I’m used to having unpopular opinions – and this may be one of them. BUT – I’m not sure that people don’t like the idea of cold outreach because they don’t want to do it or because they really don’t believe that works.
Cold Outreach is part of doing business today
I think it’s a misunderstanding of what cold outreach is and what it looks like in your business that perpetuates that idea that “cold messages” are bad.
As someone with a Director title in the Corporate world, I get endless phone calls and emails that are cold. Most of them are done poorly, therefore I don’t respond. If it’s done well, and something that our business can use or might benefit from – I will engage.
What is Cold Outreach
You’ve gotten ads on Facebook for people you’ve NEVER heard of then joined their email list, joined their Facebook group, and jumped on their free webinar. That was cold outreach.
- You’ve received email marketing from Old Navy or Ulta offering you a discount on a product or service. Cold outreach.
- You’ve gotten a piece of direct mail with the 99 cent queso at you local Mexican restaurant. Cold outreach.
- You’ve posted in random Facebook groups with meaningful, thoughtful posts that speak directly to your target audience. Cold outreach.
- You’ve traded messages with a networking contact on LinkedIn and asked them to grab coffee. Cold outreach.
I could keep going.
For your business to be successful – you have to sell stuff. To sell stuff – you have to talk to people. And to sell stuff without spending A TON of money – you have to talk to people you don’t know. COLD OUTREACH.
Are you with me?
Now, here’s where it gets good. Sending someone you’ve never met, never interacted with, and know nothing about a cold message that is totally out of context and without doing any research on the person – is BAD. Don’t do that. That’s the kind of cold outreach that people don’t like. That’s why they say that they just can’t handle cold outreach in their business. Because that’s what they’re envisioning.
That is yucky. It feels gross. People don’t like getting those messages and most of them either ignore them or say something nasty.
How do you do it right?
Do a little research. Check out the person, Like a few of their photos. Go to their Facebook business page. Comment on a post with a genuine, thoughtful comment – NOT an emoji. THEN – send a message that is about THEM and not you.
Hey Sarah, thanks for connecting. I checked out your profile and your business page – it looks like you do amazing work. Tell me more about you – how did you get into health coaching?
That kind of cold outreach is MUCH better received. It probably feels way, way better to send, too.
The key is to “warm-up” your cold outreach
Learn a little bit more about them and personalize the message. Whether it’s asking about their business by name or complimenting their beautiful cover photo. I’ve asked people how to pronounce their name. Just start the conversation
One woman emailed me and complimented my shirt in my profile picture. I thanked her, checked out her profile and business page and now interact with her content online. Am I going to buy something from her – I don’t know. But I am now in her “eco-system” – which is what most of us are hoping for.
You have heard me say this a million times. We do business with people we know, like, and trust. We have to pull them into our world for that to happen.
Whether it’s a thoughtful message, a compliment, or a comment on a post – people will notice you. They will likely go check you out, too. And, if they like what you do – will start to interact with you and your brand.
All from cold outreach.
This approach takes time, yes. It takes a lot of attention to detail in checking your Facebook or Linkedin messenger and responding to messages. It takes follow up and small talk. But it’s way, way faster and less expensive than ads.
The best way to connect with people online is the same way you would in person. When you meet someone new at a cocktail party – how do you start the conversation? It’s probably not by asking them to grab some time on your calendar, right? So don’t do that online.
Also, you wouldn’t just start talking about yourself without asking any questions, right?! And you certainly wouldn’t assume you know anything about them and start pitching.
Ask questions. Show interest. Be human.
That’s how it works. Whether it’s an email, LinkedIn message, FB message, Insta DM or a phone call. Connect with people like a human. That’s it.
Is it scary? Sure. No one likes being rejected. No one likes being told to go fly a kite. It happens. And I’ve shared before – almost always more about the other person than it is about you.
To be honest, I get significantly more people who don’t respond than those that do with a nasty response.
A Few Final Notes, friend.
Do not send 3 messages a day and email me in 2 weeks and tell me it’s not working. Just like Facebook ads or email marketing – it’s a volume game. You have to reach out to quite a few people to start conversations. Everyone’s number is going to be different. My goal is to 20-40 people, 5 days a week. I connect across LinkedIn, FB, and Insta. That is what works for me.
I do use “templates.” I have a few talk tracks and messages saved in Trello and will copy and paste into messenger. Here’s the KEY to that. Even if the bulk of the message is templated – do something to personalize every. Single. Message. You. Send. Got it?!
I try to respond to all messages within a day or two. It was overwhelming at first and I found myself struggling to keep up with the messages. I finally realized that the world wasn’t going to end if I didn’t respond to every message immediately. That helps.
I often sit down, set a timer, and start returning messages, sending news ones, and connecting. I aim for an hour or so each day. It flies by and by the end, I’ve talked to quite a few people. Do all of them buy from me, join my Facebook group, and opt in to my list? No. But, I never know if they will someday OR if they know someone that needs a Sales Coach.
It doesn’t have to be scary. It doesn’t have to feel gross. It can feel just like you’re starting a conversation at a Cocktail Party or Networking Event. As always, put yourself in the “buyer’s” shoes. If you wouldn’t like it – don’t do it.
And let’s be honest, none of us mind a thoughtful message that is personalized to US, that mentions our business by name, and gives us the opportunity to talk about ourselves. Do we?