Are You Distinguished?

man talking on the phone

Between messages relating to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, my inbox has been very crowded. What have I done with all these emails?

Likely the same thing as most of you. I put checkmarks in the little left-hand boxes and hit delete.

Most of the companies that put time and effort into these emails are choosing the volume approach to reaching a customer that will spend money. Sometimes referred to as the “spray and pray” method, it involves a minimum effort to create a quick interaction with someone who may become a repeat customer.

But what if, in addition to attracting an immediate sale or donation, you also want to cultivate a loyal customer or donor? How might you make this happen?

While my inbox overflowed, I was inspired to go back to a 2018 blog post by Seth Godin. In writing about the spam approach, he suggests this alternative:

“Invest far more in each interaction than any rational human would advise. Do your homework. Invest more time in creating your offer than you expect the recipient will spend in replying to it. Don’t personalize, be personal. Create an imbalance of effort and care. Show up. Don’t spam, in any form.

The thing is, people can tell. And they’re significantly more likely to give you an interview, make a donation, answer your question or do that other thing you’re hoping for if you’ve signaled that you’re actually a caring, focused, generous human.”

In other words, distinguish yourself from the crowd. The word ‘distinguish’ comes to us from 1560s French and Latin and means “better known than others in the same class, separated from the generality by superior abilities, character or achievement”. In a crowded inbox, you definitely want to be “separated from the generality”.

One way to do this is … add a phone call. Don’t concern yourself with whether you reach the individual or not. Leaving an energetic voicemail will do. Use the sound of your voice to let your prospects know you are not a bot, that you are truly interested in them, and that your approach is personal.

In this voicemail, let the prospect know that they don’t need to call you back, that you are also sending an email and they should look for you in their inbox.

The addition of this simple action is helping my clients across numerous industries reach more prospects and clients, and build stronger relationships.

As I sorted through the backlog of emails these past few days, I did respond to one. I organized my donation to Feed Nova Scotia on Giving Tuesday. I did this not because of the content of their message but because they were going to be one of my corporate donations this year anyway. And I was pleased that my donation would be doubled by their large corporate sponsor.

As I completed my online donation, I wondered about all the charities that sent me messages. How might their results have improved by making a few phone calls to select prospects and donors? I know their numbers would have improved. And it is the same for you and the results you want to achieve.


Closing a sale is the natural outcome of inspiring great conversations and listening intently to our potential customers.

This natural approach still involves a process – a plan that moves potential customers through a journey of discovery with you. So ... what's your process? And am I the right sales coach for you? Let's find out.

2 thoughts on “Are You Distinguished?”

  1. Another great tip! Thanks for sharing Mary Jane. And I love how you share the origin and meaning of specific words. Always a joy! Thank you!

    • Thank you, Nicole. It is quite fun to find out where words come from and the deeper reason why they impact our communication with each other and with our customers.


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