I’m not sure what it was about these past 2 weeks, but I’ve received an abnormal number of calls and emails from complete stranger salespeople asking me for my time.
The last email was especially egregious and began like this…
“Hey John – I know you’re crazy busy, but I’m looking to grab 20-30 minutes of your time for a quick call/screen share sometime in the next few weeks to show you our software system…”
On a side note, this person also emailed me 3 more times to follow up. Each email was sent at exactly the same time of day, which is clearly a sign that I was on an auto-emailing system and not even being contacted by a real person.
Anyway, back to his initial email. The first note this guy sends me is nothing but a request for my time. I’ve never heard from him before and there was zero attempt to understand what I might need (which, by the way, is definitely not related to what he’s selling).
He’s just asking for something from me and offering zero value in return. And, by the way, he’s not asking for something tiny. He wants up to 30 minutes of time (or more). This got me thinking about when it’s reasonable to ask for my real estate prospects’ time.
I considered that it might be after “x” number of contacts or “y” number of days. However, what I think it really comes down to is that:
It’s acceptable and reasonable to ask for a prospect’s time after you’ve already provided them with some type of value first.
I don’t think there’ necessarily a specific timeline attached to value. If I conduct a webinar with a solid 45 minutes of solid educational material, I think it’s reasonable to ask for someone’s time after that even if it’s the first day of my relationship with this person.
I believe that the response you get to asking someone for their time is more related to the strength of the value you’ve provided to them rather than the length of time you may have been in contact with them.
There are a lot of people that are in my database that I’ve “checked in” with for over a year. That’s a pretty long time. But, if I haven’t really provided them with any type of value over that period, I shouldn’t expect them to want to suddenly do business with me just because they’ve been on my list for a while.
As a real estate agent, I’m going to think a lot more about the value I can provide to people over the course of the coming year. If I provide something that’s tangible and educational to them that helps them achieve their goals, I think that is completely deserving of them giving me 15 or 30 or 60 minutes of time when it makes sense to meet up.
Thank you, Mr. Email Guy who rudely asked me for my most precious asset, my time, without offering something in return. It was a great reminder as to how I should attempt to be in contact with my own prospects.
No matter how long or short of a time I’ve known someone who’s looking to buy or sell, it’s my goal to consistently provide amazing value along the way. Do that and I think you can ask for as much time as you want of someone.
How about you? When do you think it’s reasonable to ask for someone’s time? I know some great sales people who are very direct and cut right to the chase and successfully contradict my entire article. Are you more of a “value mindset” like me or do you charge right in? Let me know in the comments.