A few months ago I was talking to my friend Tony, a video producer. He said his business was going well but he’s relying too much on his former company referring him business and has no idea how to generate business for himself. Since I am interested in marketing and selling, I told him I would market his services for him with a 30% cut. He agreed.
I started off as clueless as he was. I knew that marketing required segmenting the population, and really zoning in on the target niche. However, almost anyone with a product or service could benefit from video production. My assumptions were that those who demanded video production services didn’t need much convincing, but I had no idea how to find these people.
I posted in Sebastian Marshall’s community section and someone commented that while he (the commenter) was working as a web developer, clients told him that they needed these services. This gave me an idea.
I could target the middleman, the people whose clients may demand my services: marketing agencies, graphic design agencies, and web development agencies.
Lucky for me, I had already located an example email script. I pulled the email script from Ramit Sethi’s book, “Finding Your First Profitable Idea” and tweaked the wording.
Next, I found all the targeted middlemen from Yelp in Santa Barbara—there were 20—and emailed them. Two weeks later I had about 5 email responses with 2 who were interested, and meeting one on the phone. The phone call turned out well, although I did not expect her to ask so many detailed questions.
These were not the results I expected from my very first attempt at selling. I did not expect anyone to be interested, and I especially did not expect the “Thank You for reaching out to us” email replies. This makes sales seem almost rewarding.
Yet there is still a long way to go. After all, I did not close any sales or see any cash. But this definitely gives me an idea of what to expect from my efforts, and questions for improvement.
I think the main lesson here is to not underestimate the power of cold emails. Those contact forms may seem detached, and you may think no one in the company bothers to check the email@example.com email account, but one out of four do.
For the next stage, I will need to know:
1. How to send great follow up emails
2. How to identify client’s needs and address them during a phone meeting
3. How to prompt a client to meet me in person or on the phone.
4. What is the best CRM for my needs
Excellent! You took action- that's the critical step. With regards to your post, there's a reason why like 90% of all emails in this day and age are still spam... it works. My friend set up a for-profit honor society one day, blasted 20,000 emails, and walked away with $6k after 2 weeks.
A year and a half ago I was invited to sit at a workshop and be a guest expert at a conference. The event was Hardware Con, and because I had just been invited briefly before, and have never been a “guest expert”, I had no idea what to expect. So, because I had no idea what to expect, I didn’t think much of it until I got there. While sitting in the room 5 minutes before our workshop session started a small feeling of anxiety began to creep into me.
Thoughts popped up like: What kind of answers would I give that would even be helpful to these guys? Am I gonna tell them what camera to buy or what the difference between a grip and a gaffer? Would it benefit them for me to give feedback on the videos they’ve made?
Nothing out of the ordinary happened. They didn’t ask me questions that we’re related purely to the technical aspects of video production as I had initially worried about, but instead asked me to give feedback on some video ideas or to give feedback on their video strategy. This is all good and logical enough, but for some reason I felt like the advice I could in this domain wasn’t enough and wanted to give higher level advice, so I asked them about their overall marketing and what their funnel looked like. This was 2014, mind you, and internet marketing was still somewhat an obscure thing to learn, and because I was so interested in it at the time (still am) I felt like there was a lot I could give input on.
As so, when I transitioned the conversation to talking about internet marketing, things started to go south. People started getting uninterested and confused. One person even felt provoked by his skepticism and and asked, “Wait, what expert are you a field of again?"
August 11th, 2011. Chiba, Japan.
A mix of confusion and awe as I step off the platform.
I must have made a mistake. But maybe a good mistake.
Birds caw and cicadas click gently, filling the warm afternoon air with sounds of nature. The train platform is open to the air and on the other side of the tracks is a high fence. Beyond it, a bicycle and walking path leading to a park.
Children are running around and playing in the park, but surprisingly quietly. Very Japanese.