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DEATH OF A SALESMAN: Email Is Not Your Friend

Source | LinkedIn : By Ari Kaufman

What happened to sales people? When did email become perceived as the only highly effective form of selling? What happened to the scrappy days of pounding phones, networking relationships and getting creative? Remember the VITO letter? Ever get one of those anymore?

You’re sorely mistaken if you believe that flooding an executive’s inbox with rote solicitations will escape the DELETE key. If you want to be noticed, it’s time you go old-school and pick up the phone. And don’t expect success after the first or second attempt. That’s just silly.

There once was a time when sales people promoted their President Club achievements and sales training certifications on their resumes: Certified in Solution Selling Methodology; SNAP; Dale Carnegie; The Challenger Sale.… Is Email Badgering a program that I missed?

A quick glimpse at my inbox and I’m met with a deluge of subject lines like: … Conference call? … I want to be your first call? … Meeting request? … Do you have 15 minutes to connect? … Can I buy you a cup of coffee? … I am writing to request 30 minutes of your time

My favorite one – or should I say—my favorite annoying one, is the I-Happen-To-Be-In-Town Email. Because every executive likes to hear, “I’ve got nothing better to do and since I’m in the area, I I could swing by and sell you something.” The absurd thing is that this approach is a sad evolution of the following, which was highly effective:

I’m going to be in town for a very important meeting with an existing client and it certainly would be worth extending my trip if you can afford me some time.

Email has become such an abused form of communication by sales people today that executives no longer look, let alone respond to anything. I don’t care if someone hopes that I am well. I’m not interested in just being updated. Are you delusional? Do you really think pretending that we have an existing email correspondence by starting the first email to me with “RE:” in your subject line will fool me?

I‘ve sent you a few emails already I am following up on my previous email Wondering if you’ve had a chance to review my previous emails I’ve sent you a few notes and could use a response I’m not sure if you’ve received my previous emails….

Here’s a secret: seasoned sales people are successful because they DON’T rely on email alone. They don’t expect it to warm up their prospects and develop their opportunities. They do not expect a sale to just jump out of the water and hook itself on the line of an email passively placed in the water. Sure, they use it, but they certainly don’t use it as a crutch like new sales people today.

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