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“A Shot In The Dark”

by David Brock on March 19th, 2015

I recently received a prospecting email on LinkedIn entitled, “A Shot In The Dark.”  The individual opened with the usual, “I was looking at your profile, you appear to be the right person…..”

The rest of the email isn’t really relevant, I think I was the “right” person because I’m CEO of my company, I suspected rather than taking “A Shot In The Dark,” he was using a “Shotgun In The Dark.”

But I reflected on the phrase, “A Shot In The Dark.”  I’ve used it a lot, in the past, I’m sure most of us use at least the concept very frequently.  But as I was thinking, it struck me there is really no longer any excuse for taking a shot in the dark.

For the most part, we have the tools and ability to be very pinpointed and purposeful about who we contact.

We know our “sweet spot,” consequently we have a very rich profile of the type of customer (enterprise) and the type of people (personas) that we can help the most.  But this is just the starting point.

We have the research tools to be able to understand the customer (enterprise) very specifically.  For the most part, we can determine their strategies, priorities, how they want to be perceived in the markets.

We probably can understand their business performance (certainly if they are a public company), their relative importance/ranking with their competition.

We can pretty much understand their challenges, issues they might have, opportunities they are missing if we understand their industries, markets, and their business.

Likewise, we have the tools to be able to pinpoint the people we want to go after–if not by name, certainly by function and persona.  But, with a little research through tools like LinkedIn, asking leveraging people we know in the industry, perhaps even in the company.

If they have engaged with us in any way, are on our mailing lists, have requested collateral, are a current customer, we should have much deeper insight into them based on those interactions.

Overlaid on this, we have all sorts of analytic tools that can be leveraged to help better refine our knowledge of the company and the individuals, identifying those with a higher propensity to buy.

We can know the instant someone has asked for something on our website, leveraging that knowledge, contact them within seconds, engaging them in a conversation about something “hot on their mind.”

Most of this isn’t very complicated.  It takes good knowledge on our parts, and a few minutes of research.  The other stuff just makes the whole job much easier.

When you start thinking about it, there is really very little reason to have to “Take A Shot In The Dark.”   Increasingly, we have the ability to be very pinpointed, both in our targeting and very relevant/impactful in our initial conversation.

It strikes me that “Taking A Shot In The Dark,” is an indication of not being knowledgeable, not being prepared, and/or simply not caring.

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  1. David, I got the exact same “shot in the dark” inquiry, through LinkedIn (jeez I hate that LinkedIn is becoming such a haven for spam).

    My reaction is the same as yours: his examples (hundreds of cold-callers per day dialing for dollars) are so distant from my business that I told him, “If choosing me as a potential client for yourself is an example of the kind of work you do in finding leads for your clients, then you must be horrible at it.”

    As you say, there’s no excuse these days for a “shot in the dark.”

    • Hmmmm Charlie, and I was thinking I was special 😉

      As I shared with you privately, I’ve decided to share a 100% guaranteed prospecting letter that everyone can use. I’m licensing it freely, please feel free to cut and paste. It’s best used in its exact form, except, of course, changing the signature block. Don’t be tempted to fill in the blanks, it limits the flexibility of the letter:

      “Dear [Occupant]

      Companies in the [Choose 1: Manufacturing, Financial Services, Professional Services, Retail, Distribution, Oil/Gas] industry have receive tremendous value in working with companies like ours. Based on my extensive research, I suspect you face the following challenges [Check all that apply: Revenue, leads, customer retention, margin erosion, competitive threats, industry/market disruption, controlling costs, recruiting A plyers.]

      We have extensive, in depth expertise in [Name your problem], and can assure that you will see [Name the top 2 results]. We work with the top performers in your industry [Name 2 competitors you respect]

      I hope we can spend a few minutes talking about how we can accelerate your ability to achieve these [Copy the top 2 results from above.]

      Hugs and Kisses, Dave”

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