The Blog

Email does not equal a conversation

Posted by Tom LarsenDec 10, 2014 Marketing, Operations, Planning, Sales 0 Comment

All the time I am confronted with frustrated people because someone has not “responded” to their email. All the time I ask if they have called them to follow-up. Most of the time, the answer is no.

The top priority in business is to create relationships. In order to do that, one must have conversations. Email is terrible at creating conversations. Email is chunks of dialogue thrust at a recipient to be read as time and priority allow and maybe create a response. It is not a substitute for two people talking through topics on the phone any more than a text message is the same as email.

So I suggest everyone consider appreciating this hierarchy of communications:

Top Level: Face to Face. You can’t beat it. Use Skype or whatever, but, always work toward this. It engages three senses and a dimension; sight, sound and touch (shaking hands, writing notes, etc.) and time.

Phone call: the next best thing to being there. It engages only one sense, sound, and retains the dimension of time.

Voice mail: retains the sense of sound but loses the dimension of time.

Email: Only engages sight and loses the dimension of time.

Everything else – worse.

When you want to get to a buyer or you want to step into someone’s space, you don’t want your very important message to be seen “at the recipient’s convenience” and seen through pixels. Be willing to pursue via phone calls or whatever else is needed to have a “meeting”.

If all you want to do is provide background, follow-up, write a letter, etc., sure, use email. But, it’s incredible to me that a sales person would send an email sales presentation, wait for a response, and then be surprised that their product, which is a perfect fit, is rejected.

In essence, the effort to get into that store was so unimportant to the seller, that they delegated it to the poorest communication model possible (albeit very efficient), email. If it’s important, if you want it to happen, if it means something to you, then get the person in a room or on the phone. Otherwise, your effort is just part of the daily noise that shows up in a computer. Does it take more time? Of course, that’s the point. Where you put your time is where you get results and how you grow your business.

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