Do you ask prospects to marry you?

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Next to writing, speaking, and drinking coffee at Starbucks (which I’m pretty sure is tax deductible), my favorite professional activity is consulting. I love working with clients one-on-one.

Yesterday, I had a great session with a client who just started a serious email prospecting campaign to launch his new business.

He showed me some of his initial emails, which were very well done.

But he made one big mistake in those emails… a mistake that may cost him some opportunities to land new clients.

He asked prospects to marry him.

Now, of course, I’m joking a bit here. He didn’t make an actual marriage proposal. But what he did do was ask prospects to make a big decision based solely on an initial email from a stranger.

He asked prospects for an appointment to view his portfolio and discuss the possibility of working with him.

That’s a major decision for a prospect! It’s a little like you agreeing to have a door-to-door salesperson you just met come in and do a one-hour vacuum cleaner demonstration.

How likely are you to do that? It’s just too big of a decision to make on the “first date”.

These days, prospects want an opportunity to get to know you first before they decide to meet you or try your services.

That doesn’t mean you don’t attempt to get a meeting. Getting a meeting is definitely an important step. It’s just not the first step.

The first step is introducing yourself and getting the conversation started.

And how do you do that?

The best way is to offer a helpful article or special report. (I published an example of a prospecting email that does this in a previous blog post. You can read it here:

By offering an article or special report, you give the prospect a chance to know you a little better and get a taste of your expertise.

As a result, you get a much higher response to your prospecting efforts.

Let’s face it. If you go for the meeting on the first prospecting attempt, you probably won’t get a whole lot of takers.

But if you offer an article or special report, a lot more hands will go up. That’s because you’re making it easier for those prospects to say yes.

Now, of course, there are situations when it is appropriate to ask for a meeting. If you get a referral, or example, or get introduced to a prospect through a mutual contact, then suggesting a meeting makes sense.

But in most “first contact” prospecting situations, asking for a meeting is asking way too much, too soon.

So, in your initial attempt to reach out to a new prospect, don’t make the “marriage proposal” mistake. Instead, make an offer that makes it easy for the prospect to take the next step in getting to know you.

If you do that, the meetings will come. I promise.

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