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How to: Direct Outreach Approaches that can Scale Your Business into the Six Figures

For early stage startups that sell a high ticket product/service, direct outreach is by far the most reliable way to consistently generate a pipeline for your business.


Creating content and investing in paid forms of advertisement isn’t the best use of your money and more importantly your time in the beginning. This is because you need a deep understanding of the psychology of your prospects in order to create content that converts.


The only way to get this understanding is by closing and working with customers in your niche. The best way you can do this before investing in ads is through direct outreach.

Don’t think of this as a means to an end however. Direct outreach methods should remain a part of your sales process even when you have automated forms of lead generation (paid ads).


It will also be important for you learn these strategies so that you can:

  1. Support Your Business: The majority of small businesses fail because they can’t generate enough revenue to keep themselves afloat. The reason for this is usually because founders tend to focus too much on product development and not enough on generating revenue in the early stages. Direct outreach is the most reliable way to make sure your business has the runway you’ll need for you (and your team) to develop the product.

  2. Achieve Scale: Direct outreach strategies can be automated if you have enough budget to hire a sales team. However you shouldn’t be hiring anybody until you’ve got a repeatable and learnable sales process that you know will produce results. Never expect to hire sales reps who will “figure it out themselves.” Hiring too early can result in the loss of tens of thousands of dollars, crippling your early stage company. Know this process like the back of your hand before you ever think of hiring a single rep, this will be the key to building a successful sales team.

When it comes to selling a high ticket product/service there are 5 different approaches that you can use to target your prospects:

  1. Cold Emailing

  2. Social Selling

  3. Cold Calling

  4. Video Outreach

  5. Gifting

Now we’ll get into the pros and cons to help narrow down what will work best for your business…


Cold Emailing


Emailing is by far the most common form of direct outreach. This approach is best if you’re selling a product/service B2B as email scraping tools were created to capture business addresses (not personal addresses).


Cold emailing is popular because it’s still extremely effective. Utilizing this channel can result in generating enough leads to close $30K or more per month per sales rep (3-5 deals).

You might want to reconsider using cold email strategies if you’re targeting a small niche (less than 300 accounts). If this is the case you can still find success with a more targeted/personalized approach, but you’ll probably find more success with LinkedIn social selling methods. Particularly if you learn how to utilize SalesNavigator to its full potential.


Advantages

  • Efficiency: In terms of direct outreach strategies, emailing is by far the fastest way to reach the most people in the shortest amount of time. That is because you can invest in tools that will automate the majority of the process for you. With these tools in place you can touch up to 100 people per day while only having to spend 25-30 minutes (or less) adding new contacts to sequences. You’ll struggle to achieve similar levels of output with any other form of direct outreach.

Disadvantages

  • Competition: The main disadvantage of email is that you’re going to be competing for attention with all the other messages in their inbox, including inter-office + personal messages. Unfortunately this means that a lot of the emails that you’ll send out won’t get opened. There are a few things that you can do to increase your open rate such as including your prospects name in the subject line, which can improve your chances by over 25%.

  • Pricey: Setting up automated email sequences can be more expensive than other direct outreach methods. It’s going to cost you $1-2.5k in order to gain access to the software you’ll need to run automated sequences.

Social Selling


This is the most complex approach out of all of the other direct outreach methods. Social selling is all about finding, engaging, and reaching out to prospects primarily on LinkedIn and Facebook.


The reason why social selling can be complex is because there are dozens of ways in which you can target your nice using social platforms. Not all of these methods are going to work depending on who you’re targeting and you can waste a lot of time trying to find an approach(es) that works.


Utilizing LinkedIn is best if you’re selling B2B. Using Facebook is best if you’re selling B2C but can also work for certain B2B companies as well depending on the niche.

Social selling can be very effective, depending on your niche utilizing this channel can result in tens of thousands of revenue closed per month. I’ve seen sales reps bring in as much as 70k MONTHLY utilizing certain social selling strategies.


Advantages

  • Efficiency: Similar to cold email methods, social selling allows you to touch a lot of prospects in a short period of time.

  • Brand: The key to scaling past six figures into the seven figures is building a strong brand. Social selling allows you to begin building a reputation with your niche.

  • Cheap: If cold email is too pricey for you then reaching out on linkedin via direct message is a great alternative. You can find linkedin automation tools that cost a fraction of what it will cost you to build automated email sequences.

Disadvantages

  • Long Term Strategy: It can be difficult to get results with social selling straight out of the gate, as it will take time to build content that your niche engages with.

  • Limited Options For Automation: Most social selling tasks have to be done manually, as there aren’t a lot of options out there for automation. There are a few software tools available to you if you do the research but they can be hard to find and have a tendency to get shut down for violating terms of service.

Cold Calling


You’ve likely heard the phrase “cold calling is dead”, there is some truth to this statement.

The main downside to cold calling is how time consuming it is. Simply put, there are more efficient ways to reach out to your niche.


Also depending on who you’re targeting, finding phone numbers can be difficult. This is particularly true if you’re selling into small businesses and/or tech companies.


With all that being said this approach can still be a reliable way to generate leads for your business.


Cold calling should always be mixed into email sequences. Most of your success will come from focusing your calling on engaged prospects, these are prospects who have read your emails.


Advantages

  • Giving You A Chance To Convince: Cold calling is a conversational approach, it gives you the chance to talk directly to your prospects and change their mind. You won’t get much of an opportunity to do this with other forms of direct outreach.

  • Build Familiarity: Just because someone doesn’t buy now doesn’t mean that he/she won’t in the future. Having conversations with your prospects will give you the opportunity to begin to build a relationship with them, making them more receptive later down the line.

Disadvantages

  • Inefficient: There are other methods you can use to reach out to your niche that takes significantly less time and effort.

  • Emotionally Draining: Dealing with rejection on the phone is difficult. It can leave you drained and take away from everything else you have to do during your day.

Video Outreach


Video outreach should be reserved only for high priority prospects. These are individuals that you know will be a good fit for your product/service.


You’ll find the most success with your videos by sending them via LinkedIn direct messenger. Videos have a much higher chance of being seen here than if you send them over email.

ViewedIt by Vidyard is a free tool that you can use to record yourself. Remember to keep your videos between one to two minutes in length.


Advantages

  • Personalization: Video messages are perhaps the most personalized form of direct outreach you can send. Messages that are personalized have a higher chance of being responded to positively than messages that are templated.

  • Engaging: Prospects will not be able to resist watching a video that was made specifically for them. This approach tends to have a high engagement rate.

Disadvantages

  • Time Consuming: It’s difficult to film and send more than 10-20 videos per day, make sure you reserve this for high priority prospects.

  • Awkward In the Beginning: Your first few videos are going to be uncomfortable to create. If you keep at it however eventually you’ll be able to iron out all the ums, ahs, and awkward silences.

Gifting


This is a strategy used primarily for B2B companies looking to break into larger enterprise accounts. Sales reps will use gifting to get their foot in the door with decision makers at these organizations, as they tend to be difficult to get a response from via traditional outreach methods.


Sending a gift will help you stand out from all the other sales reps that are clamoring for your prospects time. When done correctly this approach has a massive ROI, I’ve seen gifting bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in closed revenue per quarter.


I recommend reserving this for your top 10-20 hard to reach prospects every quarter.

Make sure that you’re certain that the individuals who will be receiving your gifts are the primary decision makers before planning what you’re going to give them. Gifts that I’ve seen work:

  • UberEats gift cards ($25)

  • Edible Arrangements ($15-25)

  • Box of donuts ($10-20)

Advantages

  • Low Competition: Sending a gift will help you stand out from the crowd of other sales reps asking for your prospects time. Gifting campaigns tend to have the highest positive response rate (booking a meeting) out of all of the other direct outreach methods.

  • Triggering Reciprocity: Gifting works because it triggers reciprocity in your prospect. Since you’ve done something for them they will feel compelled to do something for you in return (such as listening to your pitch).

Disadvantages

  • Expensive: Each gift will cost you around $15-30 which can add up especially if you’re in the early stages when you don’t have a lot of budget to play with.

  • Time Consuming: This is by far the most time consuming direct outreach approach. It takes several hours to find out who to send the gifts to, purchasing each gift, organizing shipping, and then following up afterwards.

Conclusion


I hope this guide has helped you narrow down on a few direct outreach strategies that you can focus on.


Each one of these are powerful on their own. However, using multiple approaches is going to be the key to getting your business thriving in the early stages.


Currently I’m using a combination of social selling (LinkedIn and Facebook) and cold email strategies. The results speak for themselves; 40-60 sales meetings booked per month on average and $8k closed from opportunities sourced from these two methods last week alone. Not too bad for a company in which I am the only employee.


As always this is a highly nuanced topic, if you have any questions regarding which approach(es) would work best for your specific niche feel free to post in the comments below or ping me directly. Just make sure to include some context for me on who you’re targeting along with your inquiry.


Happy hunting!

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