Negotiate over e-mail? No, thank you.

In the last months Covid has redifined our personal and professional behaviors.

We get used to social distances, to wear masks and to buy in large quantities to stock up.

We get used to work 100% remotely considering our table as a desk and our kitchen as an office.


Sales have been impacted even more and this pandemic has rewrote the profession, just think about all the salespeople who were forced to learn how to manage distances because they could not meet people.

One of the consequences of this change has been very subtle and maybe undermined: I’m talking about the usage of working tools such as e-mails or phone.


I saw communications getting way much more complicated: things that were written in e-mail were rewrote in messages and lot of web meetings had the same contents of the phone call happened a few days before and so on.

What surprised me was the salespeople’s use of e-mails to negotiate.

It seemed that we forgot the human part of sales in order to facilitate ‘protection’: being refused via e-mail is way less painful then being refused via phone call, isn’t it?

This is why I choose to write an article about it, trying to explain why you should never negotiate over e-mail or just in rare occasions.


First of all, posture and tone of voice are two key elements in negotiation.

Posture took a back seat during pandemic this is why tone of voice has gained even more importance.

Tone of voice can be easily misunderstood in e-mail communications and you can notice it if you open one in your inbox: in how many of these the other person seems nervous, not interested or even unpleasant?

You probably think: “In all of them”.

Now try to give her a call: you’ll notice how yours were just assumptions.

You’ll notice that your prospect was in a rush, that he answered via mobile, that he was at lunch with his family and so on.


Second, negotiating over e-mail undermines flow.

The vast amount of questions, the bullet points, the punctuation: these are all limits you’ll face.

Negotiation is an encounter of different positions but first of all a conversation: you want to avoid any barrier between you and who’s in front of you.


Last but not least, negotiating over e-mail undermines traction.

One of the first characteristics of a sales conversation is traction, so the positive tension which guarantees a fair exchange of questions and answers.

Curiosity, interest, enthusiasm: these are all elements of this kind of conversations.

Negotiating over e-mail extends the time between question and answer undermining enthusiasm and traction which are fundamental to move the sale forward.


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