on. Email acts as the perfect vehicle for delivering the tough question that lets you know how to proceed.


3. Too Much Content

Think about how many emails you receive each day and assume your client receives more. They don’t have time to sit and read long paragraphs in the course of clicking through their mail.

Think of email like a chat rather than a content provider. Use only a few sentences per message so your recipient can answer and then move on.

To help with the brevity, add a tagline to your signature that sums up your business. It should communicate basic information about your company including general products and services. Don’t write a long explanation of what your company does as a part of your email. No one wants to read a paragraph of standard jargon about your business.

Related: How to Write the Perfect Sales Email

Also, choose a clear goal for the email and only focus on that. Do you need to talk to the person so you can unpack the details? If so, you could write, “Do you have time this afternoon for a quick telephone call?” as one of the first lines of your message. Your signature will do the rest. If they agree to the call, you can elaborate on your business as you talk.

Maybe you’re taking a new approach to prospecting and asking potential clients to be survey participants. Your email goal is to ask them to answer a few questions to see if their pain points are the same as others in the industry. Focus on that alone. Then, your signature will communicate the products that may solve some of the problems they were questioned about.

Emails can make or break you. Don’t let these common errors ruin your chance at gaining a client before you even start selling.

How to Write the Perfect Sales Email

template how to write perfect sales email

Who doesn’t get bombarded with sales emails every day? When I open my inbox each morning, message after message blasts me with the latest opportunity only available for a limited time only. My favorite button: delete.

Turns out, it’s not just me. In fact, 35% of email recipients open emails based on the subject line alone. Conversely, 69% of email recipients report email as Spam based on that same subject line (Convince and Convert). So how do you get your message through?


In our office, we have an exercise where we ask our salespeople to attempt to write the perfect sales email. It usually goes something like this:

Hey Johnny,

My name is ______ and I’m from so and so. We talk to businesses just like yours and help them save thousands on their business insurance. One of the best features here is ______. We take care of our customers because we provide the best customer service in Davidson County. In fact, last year we were number one for customer satisfaction. One of the things we help our people with is figuring out which insurance they’re paying for and which insurance they shouldn’t be…

Sound familiar? Yes. It’s sales throw up. All the client sees is “Sales guy. He sells insurance.” Not interested. People, it’s time to change the approach.

shall not pass spam filter meme

The New Sales Email

We obviously need a new tactic for getting the message through. First, consider the audience: the decision makers. These are busy people, often on-the-go, dealing with business wherever they may be. In fact, 64% of decision-makers read their email via mobile devices (Top Rank Blog). Let that simple fact shape your emails.

Write a letter that can be broken into about 10 pieces. Your first email should look like this:

Hey Johnny,

I saw your name at so and so. Are you available next Tuesday to talk about ________?

Skip the details and realize that Johnny will probably ignore this first message. So, you’ll create another email and another, etc. Essentially, you use a drip email approach to get your message across one step at a time. [In fact, I have a document that will automate this process for you. Just email me and I’ll send it over.]

The Purpose of a Sales Email

The new sales email allows you to add information little by little that inches you closer to your goal: a face-to-face appointment. Nine times out of ten, sales emails are no different than cold calls. The purpose is to get a face-to-face meeting, not to sell widgets. When you meet in person, you’re then able to build rapport and hopefully make a sale.  

We’re not all able to offer our products cheaper, so we need to find a way to add value to the price. The character and connection generated with a face-to-face meet up often makes up for differences in costs.

Your prospects are just as delete-happy as the rest of us. Make your email stand out with fewer gimmicks and more face time.