Sales, cold outreach strategy and getting to “no”

Cold outreach strategy through email

Oh what a week. Time and time again I get reminded about one of the hardest and coolest parts about being a solopreneur or founder of a company. And that is, wearing lots of hats. Some of those hats will fit easily, and others may need a little finessing. For me, developing a cold outreach strategy is one task that didn’t come so naturally. 

I’m waxing poetic about this because I just spent months designing a tech product, then a month or so testing it, then a month or so launching/optimizing it. 

And now will spend a month or so focused almost entirely on sales. If you’re not building your own company, or maybe working at an earlier stage startup, I don’t know where else you’d get this kind of experience – and maybe you don’t want it!

Some people might think it sounds terrible, and to be honest, sometimes it can be.

The reason I say that is because we don’t all love every aspect of business. Even though I love building businesses, and love operations and sales and marketing, I don’t love each and every hat we sometimes have to wear.

Learning to Love Sales

I don’t love prospecting (for outbound sales), and I don’t love bookkeeping, and there are probably a few more.

But that’s part of the grind.

Anyway, sales. An interesting phenomenon, and I think we’re in a pretty good spot because we have a very defined target market.

For our Visto immigration platform, we’re targeting Canadian companies that are willing to hire tech workers from abroad. It’s become way more popular recently – almost a necessity – because of how competitive and expensive tech hiring has been inside the country.

This makes it easier to do outbound sales and marketing because we know who to target.

And it kind of summarizes the two things you should know 100% before you even start to sell:

  1. what are you selling?
  2. who are you selling it to?

If you don’t know those, the rest is just guesswork and won’t be as effective.

Perfecting Your Cold Outreach Strategy

Once you have those figured out, I think the key to sparking a conversation with a cold lead is:

  1. Get right to the point, aka keep it short and sweet
  2. Make your value proposition extremely clear in the subject line
  3. Don’t sound like the rest of the crowd

The best example of what not to do is to sift through your spam folder and find those junk emails from offshore tech solutions companies – you know the ones that send you 5+ paragraphs explaining all of the solutions they can provide, like website/app building, etc.? Cold outreach is not the time to dig into case studies, social proof, and every benefit your product or service can provide. 

Instead, make messages super short (2-3 sentences max) – no one is going to spend much time on cold outreach unless you’re some copywriting wizard.

Make it clear as day, ideally in the first sentence, how you can help them – if what you’re offering is of interest, better chance they respond (and even see it). Ideally, your cold outreach strategy will offer a solution for pain points that your ideal customer experiences. 

And don’t use overly formal, boring sounding intros like everyone else. You’ll increase response rates by keeping your outreach strategy conversational and casual. 

To do this, I like to try and type the same way I would talk. I would never walk up to someone and say “hello sir, I hope you’re doing well. My company is blah blah blah…”

Instead, something quick and casual: “Hey Bob, wondering if you’re struggling to hire tech workers for your Canadian office right now?”

“Hey Sarah, trying to post more social media content but don’t have the time to create it?”

“Hey Gary, feeling a little lonely or lost as a solopreneur and looking for some awesome content to get you through the grind?”

Stuff like that.

Getting Your Potential Client to Say “No”

Remember, cold calls are not always a success story. Not everyone is going to buy from you, but you’re getting to the “yes” or “no” quickly.

I forget where I heard or read that, but your goal in sales should actually be to try and get to “no” asap. If you do it quickly, you know you didn’t waste much time.

And if you get to “yes”, well… that’s awesome!

Anyway, that’s the end of this sales rant and solopreneur blog update. If you enjoyed and, like Gary, need more of my solopreneur content, make sure to sign up for my daily email here.

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