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NOTABLE! I emailed 40 local organisations asking what their problems and frustrations are

MJ DeMarco

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Thread moved to Sales/Marketing and marked NOTABLE...

I might be in the minority here, but I do believe unsolicited emails work if you demonstrate you HAVE something of value that the other person WANTS, AND you show that your email is personal and not mass-market garbage.

This email does not.

For instance, if you're selling a mystery shopper service, you don't email a restaurant owner and ask to review his company. You just do it and then send him the report. And then maybe toward the end of the report, say, "If you want to hear our recommendations, just message me." For the opening email, I'd title it like, "On my recent visit to [enter rest. name] this was my experience." Think that will get the email opened? You bet.

This demonstrates value and personalization. Is it time consuming? Hell yea, but finding customers is never easy.

In another example, I grew my company via highly targeted unsolicited emails. When I found a client I couldn't service in a particular area, I would message a company in the area, "Need ride from SEA-TAC to Olympia." and then I opened with a FREE lead and an introduction to my service. I gave them value (a free lead, a customer, and maybe hundreds of dollars) with no expectation of a return. But it got me IN THE DOOR.

Some food for thought...
 

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I'm not sure 'ripped off' is the correct wording if you should use something like this :)
Definitely the correct wording.

If someone is getting "ripped off", then it's a pain point.

Once you identify that pain point, you identify an entire big money business you can build around it.

If the pain's not big enough where they think they're "getting ripped off", then the pain's likely not big enough to build a business around.
 

minivanman

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If I were to read an email or any other thing worded like that I would know it was from someone I'd not want to do business with. I'm not sure anyone that I know would do business with them.
 

Mark Byrne

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I wrote up a cold calling method, and it might be of some use to you (or someone else)
Pastebin.com

There's no reason your process won't work, if you implement some of the awesome advice in this thread. Personally, I have found that a natural conversation is the best way to go, in most cases. Also...
  • Try going to businesses, rather than emailing etc. Years ago I started a small IT business, and provided web design to local car sales companies. I waited until it was raining, and then went out and touted for business. 100% of the time, they invited me in, and felt bad about sending me away in the rain. It gave me enough time to get out a full sales pitch, and tell them it was a reduced rate whilst I built a portfolio
  • The best advice I ever got was from an offline marketer that said "Never sell to a prospective client - let them sell it to themselves," and the following sentence was how he got all his business. He essentially went to a company he could actually use (so think; printing companies & ordering business cards, or a fireplace surround workshop & ordering a fireplace mould etc.)... and whilst he was waiting, he spoke with the owner... and asked "How's business?". This is the key question. There's no hard sell, and guarantees a conversation. At some point they will ask you your business - and you can say "I get people more business online" or whatever.
 

AllenCrawley

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If I were to read an email or any other thing worded like that I would know it was from someone I'd not want to do business with. I'm not sure anyone that I know would do business with them.
Why? Why would you not want to do business with them?
 

AllenCrawley

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For instance, if you're selling a mystery shopper service, you don't email a restaurant owner and ask to review his company. You just do it and then send him the report. And then maybe toward the end of the report, say, "If you want to hear our recommendations, just message me." For the opening email, I'd title it like, "On my recent visit to [enter rest. name] this was my experience." Think that will get the email opened? You bet.
Back when I was providing digital marketing services for local businesses I would do something similar. I would create a screencast type video of me navigating their website and explaining areas of improvement and how it could increase foot traffic and or leads. I'd also summarize the video in a pdf. I'd email a link to the page they could view the video and download their custom report. Worked very well.

I also provided promotional videos. I would pick a local business I thought could really benefit and then create a promotional video for them. Let's say the video was 45 seconds long, I would re-edit it to where it would cut off at 20 seconds or so with a splash screen that said something like "Want the full video for "ABC grocery"? Call us directly to unlock the full video." Again, I'd email them explaining a promotional video was created for their business and to visit the link to view it along with a report explaining the benefits of the video, how and where it could be used, etc. This worked amazingly well.
 

Andy Black

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Thread moved to Sales/Marketing and marked NOTABLE...

I might be in the minority here, but I do believe unsolicited emails work if you demonstrate you HAVE something of value that the other person WANTS, AND you show that your email is personal and not mass-market garbage.

This email does not.

For instance, if you're selling a mystery shopper service, you don't email a restaurant owner and ask to review his company. You just do it and then send him the report. And then maybe toward the end of the report, say, "If you want to hear our recommendations, just message me." For the opening email, I'd title it like, "On my recent visit to [enter rest. name] this was my experience." Think that will get the email opened? You bet.

This demonstrates value and personalization. Is it time consuming? Hell yea, but finding customers is never easy.

In another example, I grew my company via highly targeted unsolicited emails. When I found a client I couldn't service in a particular area, I would message a company in the area, "Need ride from SEA-TAC to Olympia." and then I opened with a FREE lead and an introduction to my service. I gave them value (a free lead, a customer, and maybe hundreds of dollars) with no expectation of a return. But it got me IN THE DOOR.

Some food for thought...
^^^ This!

Why do business owners even carry a phone and check their emails at all?

They hope to get a nice juicy enquiry or sale.



I've really enjoyed ringing folks with a lead. I act to all intents and purposes like the big brother of someone looking for a local business. I'm their concierge "Google it for you" service.

"Hi. Are you a blacksmith?"

"Yes."

"Are you in Dublin?"

"Yes!"

"Great. I have someone who's looking for XYZ to be done in ABC location. Is this something you can do?"

...



I've also filled in contact is forms on websites, asking them to ring me because I'm looking for an XYZ in ABC location to do BDE job.

I was amazed so few responded. (Seriously... there's a reason many small businesses are small. SMH.)



What's my perfect subject line?

"Andy, we need your help with our AdWords campaigns." ?

"Andy, where can I buy your course?" ?

What's *your* perfect subject line?
 

Andy Black

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Back when I was providing digital marketing services for local businesses I would do something similar. I would create a screencast type video of me navigating their website and explaining areas of improvement and how it could increase foot traffic and or leads. I'd also summarize the video in a pdf. I'd email a link to the page they could view the video and download their custom report. Worked very well.

I also provided promotional videos. I would pick a local business I thought could really benefit and then create a promotional video for them. Let's say the video was 45 seconds long, I would re-edit it to where it would cut off at 20 seconds or so with a splash screen that said something like "Want the full video for "ABC grocery"? Call us directly to unlock the full video." Again, I'd email them explaining a promotional video was created for their business and to visit the link to view it along with a report explaining the benefits of the video, how and where it could be used, etc. This worked amazingly well.
Clever to link to them. I attached them as PDFs and think they ended up in the spam folder...

I know of someone who'd monitor for when someone was viewing their report and then ring them up.
 

RogueInnovation

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No foreplay here at all

Which suggests you have ZERO ability to back it up.

Your letter says "if you really need to, vent to me your problems, and I will twiddle my thumbs and not know what to do"
Because you haven't yet thought ahead to "how many do I need to respond?" "why do I want them to?" "what will I do with this information?"

You are better off going to a local meetup of businesses or a gathering of any type and getting in a conversation and bringing it up naturally after introductions there "so I'm curious about what you do? (let them talk) and what do you find the most challenging part of operating Xcompany?"

Probably useless to get one or two peoples pain points unless you know the industry and the likely pain points already and have a fix ready to go, or ready to get started. Thusly the email, or phone call (calling is better) should be a sales thing, and come with the same level of conviction and ownership.


AIMLESS QUESTIONS GET NO WHERE
But good questions can be better than answers
Rethink it and redo a better version, learning from your mistake
 

Kid

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"Hi. Are you a blacksmith?"

"Yes."

"Are you in Dublin?"

"Yes!"

"Great. I have someone who's looking for XYZ to be done in ABC location. Is this something you can do?"

...
Andy, is above way of calling successful or is it not like in case of filling form on their website?
 

Andy Black

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Andy, is above way of calling successful or is it not like in case of filling form on their website?
It worked a treat as a phone call.

Hardly anyone responded to filling in website contact us forms. But then, for what I do, I like it as a way of screening out people who wouldn't be able to close leads anyway.

I only tested this a few times mind.

I'm doing neither at the moment as I'm busy with other things. Will focus on both later.


For me, when starting out and finding out what problems people have, I'd rather spend my money on diesel and coffee. Go meet people, one-to-one, and chat with them.

Welcome the high friction at the beginning. It's what sharpens your sword.
 

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minivanman

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Why? Why would you not want to do business with them?
First of all, I never open an email that I don't know the sender. If I didn't inquire, I'm not interested at all. 2nd, if you can't use better language than that, we probably don't have the same goal in common. Why would I be getting 'ripped-off' just because I pay a high price for something? Th seller set their price and I agreed to take it. If I were to write something like this I would word it about how I could get them a better price, not knocking the current company I use. If you knock my current company I buy from then you would probably knock me some where down the road. Funny thing about the business people I hang with..... we talk so dirty on Saturday night that sometimes we can't even finish our own sentence yet when it comes time to talk business, our momma's teached us'in to thunk befour we speaked . Maybe that's part of the reason we have all been so successful.
 
G

Guest92dX

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Cold email works.

You need a focus on a specific industry. You must also hit the checklist. Choose an inflection industry.
 

AllenCrawley

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First of all, I never open an email that I don't know the sender. If I didn't inquire, I'm not interested at all. 2nd, if you can't use better language than that, we probably don't have the same goal in common. Why would I be getting 'ripped-off' just because I pay a high price for something? Th seller set their price and I agreed to take it. If I were to write something like this I would word it about how I could get them a better price, not knocking the current company I use. If you knock my current company I buy from then you would probably knock me some where down the road. Funny thing about the business people I hang with..... we talk so dirty on Saturday night that sometimes we can't even finish our own sentence yet when it comes time to talk business, our momma's teached us'in to thunk befour we speaked . Maybe that's part of the reason we have all been so successful.
Thank you for detailing your reasoning. Much appreciated. I just felt you hadn't taken the opportunity to explain.
 

kelbs

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Welcome the high friction at the beginning. It's what sharpens your sword.
I'm new here and recently read TMF. I've begun a (hopefully) life changing arc from slow lane to fast lane. Right now, I'm trying to notice problems/pain points that I know are in plain sight. I'm also trying to generate business ideas from these problems.

What do you mean "high friction at the beginning"? What do you mean "sharpens the sword"? I'm certainly at the beginning right now so I'm very interested in these things!
 

Andy Black

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I'm new here and recently read TMF. I've begun a (hopefully) life changing arc from slow lane to fast lane. Right now, I'm trying to notice problems/pain points that I know are in plain sight. I'm also trying to generate business ideas from these problems.

What do you mean "high friction at the beginning"? What do you mean "sharpens the sword"? I'm certainly at the beginning right now so I'm very interested in these things!
High-friction means you don’t have it all automated so you don’t speak to your market anymore. Go out and speak to people, one at a time, over a coffee.

Your sword is your skillset, mindset, business, etc. It’s your ability to get things done. It will improve if it’s sharper. It will get sharper when you pound it in the heat and pressure of the smithy. It will get sharper with the high-friction of engaging your market.
 

eliquid

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I haven't read all the posts here, I skimmed them and some touched on what I would say as well.

For me, the main idea is you're a nobody.

Not meaning a nobody loser, but a nobody to the person you emailed.

You basically went for the marriage proposal before you even dated.

You gotta make it hard for people to reject you.

How easy is it to reject a random cold email from a nobody? Pretty easy. Maybe some of your emails never hit their inbox or maybe the person you emailed is on vacation. Maybe only 30% got the email to their inbox at all. You set yourself up for a easy fail and even easier rejection if the email landed in the inbox.

Calling is a bit harder to reject you.

Why? Well you know you called the person and they picked up. Whereas with email the email might be in the spam folder.

Once on the line, you know the person heard you. You don't know if someone even opened the email.

On the phone, you can at least get a few minutes in. On email, they might just delete it.

But here is the kicker ( and also why I talk about domain authority in my SaaS thread here ), you can offer them value as soon as they pick up the phone ( or you meet face to face ).

Find out what they need by just learning about their industry in general.

  1. What common problems come up in their industry? ( research news and reddit and other areas )

  2. What common problems come up in business in general? ( again research )

  3. If they sale products, who are their manufactures/brands they sell and what problems do those companies have? ( research those brands in the news )

People are always willing to buy things that make them money, save them money, and make things easier and faster for them since this can play into making more or saving more money.

If you can find a soft and easy first solution, maybe with advice or training.. you can go for the bigger solution.

Example:
Most business would like to generate more sales online with Facebook. This could be your easy and soft win to a potential client.

Can you help these people do that? Maybe you offer them a quick win here with a 15 min consult free of charge.

They take you up. You go in face to face or on the phone for 30 minutes ( over deliver ) and wow them.

Afterwards, you ask them what other problems they have in their specific business now.

More than likely, they will want to tell you a lot now about their needs that don't include FB ads.

Do this across several people in that industry, and you will find a common theme.

Then you work on that theme.

This works because you gave them something of value upfront. They now feel obligated to return the favor and you just asking them about their needs is a easy pass back for them to return the favor.

They also trust you now because you helped them too, upfront, without any real incentive ( like exchanging money ). You're looked at more like a "value" to them, then some sleazy salesman asking about their problems.

Got it?

It's not hard. Just think a bit more out of the box.

Work yourself into their trust zone. Over deliver. Wow them. Now you ask the question you really wanted to know because you are not a random cold call person now. Take notes and then repeat on someone else until you find the problems you can work on and solve and charge money for.

.
 
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Andy Black

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I haven't read all the posts here, I skimmed them and some touched on what I would say as well.

For me, the main idea is you're a nobody.

Not meaning a nobody loser, but a nobody to the person you emailed.

You basically went for the marriage proposal before you even dated.

You gotta make it hard for people to reject you.

How easy is it to reject a random cold email from a nobody? Pretty easy. Maybe some of your emails never hit their inbox or maybe the person you emailed is on vacation. Maybe only 30% got the email to their inbox at all. You set yourself up for a easy fail and even easier rejection if the email landed in the inbox.

Calling is a bit harder to reject you.

Why? Well you know you called the person and they picked up. Whereas with email the email might be in the spam folder.

Once on the line, you know the person heard you. You don't know if someone even opened the email.

On the phone, you can at least get a few minutes in. On email, they might just delete it.

But here is the kicker ( and also why I talk about domain authority in my SaaS thread here ), you can offer them value as soon as they pick up the phone ( or you meet face to face ).

Find out what they need by just learning about their industry in general.

  1. What common problems come up in their industry? ( research news and reddit and other areas )

  2. What common problems come up in business in general? ( again research )

  3. If they sale products, who are their manufactures/brands they sell and what problems do those companies have? ( research those brands in the news )

People are always willing to buy things that make them money, save them money, and make things easier and faster for them since this can play into making more or saving more money.

If you can find a soft and easy first solution, maybe with advice or training.. you can go for the bigger solution.

Example:
Most business would like to generate more sales online with Facebook. This could be your easy and soft win to a potential client.

Can you help these people do that? Maybe you offer them a quick win here with a 15 min consult free of charge.

They take you up. You go in face to face or on the phone for 30 minutes ( over deliver ) and wow them.

Afterwards, you ask them what other problems they have in their specific business now.

More than likely, they will want to tell you a lot now about their needs that don't include FB ads.

Do this across several people in that industry, and you will find a common theme.

Then you work on that theme.

This works because you gave them something of value upfront. They now feel obligated to return the favor and you just asking them about their needs is a easy pass back for them to return the favor.

They also trust you now because you helped them too, upfront, without any real incentive ( like exchanging money ). You're looked at more like a "value" to them, then some sleazy salesman asking about their problems.

Got it?

It's not hard. Just think a bit more out of the box.

Work yourself into their trust zone. Over deliver. Wow them. Now you ask the question you really wanted to know because you are not a random cold call person now. Take notes and then repeat on someone else until you find the problems you can work on and solve and charge money for.

.
So add value first?


(Rep)
 

nil1982

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I'm just starting out and I have no idea what I should be doing yet. I know that I need to find a problem to solve so instead of sitting back I thought I'd send out some emails to local organisations. I asked taxis, pubs, manufacturing, garages, charities, schools, self storage and construction organisations.

Do you think it is a productive idea? Can you give me feedback on my email?

Cheers.

I'm certainly not an expert, far from that, but didn't you make an extremely broad question? A business may have lots of different areas of problems. You just said you're from the software background. It's not their job to find out how you can help them (and worse it shows you haven't figured out how you can help them, who ants that? People want to spend time with those who CAN help them, not someone who's still figuring out stuff), it's your job. First find out in which areas are you going to help them, and be completely sold on the solution you have for them (Extremely important, till you're sold to a proposition yourself, you'll try half-heartedly, which anyone can detect).

They may have problems in the area of sales, marketing, production, finance, budgeting, fundraising, to name a few. So, narrow it down and tell them what is your area of expertise and why it is a great idea for THEM to take THEIR time and write back to you. They must see a strong value for allotting time for replying to your mail.

Also, it's least likely that someone will want to write about their problems. People resist that bad feeling. So you may rather cold call (Learn from Art Sobczak) and ask them questions (Read SPIN Selling if you haven't).

Understand that they don't owe you any answers unless there is a strong selfish reason for them in doing so. Hone your skills and try again.

All the best. :)
Cheers! Peace!
Niladri
 

ahartley

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Feel like I'm just reiterating what has already been said over and over here, but since I'm focusing my learning in February on deeper learning of Covey's 7-Habits - specifically Habit 1: Be Proactive, I thought this tidbit applied to the conversation:

"Over the years, I have frequently counseled people who wanted better jobs to show more initiative - to take interest and aptitude tests, to study the industry, even the specific problems the organizations they are interested in are facing, and then to develop an effective presentation showing how their abilities can help solve the organization's problem. It's called 'solution selling,' and it is a key paradigm in business success."​

Solution selling - Wikipedia
 

Alper

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Hey @Fab89,

Here are some of my thoughts.

1. Your original email is lacking. Here's why:

Subject: How can I help your organization? (Vague Subject Line)

Note: You want to use a better headline. Make it personalized.

  • For example: SuperPizza, We Can Help You...
Hello _______,

My name is Fab and I live in [my local area].
  • Don't write where you live. Instead, introduce yourself as the company.
  • Example: My name is Fab and I'm from [add company name].
I am looking to become an entrepreneur
I have a background in software development and mechanical engineering.

  • Remove this. Companies want professionals, not beginners.
I was wondering if you would be able to share any problems or frustrations [organization] has at all.
  • Remove this. Do your homework before writing to a company. Instead, present the company's problems.
Example: I see that you have a high bounce rate that's causing a decrease in revenue. My company helps create more traffic. We help optimize websites to keep bounce rates low. (Don't write this. This is just an example.) Of course, you want to keep the writing personalized. Avoid technical jargon.

I'm hoping to find a solution and sharing it with you so you can make a profit or become more efficient.
  • Avoid saying this. This statement tells the reader you have no clue what you're doing. Instead, talk about how your company can help provide solutions to their problem.
Example: Our focus is to help maintain traffic to your site. We help keep bounce rates low. We generate more traffic through referrals. Lastly, we create more long-term clients through our SEO techniques. We can help achieve this for you. You save time and money!
(Don't say this, I'm trying to illustrate a point.)

Maybe there is a better solution with ordering stock or dealing with customers. Please share anything and I will be happy to look into it.
  • The reader may interpret this the wrong way. In their perspective, your company looks lazy. You did no homework (research). Failed to address their pain points and frustrations. You failed to provide solutions to their problems.
2. Do your homework. Here's why:

Before writing to any company, research what kind of company are they.
  • Draw up a User Persona.
Example:
SuperPizza

  • Who: Pizza company with mobile app that guarantees fast delivery.
  • Goals: Their goal is to get subscribers to their app.
  • Frustrations: Customers use the app one time, and don't subscribe. Customers leave the app because of slow delivery time.
~~~~​
  • Solution: Our team at Legend Developers help generate new subscribers and avoid slow delivery times.
  • How: We offer special rewards to help get new long-term subscribers. We use special referral programs subscribers love. Lastly, our new technology helps speed up delivery time.
In summary, these are a few examples. These tips help you get an idea for your next e-mail campaign.

I would suggest reading more about cold-emails.
  • search the forum
  • search Google
  • search Amazon
a few sentences instead of hours of courses, thank you..
 

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NuclearPuma

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Go to places where business owners or representatives may congregate and are selling stuff. Examples:

Food and wine festivals
Boat and car shows
Industry trade shows

A specific example I have is wedding shows. Around a certain time of year there are quite a lot of them in bigger cities. You will find florists, DJs, food caterers, limo services, venue services, wedding planners, etc. All sorts of businesses. Pretend your looking for a friends or family or even your own wedding and ask them about their service. Don't hint that your looking for business ideas. Ask them about their process but as a customer doing due diligence.

You can ask a florist "how long do those bouquets take to make?" Do they ever fall apart" "how do you get them to all stay together." "You must be busy, is it hard to track all of your customers and orders?" "There are so many other florists here, what do you do that I can't get anywhere else?"

You can also talk to all of the people there looking for services and ask them which booths they liked and didn't like and get insights not only into the businesses, but their target customer perspective as well.
 

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40 is just a start of course @Fab89

Try next 40 with the advice given here and see if it's any different.

I haven't read it thoroughly but there are different stats saying that 50% won't open any mails from unknown sources, then another 20% mail address is incorrect but you won't get a bounce mail as a proof etc (stats made up but yes, people don't read mail)... Just keep going daily for a couple of days and see. Leave them time to answer. At least 2-3 days.
 

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From my own experience:

Sending only mail/letter without any personalization: into the trash it goes. Only if there is a very real proposal of making more money and sales that fits my business I might consider looking at it.

Call and give solution offering with free value upfront: might be much more interested, also some personal aspect

Come into my store and show me your results and value: if there is a need you will get my attention definitely, and also make a personal impact.

So, easy to see which time is better spent. Coffee and Diesel ;)
 

Eug .O.

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I think you should first 'give' before you 'take'. Your email gives a 'take' impression
 

ZeroTo100

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Nothing gets you in the door like helping their business before you get them to pay you...like bringing them a paying customer.

Personally, I think the best way to learn true pain points in any market is by actually working for someone in that market. There is absolutely nothing wrong with working for someone in the market and learning the business inside out before you go on your own.
 

ideasunlimited1

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I think the problem OP is that your initial email may be too open ended. A question without any limits can be overwhelming, and business owners don't have a lot of time to sit down and answer e-mails (usually). So maybe start the relationship with asking if they would like to increase their efficiency, or inventory options or productivity, and then work from there. You want it to be something you are passionate about, and it may take finding out where your niche lies.
 

Roli

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I'm just starting out and I have no idea what I should be doing yet. I know that I need to find a problem to solve so instead of sitting back I thought I'd send out some emails to local organisations. I asked taxis, pubs, manufacturing, garages, charities, schools, self storage and construction organisations.

Do you think it is a productive idea? Can you give me feedback on my email?

Cheers.
Big props to you @Fab89!

First for the action you took, you didn't know what to do, but you knew what you wanted and so you drew up a plan and followed it, awesome!

Secondly you posted what you did on here, which has provided a wealth of information for you and anyone else coming across this thread wanting to reach out to businesses and try and solve their problems.

Really good stuff, take time to read through, modify your approach, then report back.

rep ++
 

SD Entrepreneur

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Thread moved to Sales/Marketing and marked NOTABLE...

I might be in the minority here, but I do believe unsolicited emails work if you demonstrate you HAVE something of value that the other person WANTS, AND you show that your email is personal and not mass-market garbage.
I can personally attest for @MJ DeMarco note saying unsolicited emails work if you demonstrate that you have something of value. My business development rep got me a call/demo with a Fortune 500 company that turned into almost 100k of business last year!

As he mentioned, we reached out and included something of value, along with a unique selling proposition(USP) and asked for a call/demo rather than a sale or general input.

Keep at it, I'm not a big cold caller/emailer but when you have a result like that all the "unsubscribe me" and "not interested" replies make it well worth it...
 
Last edited:

Real Deal Denver

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I can personally attest for @mjdemarco's note saying unsolicited emails work if you demonstrate that you have something of value. My business development rep got me a call/demo with a Fortune 500 company that turned into almost 100k of business last year!

As he mentioned, we reached out and included something of value, along with a unique selling proposition(USP) and asked for a call/demo rather than a sale or general input.

Keep at it, I'm not a big cold caller/emailer but when you have a result like that all the "unsubscribe me" and "not interested" replies make it well worth it...
Wow - congrats on the home run!

Whatever insight you might provide will be very much appreciated.

I always deliver very high-quality content as well, but I have trouble getting past the gatekeepers.

Was your success due to a prolonged marketing effort, or do you see it more of being in the right place at the right time; in other words depending on luck somewhat and therefore hard to replicate?
 

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