The Term ASAP Is More Counterproductive Than You Think


Are you asking too much of potential and existing clients by including the term ASAP in your emails? HubSpot’s Aja Frost believes this phrase is more hurtful than helpful to your cause. Not only does ASAP give an email a demanding tone, it can be vague. Frost points out that your clients probably aren’t on the same schedule as you. So, their perception of ASAP may give them until the end of the week. In reality, you may need whatever you’re asking for within the next few days. You can avoid using ASAP by trying out some of the alternatives Frost recommend in her article, “17 Less Pushy Alternatives to ‘As Soon As Possible’.”

Giving an Exact Deadline

Avoid the potential confusion often accompanied with ASAP by letting your clients know exactly when you need something. You should also explain why you need the client to act by that specific time. That way, the importance of the task will be made clear to the client. Your stated deadline may also give the two of you a shared sense of urgency.

Offering an Apology with the Timed Request

Frost recommends, “I apologize for the urgency, but could you please do this at your soonest possible convenience?” The words “urgency” and “soonest” give off the same intensity as ASAP. However, the apology and stating that the response can be given at the client’s convenience make the request more polite.

Allowing the Client to Put Off Your Other Requests

Sometimes, your newest need leads you to make more than one request of the client. Rather than ask the client to do both tasks at the same time, let them know that this new one should take priority. That way, you're not asking for an unreasonable amount of effort from them.

This is Time-Sensitive”

Overall, this term gives off a more professional air than ASAP. With ASAP, your client doesn’t know if you’re just being impatient with your request. Stating that what you’re asking them to do is time-​sensitive clearly states that there’s a deadline you need to meet, so the request should be a priority for both of you.

Convey that Urgent Requests Aren’t the Norm

I normally wouldn’t ask for such a quick turnaround, but this is the reason I am,” is another approach recommended by Frost. ASAP is used by everyone for a number of reasons. When a phrase is over-​used, the speaker either seems consistently ill-​prepared or the term loses its effect. Pointing out that you’re expecting a quick turnaround when you normally wouldn’t implies your urgency while promising that this kind of thing is not the norm. A one-​off quickly handled task will be approached with less negativity than its counterparts.

Rachel Cagle

Rachel Cagle

Rachel is a Research Analyst, specializing in audience intelligence, at SalesFuel. She also helps to maintain the major accounts and co-​op intelligence databases. As the holder of a Bachelors degree in English from The Ohio State University, Rachel helps the rest of the SalesFuel team with their writing needs.