Anthony Iannarino is an international speaker, bestselling author, sales leader, and entrepreneur. He posts daily sales tips and insights to The Sales Blog.

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If You Asked Over Email, You Did Not Ask

A reader of this blog wrote to me to ask how he could increase the number of appointments he was acquiring through his prospecting efforts. He is struggling, and he is intent on improving his results, and he is looking for ways to do so. This is smart. If what you are doing isn’t working, you need to make adjustments.

To gain some context, I asked this reader how many asks he has made to date. He told me that he has asked for a meeting 17 times, and then he added that all of these requests were made by email.

No Ask

It is unfair to suggest that the content of your ask over email isn’t right or that it won’t produce a meeting. That is expecting something of the medium that the medium isn’t capable of producing (with rare exceptions). Email gives conflict-adverse people with sales titles hope that they can succeed without having to interrupt people, and it is often their preferred form of rejection because then they do not have to hear it verbalized.

An email request for a meeting is the same as not having asked for a meeting at all unless you know the person and you are following up on a call and a voicemail.

You are a stranger. Your dream client doesn’t know you. Your message requesting an appointment is not very different from spam, a message from a stranger to ask for something. Because the “growth hacker” types have decided to automate prospecting, the choice of email to ask for an appointment is diminished further now that everyone realizes these emails have been completely automated. Your email is suspect, if it is not deleted with extreme prejudice.

In a world where everyone is zagging, you should zig. In a world where human interactions are being automated, being human creates a competitive mismatch and asymmetry that creates an advantage.

You Ask for a Meeting

If you are going to ask for a meeting, then you do the asking. You are not your dream client’s pen pal. Get out from behind the screen and pick up the phone and call the person you are asking for a meeting and ask them. When you hear “no,” resolve that person’s concern, promise to trade more in value than the time you are requesting, and ask again for the meeting.

If you don’t hear the “no” response with your own ears, then you did not make an ask. Unless you can hear your email being deleted.

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