September 7, 2017

Credit Union Research Call

As long time readers know, I’ve been slowly but surely rolling out an outreach marketing campaign to credit union execs for my mobile consulting business. In my last outreach message to you, I listed two outstanding items:

Here’s an update on each...

Status: Sent out two cold emails to CU CEOs

As expected, I got no reply from either of the CEOs. Cold outreach is a numbers game. You have to send a lot more than two messages before you can expect to get any replies. I’ll send out 20 or so more this week and let you know what happens.

Status: Scheduled a phone call with an ideal buyer

My phone call with “Bob” (not his real name) was scheduled for 1pm ET yesterday.

I called Bob exactly at 1:00 and got his voicemail. This was not surprising to me at all considering that I’m some rando who connected with him on LinkedIn. Not exactly a top priority.

Regardless, I left a polite message in a cheerful tone saying something like:

Hi Bob, Jonathan Stark here. I’ve got us down for a call now. If you get this message in the next 15 minutes, you can call me back on my cell at XXX-XXX-XXXX. Otherwise, I’ll catch up with you later on LinkedIn. Thanks! Bye.

Bob didn’t call back in the next 15 minutes but he did message me a little later on LinkedIn. He apologized and gave a perfectly reasonable explanation.

I don’t like to feel like the “chaser” in a relationship, so I decided not to reply. I put it on the back burner mentally and figured I’d maybe ping him the following day.

A couple hours later, my phone rang. I normally never answer the phone but I recognized the area code for Bob’s city (I used to live there) and picked up. Sure enough, it was Bob calling back.

(ASIDE: The social dynamics at play here are worth mentioning. When I reached out to him initially, he had the power frame because he was doing me a favor. Once he missed our appointment, the power frame shifted to me.)

Bob is an ideal buyer of my services, but it was not my intent to sell to him anything. I was much more interested in picking his brain. I only had about 15 minutes to talk before my next appointment so we got right to it.

To get things started, I described what I was interested in learning from him and why I was interested in it so he would understand my motivations and trust that I didn’t have a secret agenda.

Once Bob understood where I was coming from, I asked my first question. Bob proceeded to brain-dump killer information for what seemed like five minutes.

At one point, he actually got up to close his office door so he could share some stories that he didn’t want his co-workers to overhear.

Basically we totally hit it off. I was scribbling notes furiously. We could have kept going for at least an hour, but I decided to cut it off twenty minutes into my next appointment (i.e. a workout session with my personal trainer, so not the end of the world that I was late).

In summary, I consider this conversation a huge success. Bob validated my primary hypothesis about credit unions, gave me a two great ideas about how to overcome a common objection from credit union leadership, and a solid clue about how to identify credit union CEOs who might be more receptive to my message.

Plus, it was just a fun conversation. We had a lot in common. We connected. It was nice 🙂

I share this because I know that lots of people are repulsed by the idea of sending unsolicited messages to people. They think it’s spammy.

But really, it’s only spammy if you act like a spammer. If you act like yourself, it can be delightful.