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Cause and effect: no customer research, no sales

Cause and effect: the cost of getting it wrong

I’m going to share a story today, about what happens when you don’t do any research with your tribe.

If you’ve had a chance to watch the interview I gave to Ophi of Astro Twins earlier this week, you’ll know I promised it would be on this week’s blog.  If not, go check it out, it’s the best 30 minutes you’ll spend this week! 

The post is more focused on service based businesses and the kinds of things you could be asking when doing research.

If you’re a product based business, carry on reading as all information (that’s free) is helpful.

More often than not, when you’re doing or not doing something that isn’t really a great idea, one of two things tend to happen. You’ll either see the effect by nothing happening, or people will tell you you’re doing something wrong.

You generally don’t find yourself in a position where you get to understand why it’s gone wrong or how you can fix it.

I’m going to try to include more examples of good and bad, and break down what’s happening. In the next week, I’ll set up a form so if you’ve got something you’d like me to look at, (yours or someone else’s) I’ll deconstruct it for you.

Long story short, some dude sent me an email that creeped me out and was so utterly tone deaf I had to say something.

Cold calling

For those of us who are in a service based business, cold calling can often be the way we go about getting clients. The thought makes me shudder because it’s one thing I like least – mainly because I worry that I say something that upsets someone else, or the dreaded “professional ghost” (a topic for another day).

So I do understand the lengths people will go to, to get business. Fair play that they’re trying.

However, if you’re going to cold call someone it’s always a good idea to understand if they’re the kind of person or business you’d like to work with and why.

But more importantly, it can help you to establish the language that you could and should use with your audience.

Or as I like to say “check your creep at the door”.

Exhibit 1 - aka “oh dear god no, what have you done”

I noticed that someone had clicked on the email button in my Instagram profile a few times and couldn’t put my finger on who had contacted me.

This Sunday just gone, I finally worked it out. It had been sitting in my Spam folder.

FYI Google uses algorithms in the language of content to detect when an email is considered Spam. There are also global blacklists that domains sit on. No idea what category this fell into but I trust Google with its accuracy on this.

I remember scanning the first of the two previous emails from the sender, deeming it, well, spam, I binned it. The second I binned without reading. No idea why I stopped to read this one, but let’s just say red mist moment occurred.

I did start to send the a reply, but stopped myself and felt it was a teaching moment.

And here we have the email in question (sender’s name removed because, well I’m not going to publically out and shame them, but I do want to show why this isn’t good).

Ah. Where shall we begin.

Assumption is the mother of all fuckup. I kinda like this more than it making an Ass out of U and Me because, well, that’s just making me flat out cringe.

The issue I’ve got with it (other than the last sentence but I’ll get to that), is that it doesn’t tell the sender any of those three things. Had they taken the time to understand their audience, they’d know how to communicate.

One of the things that doing research with your tribe gives you, is an understanding of how they talk. 

You can also ask the the following types of questions:
What’s the best kind of email you’ve had from a brand?
If I were to contact you to ask you to work with me, what kind of messaging should I be using?
How do you normally respond to people who cold contact you to work with them?
Angels Playing Skittles - Cold Calling Email
Exhibit 1 - the offending email

Notice how these questions are phrased in a way that allows you to get more information out of someone. I call them passion statements, mainly because one way or another the person you’re talking with is going to get into a passionate response about them.

Understanding what works and what doesn’t work for you is just going to make your life easier.

We all have triggers, things that we melt into or red mist over. Understanding these will help you.

It also helps you with things like what language to use, what you might need to explain and what you should absolutely avoid.

What was so wrong about that email

What was so wrong about that email? The last sentence.

The person sending it has assumed that we have an established relationship, or a personal one. Reading it actually made me shudder.

It is, quite literally the kind of thing that I’ve sent when I’m being ghosted by someone, but never in a business sense. It felt like they were being a stalker.

I think the simple point here, is that had they spoken with or understood their audience, that creepy stalker shit tonality is so far the other side of the #MeToo movement it might as well be wearing spatz.

Kudos to the guy (yes, it was a guy) for trying to get business that way.  But I suspect they wrote a bot that scraped email addresses from businesses that met certain criteria then autogenerated an email.  It’s spam, like Google says, and I don’t really make a habit of responding to it.  It was impersonal and just plain wrong for the audience he’s targeted. 

The moral of the story is this, use research to be the difference.

A footnote on cold calling and reaching out for help

There is a footnote to this, I know how exceptionally hard it is to approach a business to ask for help when you’re starting out. So far I’ve been ghosted by two very well known “we’re here to help women and support the community” ladies (so ironic it’s redonk).

I also recently unfollowed a well established British influencer for posting in her instagram story that if someone reaches out to her and says “I need help…” that she would “rinse you”. It sat very heavily on my heart, and made me sad for all the women who might have felt shamed by it. 

I have a fair amount of PTSD when it comes to asking people for help. It’s not the needing of help or asking for it. It’s the worry that I’ll be made to jump through hoops, shamed or humiliated for having asked. That has happened to me more times than I can mention.

So if you’re a business that’s starting out, or maybe you’re not but you’re stuck and you reach out to me asking for help, I will listen. I will not rinse you. I may not always be able to help, and if you can afford it, I will charge you for my time, but everyone needs a hand sometimes.  BUT! I will do what I can to help, and I will do my very best not to ghost you, even if it’s a polite reply to say I can’t help. 

If you do need help with something I’m an expert in, pop along to the contact page and fill out the form.


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