The cold call.
What do you want to happen as a result of the approach? Ideally, you want to help their business grow and get paid for doing so. They win, you win.
But how do you make a cold approach? How do you initiate a conversation with no introduction? How do you make someone see that you can help them and that you’re worth their time, energy and money?
Here’s how not to do it: send them a three sentence email saying you want them to pay you to do some work for them.
That’s too impulsive. You need to put on a show. It’s like dating. You don’t jump straight to intercourse. There are established rituals and processes. You can flout and twist some of them, but not all. So what to do instead?
The first step is to prepare. That means learning about the company or individual. The people involved. Their history. Where they’re headed in the future. It means learning about the services and products they offer and how they compare to the competitors in their industry. It means doing an analysis of their strengths and weaknesses. Determining what opportunities are available to them and what they’re under threat from.
The second step is to take all the knowledge gained in the preparation and ask: “How can I help? What can I do to enhance their strengths, mitigate their weaknesses and make them money? Why should they listen to what I have to say and consider what I have to offer?”
The third step is to think about the reciprocation bias. You’re trying to create a debt. You want to give them something of value. Something they can use immediately, and without them having to pay you anything. Something they cannot refuse. Give them something great, for free.
Then, after you’ve figured out those first three steps, write the email.
It doesn’t have to be a wonder. Just tell them who you are and what you do. Demonstrate your knowledge of the work they do and the problems they might have. Then explain how your service/product slots into their gameplan, and how it can be used to their advantage.
I know, that’s a lot of work. Which is why nobody does it. But because nobody does it, people notice even more when someone goes to such unusual lengths to pitch their product or service.
An additional consequence of going so far beyond the average? The recipients of your efforts will talk to others. Even if they decide they don’t need what you’re offering right now.
If you go through this process for enough of your target market, do you think you’re going to turn some heads?
Do you think your relentless, rigorous and generous approaches will pay off down the line?