Be Useful

What would happen if you people stopped cold calling and started being useful for a change?

I was sending an email to a prospect recently when it struck how different what I do is from what I receive in my inbox or get over my phone. You know the drill:

ME: Hello, this is Bob Knorpp
THEM: Hello? Is this Mr. Bob Krop.
ME: I already said this is Bob KNORPP

THEM: Oh, hello Mr. North. Do you have a few minutes to talk...


There's nothing quite like a cold call to say, "I have no interest in knowing anything about you until you say you're willing to spend money with me."

But how different that call becomes when it works like this:

ME: Hello, this is Bob Knorpp

THEM: Hi, Mr. Knorpp, this Tim Dunst. I'm so glad I reached you. I do a lot of competitive research on the digital space, since my company sells email analytics. And I came across a story that has a lot to do with podcasting's role in marketing. Not sure you'd be interested, but I'd love to pass along the link.
ME: I'm not really in the market for email analytics at the moment.
THEM: That's okay. I figure if I can help you now, maybe when you do need something you'll call. But seriously, there's nothing attached to this. Just thought you'd be interested.
ME: Okay then, sure. I'll take a look at the link. Here's my email.

I don't need to point out all the advantages here, do I? Research on me, interest creation, relationship building — this approach does it all. And no, he didn't get the sale. But how many cold calls are immediate sales? What he got was almost as good. He planted the seeds of relationship and moved me quickly out of the cold call wasteland into the qualified prospect arena.

Which all brings me to my real question: Why doesn't marketing do more of this across the board?

We have the ability to get that granular with our targeting if we want to. Not always, but we can at least incorporate it somewhere in the plan. And we have the ability to message individuals more personally — at the very least we can bucket them in groups and make the message relevant to their psychographics in equal proportion to their demographics. And we have the creativity to make our offers on long-lead sales more about usefulness to needs today, rather than just pushing for a signed contract.

I've said it many times before — go for the little "Yes." Give them something they can say yes to today and then keep them on the yes trail. That's how marketing delivers better leads to sales and how sales delivers signed contracts to accounting. It all starts with how useful you are to me today.

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