I’m always looking for new ways to get smart in my clients’ businesses. I use some old war horse tactics but am ever on the lookout for new stuff. People who follow What’s The Idea? know I’m a fan of “proof.” There’s talk, platitude and proof. On the old stuff side of the proof ledger is “windshield time” — time I spend riding around with salespeople watching them sell and buyers buy. The time in the car between sales calls is valuable learning time. However today, there’s a new flavor of windshield time. It’s called email. Lots of selling takes place in email.
Ask a client executive or senior sales person to send you an email thread of the back and forth with a prospect. Once you weed out the “let’s grab a coffees,” “clients worked with,” and “competitive positioning,” you get to some serious selling grist. It’s also interesting to see how tone in the email thread can change over time. You can almost feel the pulse.
Ask the client for email threads that resulted in business won and also some where they did not gain the business. See if you can understand the differences.
Email threads may be private so you have to be careful. Most selling conversations in email form aren’t identified as private. Just use your head.