Always give them a reason to say “yes.”

Back when I was working in sales, I had to learn—quickly—just how important that concept was.
 
I started off trying the traditional stuff—automated emails, scripted cold-calling, you name it.
 
It got me nowhere, because my messaging was typically something along the lines of:
 
“Hey, Mr. Jones, I’d love if we can meet somewhere for coffee that’s twenty minutes away from your office so I can talk to you about what I want from you.”
 
No one, especially the C-suite executives I was trying to sell to, was going to respond to that email or return that phone call.
 
And why would they? What value was I creating for them?
 
After multiple rejections, I realized that I wasn’t giving them a reason to say “yes.” What I was giving them was every reason to say “no.”
 
So, I changed my approach. I put myself in their shoes. I asked myself:
 
“What would someone have to say to me to make me want to say ‘yes’?”

 No more one-size-fits-all emails. No more asking prospects to come to me. I changed my approach to say:
 
“Mrs. Jones, I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to bring you a coffee or a smoothie from JuiceLand. You name your beverage of choice and I will bring it to your office. You tell me the date and time and I will clear my schedule for the opportunity to shake your hand and meet you in person.”
 
I started hearing more “yeses”—but not as many as I wanted. So I took it a step further.
 
If a prospect was in Texas and my emails and calls weren’t working, I would drive to their city for the day to drop something off in person.
 
At the reception area, I would say, “Can you deliver this to Mr. Roberts and let him know that JT McCormick stopped by?”
 
I wouldn’t ask to see them or for a meeting—I only asked that what I delivered was given to them, along with that message.
 
Afterwards, almost every time, that call or email got returned.
 
Were my methods efficient?
 
Not really.
 
Were they effective?
 
Absolutely.
 
In fact, they were so effective, they led to my meeting the man who would become my greatest mentor.
 
He was a top-level businessman—a billionaire—but I researched and found his email, number, and address. I told him about my background and upbringing and told him that if I could get just a minute of his valuable time, I’d come to him just to introduce myself and shake his hand.
 
He answered my email and CC’d his executive assistant. It took more than 3 months of attempting to get on his calendar, but in the end, I did.
 
The minute of his time I asked for? He gave me thirty—and he’s been my mentor ever since.
 
Demonstrating value is critical when developing business relationships.

Focusing on efficiency—sending canned emails and using call scripts—only served to demonstrate that I knew nothing about the person I was trying to engage, and that I didn’t value them or their time.
 
Taking the time to make it convenient for them to meet with me—to give them what they needed—gave them a reason to say “yes,” and resulted in the strong relationships I was looking for.
 
Relationships that I still have to this day.
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