Have you ever been stuck in an email argument that won’t end?
Today’s Sales Skills Lesson: There’s Another Tool That Works Much Better
A friend of mine was recently sucked into one of these endless, frustrating digital exchanges. Here’s how she dealt with it.
My friend designs knitting patterns. Yarn shops around the country buy her patterns and re-sell them to their customers.
Recently a shop owner emailed her saying that there was a mistake in one of her patterns, and asking for a correction. The designer double-checked the pattern (which she’d been teaching for years), and quickly concluded that the pattern was correct — the shop owner preferred a different technique, but the pattern technique worked just fine.
- Designer emailed shop owner to say that there was no mistake.
- Shop owner wrote back insisting that there was a mistake.
- I suggested calling the shop owner on the phone.
- The designer shot back, “I don’t want to talk to her on the phone.”
- I backed off.
- Designer emailed the shop owner that the pattern was fine, explained the difference in approach, and suggested that the shop owner give it a try.
- Shop owner wrote back saying that she was going to “add a correction” to the pattern instead.
The designer was furious about this, and shared her frustration with me in an extremely animated fashion. I asked,
“Umm…Could you call the shop owner on the phone?”
Photo by designsoliman/dpc
Reluctantly, the designer picked up the phone and called. Designer and owner talked at length and found some common ground. The owner agreed to try the pattern as written. A half hour later, the owner emailed back that the pattern worked perfectly.
Shop owner persuaded, designer happy, relationship preserved.
The lesson here:
When it’s time to persuade… when it’s time to sell, the single best sales tool on the planet is still the good old-fashioned telephone. It’s better than email, it’s better than texting, it’s better than any of the new instant-messaging apps that clutter our smartphones. Develop strong phone sales skills and they’ll pay you back in a hurry.
Three Ways to Apply This Now
1. If the subject matter is complicated, awkward, or a matter of dispute, use the phone instead of the keyboard.
2. Employ the 3-Email Rule: whenever you are about to send your third email in an exchange, pick up the phone instead.