The next time you are in a business meeting, look around and notice how many smartphones you see. They are everywhere. People are constantly checking their email messages, as though an email was something that can’t wait until the meeting is over. Can you imagine how disrespectful it would be to be looking through your paper “snail mail” while someone was trying to talk with you about a business topic? Yet most people today think nothing of scrolling through their smartphone messages and firing off quick replies with well-practiced thumbs a-flying, in the middle of a live conversation.
I actually think this is good news for those of us who sell for a living. The reason I say that, is that I want my clients’ competitors trying to engage prospects via email. Meanwhile, my clients pick up the phone have real live conversations and set real live appointments with those same prospects.
Now I’m not naïve. I realize email is here to stay, and even serves good purposes. For example, getting a message to multiple people at once, documenting a conversation, and attaching a document are all excellent uses of email. However, for true person-to-person selling, email cannot come close to the effectiveness of live conversations. The give-and-take of questioning, considering, commenting, listening, and convincing that true sales professionals master cannot be done with email.
Here’s why: Studies show that in a face-to-face communication, 55% of the message is in the body language, 38% in the tonality (cadence, volume, pace, voice inflection, etc.) and only 7% in the actual words. Yet salespeople insist on emailing proposals, quotes, and other critical messages without getting that body language and tonality feedback.
There are many other issues to think about as well, such as, what place can texting play in business communication? And isn’t it effective to use tools like LinkedIn messaging for prospecting and referrals? We’ll explore those concepts in later articles. Got to go now, I have a phone call to make to an important prospect!
Al Simon is president of Simon, Inc., an authorized licensee of Sandler Training. He can be contacted via www.SimonSaysSell.net