Sales Email Fails – How NOT to Use Email

Email with prospects should not be used for:

  • Negotiating/ Persuading/ Debating
  • Closing/ Making an ask
  • Delivering news (good or bad)
  • Substituting for a conversation
  • Sounding ridiculous
  • Phishing

Imagine that you came back from a sales meeting with Bob, who explained the challenge that he’s having with his production line. It’s not keeping up with demand. He explains that his business is seasonal and they earn 80% of their annual revenue during their six months high season. Bob is the production manager and he said that customers sometimes cancel orders because they cannot deliver on time.

Here is a sample follow up email that you could send to Bob.


 I found the answer to the questions you asked. The hyper-drive unit that you want to install in your company’s production line only works with the T2 flux capacitor. Since you currently have the older model of the capacitor (the T1), you need to upgrade to the T2 and then purchase the hyper-drive unit. The cost for upgrading from the T1 to T2 and adding the hyper-drive unit is $320,000. Attached is our standard contract for ordering and installing this equipment. It’s the end of the quarter so I can get you better pricing if you buy this week.



Let’s take a look at all the ways this email fails:

  • You’re giving away all your “news”
  • You’re sending a one-way email instead of having a two-way conversation
  • You’re trying to close the sale
  • You sound ridiculous! (Is he really going to buy something complex and expensive this week after your first meeting!?)
  • You’re phishing

The last point is the most important. Bob is the production manager. His role is to make the current production line run at maximum capacity. He has no authority to purchase equipment. Trying to sell something via email to someone who has no interest (or ability) to buy from you is phishing.

Bob will probably respond by saying, “Thanks for the info. We’ll talk about it and get back to you.” Then your only options are to “touch base” and see if he “needs anything”.

In the next post, we’ll look at an email response that is constructive and moves the sale forward.

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