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.
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.
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.
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.
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.