The cold sales tactic that almost worked

I run a startup company. Customers have started paying us - which is great. The “Notification of Payment Received” emails are motivating.

Strangely do you know what else is motivating? People tweeting articles from the company blog.

After spending time writing in-depth about something that interests us. Nothing feels better than seeing someone else get a kick out of it and sharing it with their mates.

It’s free to tweet, and the positive feeling it generates (reciprocity) can be used to make a sale. Here’s the story about how we were almost sold by another company’s outbound sales team.

Hi Owen,

I really enjoyed the SweetProcess article: Why I pay for my own product. It was definitely worth sharing!

I wanted to ask - are you thinking about starting a _____ program for SweetProcess?

If you are, I just wanted to tell you about _____. We provide _____ as a service for web apps. We integrate with _____ systems and deliver a complete drop-in widget. This makes setting up and running a _____ program an afternoon activity and frees up developers to work on core product.

If this sounds interesting please let me know or take a look at

Thank you for your time and have a great week!

Not My Real Name

Customer Success

twitter: _____

I’ve removed the company information, otherwise this is the exact text we were sent. I have to tell you, my co-founder was extremely excited to receive this email. At first glance, it seemed to touch on exactly a problem we’d been discussing internally.

There was a flurry of emails between ourselves as we plotted what to ask them about their product.

What they did right

Generous the sales rep was generous with their time. They looked through our blog archive and found an article they thought was worth sharing.

Followed up they didn’t just tweet and leave it at that. They proactively contacted us with this email to let us know about the tweet.

Kept the email short they respected our time and went straight for the pitch. I’ve fallen into the trap of not wanting to sound too salesy, but seeing it now from the other end, I didn’t mind. I wasn’t tempted to click the “spam” button . The sales rep was clearly talking directly to us with a product that was relevant.

So why no sale?

After some back and forwards with their sales rep, we found their product didn’t do what we wanted. But that’s ok, if it did we would certainly have begun a trial. I don’t feel badly about this company at all, and would recommend them to another startup. That’s a far cry from where my mind goes when I imagine outbound sales. Normally I associate them with negative feelings. A way to burn future business relationships before they’ve even started.

Do some good

Go out of your way to do some good in your customer’s world. It could be a tweet, contributing code to a software project or offering to write about them on your blog. In the early days, when you have zero name recognition, the most important thing is to get yourself in front of potential customers and make the pitch.