Yesterday's Brochures are Today's Emails

Michele Warg
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When email becomes part of your sales pitch towards a prospective customer, it may take some effort to ensure that the person on the other end of the line will actually look at the virtual brochure, rather than send the correspondence straight to the trash folder. Instead of just agreeing to send someone the information via email, take an extra two minutes to ask the prospective client a few questions.

Salespeople have probably heard many stalling tactics from potential customers who simply do not want to be bothered by a sales pitch. Cold call recipients may say "Send me an email" and then hang up. When you call back at a later date, the person doesn't remember you, and doesn't know which email you are talking about. The trick to avoiding a hang-up is to persuade the customer to answer a few questions before you send something to his inbox. You should come prepared for the brush-off, but customize a few responses to get inside the other person's mind for a few moments. suggests several responses to a brush-off. Each one takes just a few moments, but they do require some quick thinking. Responses vary based on the potential customer's answers to questions that you ask. The idea is to get your cold call to say "yes" after the first question and then begin your brief sales pitch.

If the customer says, "Just email me your information and I'll look it over," your next response may be "Great, what's your email address?" Have your email information ready to send as soon as the person gives you the address, and send it while you still have the person on the phone. Then ask the potential client whether he is responsible for the particular aspect of your product, needs any of your products, or is interested in what your company does.

Another way to handle the same situation is to ask your potential customer for two minutes to direct him to the most important part of the information you send him. Then start the sales pitch and ask one of the same basic three questions. A third technique revolves around asking permission to inquire as to whether or not the emailed literature has information useful to the person. Then start on one of your three questions and go from there.

One tactic backs away from the email completely, recommending a sales pitch that revolves around asking questions first and then getting permission to send the email at the end of the call. The idea here is to ascertain whether or not the person wants your product or service.

Strengthen your pitch as you practice your lines. Make the email engaging with a catchy subject line, a simple layout and a small discount for those who sign up through your company's website. Revise your emails as you learn what works and personalize the content. Be sure to address a potential client by name within the context of an email.

Whether you send an email to your potential client or not depends on the outcome of the questions you ask during the sales pitch. The outcome saves you time and resources because you get answers regarding the client's needs during your conversation. If the potential customer needs more information, more contact occurs later.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at



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