Have you ever sent an email or text message that was misinterpreted by the other party? Have you ever been angered by someone’s Tweet or email only to discover that you did not accurately understand their message?  If you answered “no” to both questions (liar!), you should stop reading now.

I was working with a team of young, would-be rainmakers at a professional services firm.  We were discussing some approaches about getting to the client’s underlying issues, and better understanding how those issues were impacting their organization. One of the guys said “I ask those questions all the time, but they never reply to my emails.”  I smirked, and in that moment, I realized why they were not succeeding.

Email, texting, and tools like Twitter have transformed our lives. I now have more computing power in my smartphone than used to reside in an entire room of so-called supercomputers at the fine university where I earned my undergraduate degree. The good news is that I can now send a message from my smartphone and instantly connect to just about the entire free world in a few seconds. That’s also the bad news.

The ability to quickly and clearly communicate electronically has simplified our lives. It has also allowed us to rely on technologies that put us at a disadvantage. Email is a great way to make a quick introduction, to share news about an upcoming event, or to confirm an agreement we have already made. Twitter and other social media tools are a great way to have a one-to-many conversation with your circles of influence.  But, would you propose marriage via email?  If someone close to you passed away, would you expect your Priest, Rabbi, Minister, etc. to console you via Twitter? Of course not. Guess what?  Your clients don’t expect to make serious decisions that way either.

In his upcoming book, Likeonomics, best-selling author Rohit Bhargava shares great insight into how clients make buying decisions. His book is definitely one to read. It is important to convey sincerity, be genuine, and take an active interest in your client’s success.  Use email to confirm those things to which you have already agreed by phone or in person. Do not use it to try to negotiate a deal electronically.

I often hear “It’s easier to reach my clients via email than by phone.”  That’s ok. Send them an email to setup a time to speak. And, when you do speak with them, be sure to focus on issues that matter to them.

I have yet to see a client land a major deal via email or Twitter . After all, those tools are not designed to negotiate or sell, they are tools for communication. You might be able to send a quote and win as the low-bidder via email. Someone with whom you have had a long business relationship might send you an order via email. If if you want to earn top-dollar for your products and services, take the time to have a conversation and be sure that you stand out from the competition. In today’s world, having a face-to-face conversation might be all the differentiation you need.

Please share your stories of when your email was misunderstood. Joey Coleman and I will be addressing these and other topics on June 5. Discover more at http://www.ExperienceRemarkableGrowth.com

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