B2B Street Fighting Blog

what? negotiating via e-mail?

Posted by Joe Gordillo on Mon, Nov 14, 2011 @ 10:30 AM

We know that face-to-face communication is a rich medium because we transmit both visual and vocal cues, while e-mail communication has neither. On one side e-mail may seem to be a more “business-like” approach, but it also eliminates rapport building and subtle body-language communication as well. Studies have shown that e-mail negotiations have five major implications:

negotiating by email 1. Increased contentiousness
 2. Diminished information sharing
 3. Diminished process cooperation
 4. Diminished trust
 5. Increased effects of negative attribution

The reality is that when people are not face-to-face they are more susceptible to “put on an act,” posture or adopt “tough-guy attitudes” instead of opening up to a cooperative exchange. Whenever possible, e-mail needs to be used as a tool to further negotiations once a basic rapport and trust have been established face-to-face, and not as a substitute for personal interaction. Having said this, effective negotiators must be prepared to engage their counterparts online. In order to further negotiations via e-mail we need to develop an effective skill set in these four areas:

  1. Writing Ability
  2. Message Management
  3. Relationship Management
  4. Content Management

Also, keep in mind that due to its nature, e-mail does not lend itself equally to both information processing styles. An analytical-rational type (which uses positions, limits, logic and facts) benefits much more from e-mail negotiating than the intuitive-experiential type (which uses emotion, personal experience, intuition and metaphors). This may very well be a new field within negotiating, which has been growing simply because the amount of cyber-communications in businesses is increasing at a steady clip.

If you’d like to learn more on the subject, I suggest you click here to read the article You've Got Agreement: Negotiating via Email.


Tags: negotiation skills for sales

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