A series of essays about sales, startups, & general banter by Nick Persico

We Don't Sell Over Email

Email is one of the greatest inventions of the 21st century, but it's made salespeople lazy. Selling over email extends sales cycles, generates more objections, and hinders your ability to create urgency.

Email is a deal killer.

An email full of sales pitches leaves your prospect alone with their thoughts. Those thoughts are almost always going to be reasons why they shouldn't buy your product. In sales, email should only be used for transactions. Examples of transactions are calendar invites, recaps, due dilligence, and reminders for the next step in the process.

What does a sales email looks like?

Hi Bill,
Hope all is well.
I wanted to follow up and get your thoughts on the information I sent over last week. I really think our product/service would be a perfect fit for you because of X and Y reasons.
Are we ready to move forward?

Bill now has all the time in the world to think about his response. Should he choose to reply (unlikely), it's inevitable that you'll have more questions and objections to manage. In sales, time is money. We need a decision now.

Don't wait for a no via email. Go get the no. Embrace the no. It's going to save you time and make you more money.

The above email should be:

Hi Bill,
Are you available for a quick call at 1PM today? I have a couple of questions.

Set the expectation

The first step is to set the expectation of how the sales process works. After getting an understanding of how the prospect usually purchases your type of product/service, you need to explain how people buy yours. It's fine to give in to their process a bit, but you need to be in control in terms of the communication going forward.

Simply put, the prospect needs to know that long email chains aren't going to fly. Anytime you get an email from a prospect, try calling them instead of sending a reply.

Don't send information

How many times have you heard a prospect say this?:

"Please send over some information, I'll take a look and get back to you."

Never "send over some information". It's your job to give the information to the prospect your way. You need to control how the information is consumed via a live demo or presentation. After the call, the information you send is a recap of what you talked about.

If they're determined to receive "some information", make sure you have them explain why by asking "what exact information will they be looking for", or "the best way to get all of the information you need is a quick 5-10 minute demo - are you in front of a computer?".

The information you are providing to a prospect always needs to be describing a benefit. Don't explain what the buttons do, tell them what will they'll receive when they hit the buttons.

Keep calling.

We've all had the no show. You had a great demo call with a prospect, you set a follow up for next week, and then they disappear. The best way to follow up is to call without leaving voicemails. A missed call is the smallest footprint you can leave with a prospect.

Voicemails and emails take up space in an inbox, and you need to have the flexibility to keep following up without being annoying. After a couple of missed calls, try an email asking for a quick call.

We don't sell over email

The next time you're in a back-and-forth email battle with a prospect, just remember one thing: we don't sell over email.

Then pick up the phone and make it happen.


Profile of Nick Persico

Nick Persico

Director of Sales at Close.com. Previous: Co-Founder of Smart Host (acquired), VP of Ops at Krossover (acquired), and sales at Sysco. Travel nerd, Baltimore Orioles and Ravens fan, and GIF enthusiast.