Sales Models, Metrics, and Motions Blog

How to Lose a Sale in 3 Emails

by Trish Bertuzzi on Tue, Nov 27, 2012

If you’ve read this blog for any period of time, you know my thoughts on Sales Reps using email as the primary vehicle for communicating with buyers.

Not only can too many things go wrong (as you'll see below), but in reality a sale doesn’t start until someone has a conversation.

A colleague of mine, let’s call him Nick, sent me the following:

Trish – since I’ve seen some of your posts on ‘how NOT to do a cold call’ and related sales silliness, I thought I would pass this along.  Here’s an example of a horrible sales experience with me as the buyer.

I thought this story might make good fodder for a post stressing the importance of qualifying, when live conversations make sense, and how to screw up a deal with email.

Here’s the email exchange

Nick replied that it was premature to judge fit a) before he had a chance to learn about the product and b) before the Sales Rep understood his needs, budget, etc.

Where did this all go awry?

Sales Rep’s first email:

  • The good: He started out well, offering a demo and suggesting a conversation to ensure fit.
  • The bad: He did no pre-call planning. If he had, he may have identified his concerns earlier and perhaps offered just an initial conversation - saving the demo for later in the sales process.

Sales Rep’s second email:

  • The good: He finally does some research and clearly is concerned about fit.
  • The ugly: Rather than stick to his original commitment, he decides to back pedal and use the old “price as a qualifier” sniff test. This technique just doesn’t play well over email. It comes across as downright rude and sounds like he is trying to kick Nick to the curb.

How did this saga end?

I reached back out to Nick and here’s what he had to share:

I eventually got the Rep on the phone. He continued down the ‘are you worthy’ angle…so I gave up on him. 

The timing of your follow up is interesting – as I just signed a contract to spend mid 5-figures on a competing technology to roll out in 2013.

I hate it when a bad salesperson destroys my ability to consider a good vendor.

Don’t we all. Don’t we all.

Topics: sales tips, lead qualification

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