I received an email from a networking acquaintance. It said that “due to another cancellation/reschedule” she had an opening for an appointment that evening. This was a mass email sent to everyone on her list. How do I know that? I’m not a customer. While we’ve met at a few events, I have never once used or expressed interest in her service.

This isn’t the first email of this kind I’ve received from her or from others. I also see similar posts on facebook. I want you to really look at what this person was saying in her email. She has told me that, apparently, people are cancelling or rescheduling her services frequently. This makes it seem like (1) her services aren’t that important, (2) it’s okay to cancel or reschedule since others are doing it, and (3) she’s desperate to fill the spot. I know that’s not the impression she wants to convey.

Yes, those of us in direct sales or personal services experience cancellations and rescheduling. After all, life happens. There’s nothing at all wrong with contacting customers/hosts/etc to try to fill a suddenly open date or time. The trick is to avoid sounding desperate or despondent. My acquaintance could have done this by targeting her email to her steady customers (especially someone who was trying to get an appointment as soon as possible). She also could have worded it differently. “I find myself with an unexpected opening this evening” sounds much better than “due to another cancellation/reschedule.”

Before you send an email or post a facebook status about filling an opening, try reading it from the recipients’ point of view. If it could in any way be read as desperate, change it. If it’s not specifically targeted to an appropriate audience, adjust the recipient list. Desperation is not a good sales strategy.

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