Discover why "Reply All" is death to value and when to leverage the art of BCC.
- Have you ever gotten into an email battle with someone? I have to tell you, at one point in my life, I was the president of a board for a church. And if you think people get nasty in business, you wouldn't believe how quickly people jumped to the wrong conclusions and flame-mailed each other in church. Now what's ironic, is one of the core tenets of this church was to respect the inherent worth and dignity of every person. But somehow, when it came to email, all the bets were off. You know, people say things in email that they wouldn't say to your face.
We've been using email for 20 years, but we don't appear to have gotten much better at it. If anything, the overwhelming volume of emails that we get and send has made us even more careless. Now, we've all either sent that email that was misunderstood, or received an email that we took the wrong way. So the first advice about negotiation via email, is don't do it. Negotiating is always better in person. And if you can't be face to face, at least pick up the phone.
Even if your buyer tries to negotiate by email, you need to be the one who responds by calling them. If you are reduced to sending emails, there are two overarching things that you need to look out for. The first one is, employ a gracious tone. Now, what do I mean by that? Go back and re-read your correspondence. You don't want to include tons of fluff, but look at the undercurrent. What's the tone? How can you be gracious? Add in "hello, I hope you're having a good day." or, "I'm excited about this." because you want to set an emotional context.
The second overarching principle, never assume. As the seller, the onus is on you to watch your words, but you don't want to let a hastily sent message from your buyer throw you off. For all you know, they wrote it on their phone as they were walking to the bathroom. So you have to remember, the other party can't read your facial expressions, your eye contact, your posture, your tone, and you can't read theirs. Not everybody is a good emotive writer. So it's up to you to communicate all those subtle clues with words.
So, there's some basic negotiating tactics that become even more important in email. Ask questions, build value, listen, read closely. So here are a few really practical tips to ensure you get the right replies to your emails. So the first is the subject line. Your buyer has in-box overload, just like the rest it. So make it easy for them to find your email and come back to it. Don't do generic subject lines, like "Quote", or "Thank You".
Make it specific, like "The details you need to act quickly" or, "The last three items you requested." Speaking of details, make sure you add them. Now, if you're in person, and you say, "I'm well." And you smile, and you nod, that's gonna create a connection with your buyer. But, "I'm well" in an email might come across curt or cold. So try providing some details, like "I'm well, "I had a great weekend at the lake with my family." This context provides a warm tone, and it's really critical in email.
The other tip is, don't overthink things. If you would be transparent about a detail in person, be just as transparent in an email. Negotiating over email doesn't need to translate into negotiating with a robot. It's okay for you to express concern, understanding, hope, and other emotions just like you'd express them in person. Just be sure you're providing the right context. Another critical factor, proof it. One zero can make all the difference in the world.
Now, if you're in person, it's probably pretty rare that you would misspeak about pricing or features or other details, but you might mis-type them, so proof carefully. Take a few extra minutes, read through your email. Ask yourself, have I set the right tone? Are all the details right? And if so, hit send.
- Negotiating with noble purpose
- Three kinds of sales negotiation
- Why deals fall apart
- Spotting and diffusing negotiation traps
- Asking for their boss
- Negotiating via email
- Avoiding renegotiating sales