Sorry For Randomly Reaching Out...

I'm skimming through my inbox. I opened an email that I knew was going to be a prospecting email, but I chose to read it anyway since it had passed all of my filters. I got through the first two sentences:

"Hello David,

I hope everything is going well for you! We apologize for contacting you at such an inopportune time."

I came to a halt there, putting the email in my spam box to prevent further contact.

The issue is that we can never prospect at random. However, the majority of what I see is a random outreach based on someone guessing my email, phone number, or social networks.

At the very least, this person was forthright in his letter, admitting that it was completely random. He hadn't done any planning or research. He hadn't given any thought to what I may be interested in or what would pique my curiosity.

Prospecting must be strategic and focused. If it isn't, we're squandering our time, the time of our targets, and whatever brand/personal equity we may be attempting to build.

Why would a completely haphazard approach be likely to have results? Why would we spend even a fraction of a second thinking about it?

Unfortunately, I believe we do not devote enough thought time to these outreach efforts. We have millions of emails, millions of phone numbers, and social media allows us to contact anybody we want.

We also know that if we submit items in bulk, we may only receive a 0.0001% response rate. So, if we send out enough materials, we may receive a few leads–but not customers.

There are certain individuals that get a lot of responses from their prospecting. One of my friends gets at least a 50% response rate from every prospecting outreach he sends out.

What makes their work stand out? What drives them to generate the outcomes they do?

We have the answers, but we don't listen to them.

They don't do anything at random. Every outreach is well-intentioned and well-targeted.

These individuals concentrate on their ICP–the people and organizations most likely to be affected by the problems that these prospectors address. The substance of these outreaches is carefully tailored to topics that are very likely to pique the attention of the target prospects.

The prospectors' outreach is always on the problems they encounter, never about the goods they offer.

They understand that their targets are inundated with data, some of it valuable. They recognize that in order for these outreaches to be read and responded to, they must stand out and be unique.

It's really very simple, since their "competition" for prospects' attention is essentially everyone else's random outreaches. As a result, their focused and intentional outreach stands out, with a focus on the consumers and their interests rather than selling their goods.

Nothing I've said in the preceding paragraphs is new; we already know the answers. To be honest, I'm sick of sounding like an echo chamber and writing the same thing over and over again.

I read dozens of books, see hundreds of other articles, and attend well-attended webinars where the same ideas are addressed.

We, on the other hand, constantly fail to pay attention. We fail to perform the effort that leads to success for reasons I don't understand, instead choose to do things we know don't.

These individuals who are serious about their outreach never brag about sending thousands of emails, making thousands of phone calls, and so on. They understand that if they put in the effort, it will pay off.

We don't know what we're doing if we're conducting random, unfocused outreach. Is that how we want people who receive our outreach to remember us?

This isn't good enough for us! We must be able to do better!

Thanks to Dave Brock at Business 2 Community whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.

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