You Have To Ask

A few years ago I was working with a woman who was starting an inspirational greeting card business. She would attend trade shows and other selling opportunities in her company, set up a professional booth, and display her cards and photos. People would drift by, stop, browse, comment, and move on. She was perplexed by the disconnect between the interest and lack of purchase.

“Did you ask them to buy your cards?” I asked her.

“No,” she said. “I assume that if they want some they will purchase them.”

“Not necessarily,” I told her. “Try asking them if they would like to buy a card.”

I saw the light bulb go on in her head. It had never occurred to her to ask someone to purchase her product. At the next trade show, when someone commented on her cards, she asked them “How many can I get you?”  Her results were dramatically different.

The same concept applies to email marketing. Instead of person-to-person at a trade show, it’s an electronic sales process. Current email marketing thought holds that we should be polite and share our wares and expertise through gentle content drip, all the while building our credibility and rapport. But at some point, we gotta ask, do you want to talk about a purchase? When that point occurs will vary for each prospect, as they’re in a different cycle of business. You may say no today, but the next prospect may say yes. Maybe next time I ask, you’ll say yes.

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