I’ve always had a dream of working at a startup, taking it public, making a boatload of money, and island hopping with friends. So I started working at a series of startups. The profile was always the same. We had great products but no one had ever heard of us.
My job was to generate new sales. Since I had no connections I would go into the office every day and cold call.
I would get a sticky notepad and make cold calls. I would mark down how many calls I made, how many voicemails I left, how many conversations.
I would average 40-50 calls a day. And probably 2 or 3 pickups or live conversations. And some of those pickups were from some very angry people.
“Why do you people keep calling me.” “No I’m not interested, put me on your DO NOT CALL list.”
My good responses looked something like this.
“Oh, I thought you were someone else. No this isn’t a good time. I have another call.”
My owner hired me to generate leads but I felt like a telemarketer calling people at dinner, pissing them off trying to sell them something.
Years later, I was working in New York City making good money, well into six figures. I now worked for a company that had raised $85 million in funding.
But I still had the same problem. I was still trying to find all my own leads, but the pressure had just increased. We had board members, unrealistic quotas. We we were killing ourselves trying to make our numbers.
Every Monday the sales team would have a sales meeting. Our manager would cross examine the reps about our pipelines and the calls we were making. Yelling at us about how we weren’t going on enough meetings.
For seven straight years, whenever I made a cold call, I thought THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY. I hated cold calling feeling like a telemarketer just bugging people and leaving voicemails. I was wasting my time…the companies time and not closing the sales I wanted to. Finally I just said no more, I have to stop calling.
So I started cold emailing instead. I wanted to understand what was the psychology that motivated people so I wrote and tested 15,000 emails. I went on 1,000 sales calls. I read 600 books on psychology, marketing and sales. I tested everything.
The first time I saw the cold emailing system work was from an email to Best Buy. Normally when I wrote companies and I was lucky enough to get a response it was “Bryan, please cease and desist. Please unsubscribe.”
The response from Best Buy was unlike anything I had ever seen.
Hey Suraj! Thank you so much for writing. There’s several different areas where we think you might be able to help Best Buy.
Because of that we’re hoping you can present to the whole team. Every week our marketing group has a team meeting. If possible, we’d love to have you join us.
I’ll be your point person in coordinating the meeting for the team.
Also, if you’re ever in the Minneapolis area we would love to meet in person.
And then I looked at the email. The entire marketing team for North America was cc’d. All seven people.
In three years I went from making $75k a year, being in $55,000 in credit card debt to making $750,000 a year.
I could reach anyone. I closed sales with MasterCard, Bank of America, Home Depot and General Electric.
I taught the system to an assistant, who started doing all the lead generation for me. And I started traveling and taking more time off. I was making 10 times more money working half as much.
All my assistant did was model the process. Want leads without cold calling? So, I advise start-ups to try cold emailing instead of cold calling. What’s your suggestions?