The Classic E-Pong timeline
- You've researched, found your decision maker and sharpened your sales angle to win the business.
- You make a call. The decision maker is pleased to hear from you but they're busy and ask you to put your proposal in writing and send it to them for review... VIA E-MAIL (one week)
- You send your proposal VIA E-MAIL
- The decision maker responds that they've received your proposal and will review in due course VIA E-MAIL (two weeks)
- You follow up in a couple of weeks after hearing nothing back VIA E-MAIL (four weeks)
- Your decision maker is busy and distracted by the day to day running of a business. They take 4 days to respond to your e-mail and reply that they are apologetic but will get back to you shortly with a decision after they chat to the relevant people VIA E-MAIL (five weeks)
- Based on the reply you are inclined to give the decision maker another week before hassling them again for an answer
- You send another message to your decision maker asking if a decision has been made VIA E-MAIL (six weeks)
- Nothing is heard back, and doubts creep in as to the priority this proposal is being given
- You send one final e-mail stating that you are just "wrapping up the quarter" or "ticking things off your task list", and asking whether any decision has been made once more VIA E-MAIL (seven weeks)
- You receive an e-mail 4 days later from your decision maker thanking you for the hard work you put into the proposal, but unfortunately other priorities have arisen in the company and they are unable to proceed with the business at this time VIA E-MAIL (eight weeks)
Eight weeks of E-PONG, with no result! This is all because the decision maker was hiding behind their "E-Wall".
So What is the E-Wall?
The digital age has created a virtual electronic wall behind which our clients can now hide. The pattern of communication has become less about face to face; it's not only acceptable to do business via e-mail - it's the new normal.
Here are three questions to consider as a sales person in a new digital age...
- Have you set clear timelines around communication? For example 'I will email you through a proposal, lets put a time in the diary now to discuss your feedback'.
- Have you asked the right questions? For example 'What three key pieces of information do you need highlighted in this proposal, so I can make sure they are included?'
- Are you taking advantage of new technology to close more sales? For example, using Skype meetings to encourage more face to face contact, or including a video link with every proposal where you personally talk through the highlights and address any concerns.
We all need to embrace the digital age that has provided our world with an unprecedented level of access to communication at the touch of a button. However face to face selling skills have not become redundant. If anything they've become more important than ever.
Chris Helder's new keynote "Selling in the New Reality: Breaking Down the E-Wall" will give you specific tools designed to increase sales and shorten the sales cycle. You and your staff will learn to get to "Yes" instead of "Call me in a week" by embracing the modern tools and combining them with time-honoured techniques for sales professionals.