Never use this approach when asking for directions

I need you to know something…

What I’m about to tell you ACTUALLY happened.

It’s not that this is a crazy story or anything but, when you read it, you’ll definitely think, “yeah, right…”, but honestly…

It happened.

I’ll admit there’s a good chance that selective/exaggerated memory bias or whatever is playing a part in me (mis)remembering this, but honest to [insert your choice of deity here]…

This is EXACTLY how I remember it going down…

(“Going down” does make me sound cool, right?)

– – –

I studied marketing at Uni in 1994.

(Yeah, I know the year probably isn’t relevant, but in seven seconds I’m going to use the words “Sony Discman” and I didn’t want my prehistoric age to shock you)

The journey to Uni took about an hour, so I got myself a Sony Discman (I did warn you) to keep me, and the voices in my head, happy during the commute.

As I was walking to the train station, listening to Enya some banging, hardcore, death metal, a man approached me. I could see he was talking and trying to get my attention but, due to being entranced in the soothing, Celtic melody, I had no idea what he was saying, so…

I reached inside my jacket, pulled out my Glock, and wasted the SOB.

… and by “pulled out my Glock, and wasted the SOB”, I mean “so I could hit stop so I could hear him.”

“Sorry…”, I said, apologising for doing absolutely nothing wrong – a habit I would continue well into my forties. “… I was listening to music, so I didn’t hear you.”

“Yeah, well if you didn’t have fucking headphones in, I wouldn’t have to repeat myself… now can you tell me where the Harrington building is please?”

(I did warn you you wouldn’t believe me, but that’s EXACTLY how I remember it happening)


I couldn’t believe it.

Had listening to music had been made illegal while I was learning about Philip Kotler and his marketing mix*?

(FYI – Phil Kotler’s Marketing Mix… not his best album)

The man stared at me.

It was my turn to speak. I had to say something. The way I saw it, I had two options…

I decided to be the bigger man… to make Gandhi proud… so I kindly and magnanimously gave him directions…

… to the Leighton building… on the opposite side of town.

– – –

Hopefully, you don’t need me to tell you why this guy’s approach isn’t one you should model when asking for directions.

Thing is, it’s the same when you’re asking people to do ANYTHING – it doesn’t matter whether you’re wanting them to click a link to buy your course, share your latest post, or marry your sister to break the evil curse…

There’s a right and a wrong way of asking people to do stuff.

Sure, you could try the “overly aggressive, swearing, and borderline abusive” approach.

If it gets you anywhere, let me know.

I know a lot of business owners worry about “calls to action” in their emails – the part where they ask subscribers to take action. That’s one of the reasons I dive into it on day 10 of “Sent.” – my email writing course for business owners who want to learn how to write an email that actually sounds like them.

Not only do I do my damndest to take all the stress and worry out of CTAs but, to make your life even easier, I give you a simple formula you can follow to create CTAs that get clicked.

The bad news is the deadline to secure your spot in the next class is coming up fast – Friday the 18th June at Midnight (UK time).

Next time around, the course will be a little pricier and have less “hands-on” feedback.

If you want to find out more about how “Sent.” can help you take your email marketing to the next level, so you can get more engagement, maybe more sales, and a much better chance of finding the Harrington Building…

Click here before the doors close on Friday.

(Don’t forget to use your “email club” coupon code [SUBSCRIBERS ONLY] to get an extra tenner off!)

John Holt

P.S. Oh, and if you’re THAT guy… the one that yelled at me all those years ago at uni…

To show there’s no hard feelings… I’ve got a special price for you on this page.

* I’m genuinely amazed I still remember that. DON’T ask me anything about it.