How to Get People to Say Yes (Using These 4 Secret Words)

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 10/16/23 •  4 min read

Learning how to get people to say yes to your cold emails, pitches, or requests is one of the single best skills you can learn as an online business owner.

Recently I received an email, not unlike hundreds that I’ve received before it.

It was from someone I’d never met, who swore their new marketing strategy was going to completely revolutionize my business.

More traffic! More leads! More sales!

And who knows, maybe it would have led to all of those things.

But unfortunately for him, I never gave him that chance.


Because he made one big mistake in his email to me. And then he made it again in his follow up this morning.

In sales, it’s important to be confident, but not at the expense of manners and authenticity.

The mistake he made was he didn’t give me an out.

He made bold assumptions about my interest level, and then said this:

“Let’s plan to hop on a call at 12:30 eastern tomorrow, and I will walk you through exactly how I’m going to help you grow your business.”

Hard stop. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. DELETE.

Clearly, in some cases, I suppose this can work, otherwise, I wouldn’t keep getting emails like this.

But when you’re emailing someone, especially if it’s a relatively cold pitch, one of the most important things you can do is to show how much you respect them.

One way to do this is by giving specific examples of how this person’s work has had an impact on your life. It shows you did your research and didn’t simply cut and paste an email you sent to dozens of other people.

How to Get People to Say Yes to Your Emails, Pitches, or Requests

But, the best way to show you respect someone is to give them an out.

Let them know it’s ok if they aren’t interested in what you’re offering, but that you respect them anyway.

And my favorite way to do it is by adding 4 simple words:

It’s totally cool if…

(Man, this video is still so relevant even years after I filmed it. Not to mention, it’s fun!)

“It’s totally cool if Location Rebel Academy isn’t for you, but let me know if you have any questions so we can make sure it’s a good fit.”

“I think this guest post could be a really good fit for your audience. But don’t worry, it’s totally cool if you aren’t accepting guest posts, or if it isn’t a good time. I just appreciate you taking the time to consider it.”

“Don’t have time to get together? That’s totally cool, I know how busy you are and taking the time to meet a total stranger can be a tough sell! Either way, I really respect your work, and will continue to follow along.”

In all three of these instances, I give the recipient a very easy out. This shows respect. And as counter-intuitive as it is to make it easier for them to say no, it generally results in more people saying yes.

This is the single most important lesson I’ve learned when it comes to becoming a successful freelance writer. If you can nail this in your letters of introduction, you’re going to generate so many more leads, clients, and meaningful relationships.

And what’s better is that even if they do say no, you’ve left the relationship in a better spot.

That guy who was bold enough to make the assumption that I was both available and interested in talking to him the next day?

I’ll never work with him. His sales tactics came straight out of the book, and it was clear he had zero regard for me as a person.

These days relationships matter.

Respect matters.

Take the time to learn how to get people to say yes the right way. If you’re serious about getting more people to say yes to your email requests, sales pitches, or anything else – simply give them an out.

You’ll be amazed at what will happen.

Learning how to send a proper email is hands down one of the most valuable skills I’ve ever had. It’s led to hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue, incredible experiences, and amazing connections. In fact, it’s so valuable that we built an entire course on how to do it inside Location Rebel Academy. Get access to it by joining us here.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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2 comments on "How to Get People to Say Yes (Using These 4 Secret Words)"

  1. It makes sense. Giving people a guarantee on a product should make them think something is wrong with it, otherwise why would they need a guarantee? And yet, people are much more likely to buy with one.

    1. Liza Davis says:

      I did this intuitively with a handwritten meaasge that I sent to a highly respected thought leader in my field. I happened to be taking a 2 week retreat with him, and had the inspiration to make a big request of him. I made my case and graciously closed that I totally understood if he couldn’t fulfill the request. And that no matter what his response was I would be at peace with his decision. And it came from an authentic place, so I was absolutely thrilled and truly grateful when he fulfilled my request.

      In the end no one likes being forced to do anything. We like to feel free to make the best choice for us at the time! And had that guy given you an out, you may still have said – no for yourself, but might have suggested his services to someone else in the future. Who knows?

      Thanks as usual for your great business insights!

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