Fourth Quarter Isn't the Time to Close With Email

BY Jessica Helinski
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The fourth quarter is here. There’s a lot going on this time of year for reps: Pipelines need to be filled and many are desperate to meet year-​end goals and quotas. “…for many salespeople desperate to fill a pipeline in the fading months of the year, that means turning to email,” writes Will Allred for Sales Hacker. While this method of communication can save time (especially when meetings can’t be held in person), it can also be ineffective if not done thoughtfully. 

While Allred doesn’t discourage salespeople from turning to email during the fourth quarter, he says they need to strategize. Shooting out emails won’t do any good and can even turn off prospects. He shares his suggestions for reps who want to take advantage of this easy method of communication, but in a smart way.

Fourth quarter: Email wisely

Allred notes that email simply isn’t for closing, especially during an anxious fourth quarter. Instead, it should be used to move sales along. “Q4 brings a lot of emotions, and the worst of them all is desperation,” he writes. “Your prospects can smell its stench from a mile away. And if you show the prospect that you want the deal more than they do, the balance of power shifts.” And believe it or not, this panic can show through in emails in the form of mistakes. Allred points out that salespeople often make the same mistakes when writing fourth quarter emails. Below is just one example he shares:

Giving away too much information. One mistake that reps can make is oversharing. In their desire to make a deal close quickly, they reach out via email and share too much. “We want them to make an informed decision, so we launch into telling them all about us,” Allred explains. But this much information isn’t appropriate for an email. Likely, the prospect will glance at the wordiness and not bother to respond.

Instead, your fourth quarter emails should serve as means to drive dialogue. Show the prospect that you’ve done your research. Ask questions based on your own research or what you’ve already discussed with them.

Use emails to continue to mine for information that will ease closing rather than using them to close. “This changes the tone of the conversation from a sales pitch to a dialogue where you can build a relationship,” Allred explains. And don’t worry that you’re going to run out of time because it’s already the fourth quarter. “It might feel like you’re slowing down the process, but you’re building trust,” he adds. Using emails to learn and strengthen relationships can heighten chances of closing the deal before year's end. 

So, when writing emails in the fourth quarter, consider this tip, as well as the others Allred shares. Yes, the clock is ticking on meeting year-​end quotas and capturing remaining budgets. But, shooting out emails hoping something will stick won’t do the trick. Instead, use his suggestions to craft thoughtful emails that will help move the sales process along and nurture a future close. As Allred writes, “Treat email for what it is. Email isn’t where you’ll close the deal. It’s where the deal progresses between meetings to get it closed.” Keep that in mind as you close out this fourth quarter!