I courted a company for a considerable time in an effort to add it to my list of consulting clients.
After doing a short consultation at their Illinois headquarters, I was asked to send in a proposal.
On the return plane ride, I banged out the major part of the proposal, and with a little editing, I sent it off a day or two later, by email.
That was one heck of a mistake.
Email is great for lots of things, but it isn't the best format for pitching a six or seven figure deal, for at least a few reasons:
(1) The prospect has to print it out, and it may look lousy. Few people in major companies make decisions by themselves. Approvals are required, so someone unfamiliar with you and your charisma is going to pass judgment on what he sees. If it looks pathetic, physically, or aesthetically, you're toast.
(2) More ceremony is required for people to feel they're getting their money's worth. If you put together a handsome package, containing books, videos, brochures, testimonials, and the like, it's simply going to make a better impression.
(3) Speed of transmission is less critical in selling big deals, and too much speed can connote haste. The big advantage of email is its speed; without that need, re-consider using it. Overnight delivery services are a bargain, and they're everywhere.
(4) There was a joke told in graduate schools about how professors evaluate dissertations and publications. "They don't read," a fellow student confided. "They count and they weigh." In other words, if something looks physically substantial, there is merit; if it seems too succinct, too thin, then it is thought to be lightweight, from a desirability standpoint.
(5) Attachments are always suspected to contain viruses. Unless your client is McAfee or Microsoft, which are in the virus scanning business, you breed paranoia with each attachment you transmit, and that isn't a positive buying mood.
There is no reason NOT to impress prospects with your supporting documentation and stunning stationery, if you have them.
Trying to substitute email, unless it is specifically requested, can be the equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot.