Are you really a salesperson if you email a proposal to your client rather than present it in person?
This was the topic of an outstanding and unplanned point/counterpoint on shawnmccadden.com, a blog focusing on building and designing. McCadden broached the topic with an initial post back in August, in which he wrote,
If as a contractor you take the time to go out and meeting with a prospect, then you simply email or snail mail your proposal to the prospect, I don’t think you are really a sales person. If you do this I think you are an order taker. Now there may be a few exceptions to this. But, before you rationalize why your situation is an exception, ask yourself this question first. Is your justification for emailing your proposals really a “reason” or, is it an “excuse”?
McCadden makes the point salespersons are just that — people — and the personal touch can make all the difference when addressing questions and concerns. Email may be more convenient, but the convenience is more often an excuse than a solid reason.
Then, in September, a fellow contractor by the name of Milt Rye responded to McCadden’s assertion emailing proposals is a poor practice. Rye wrote,
That said, I am afraid I can’t totally agree with your premise that a contractor who emails proposals is just an “order taker”. I think the approach must be governed by many factors that are geared toward that particular customer’s needs and personality. A true salesperson, in my view, is someone who can relate best to their customer, instill confidence in them, and communicate in the manner and frequency in which their customer is most comfortable.
As with most practices in the industry, the best way will vary from job to job. But we’re curious: What’s your stance on emailing proposals? Is it a common practice for you, or do you insist on meeting with clients in person? Which method has been most successful?