Emails are easy to send anytime and anywhere. They’re unobtrusive and allow recipients to read and respond at their convenience. However, emails are not the way to a customer’s ear, heart and ultimately, their wallets. If you primarily rely on emails to get in touch with clients and prospects, you might be inadvertently slowing down your sales pipeline.

Vanessa Merit Nornberg, owner of Metal Mafia, has discovered from more than two decades of selling that emails aren’t effective at connecting with customers. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Nornberg’s thoughts on why you shouldn’t rely on digital communication in the sales process.

Emails are easy to overlook. Nornberg says that emails used to be like sending old-fashioned letters—they were thoughtfully crafted, sent judiciously and served a real purpose. However, in the past three years or so, emails have become more like junk mail than sincere missives, and the number of unwanted, uninspiring and basically useless correspondence is piling up, the same as all of those credit card solicitations that created a traffic jam in your home’s mailbox. Due to this overload, even those with potentially worthy content are getting missed, deleted and forgotten. Nornberg says this spells trouble for your sales pipeline if you are relying only on email to get in touch with your customers.

Emails don’t create urgency. When you are trying to make a sale, time is of the essence. You likely don’t have an unlimited amount of money to keep your company afloat while you wait for a customer to call. While emails might seem unobtrusive, Nornberg points out a major downside—your customers don’t see them as pressing. If you were faced with a medical emergency, you wouldn’t email to get an ambulance to come. You’d pick up the phone and call. Nornberg says that if you care about rescuing your sales pipeline, you’ll do the same.

Emails create back and forth, rather than a close. Customers will often end up making a purchase because someone is there at the right time to give them information, answer their questions and provide what they need. Nornberg says that when you rely on email, you delay and ultimately miss out on that opportunity because the customer gets search fatigue. He doesn’t want to have to email four or five times to get all the details he needs to make a purchasing decision; he wants an answer so he can evaluate, purchase and move forward.

Don’t chalk up slow sales to a bad product when it really comes down to a bad process. Emails should be part of the sales process—but not the focus. Instead, aim to call your customers, engage them in conversation and follow up by email as needed. If you keep sending emails into oblivion, you’ll likely send your business to the same place.

Source: Vanessa Merit Nornberg is the owner of Metal Mafia, a wholesale body and costume jewelry company that sells to more than 5,000 specialty shops and retail chains in 23 countries.