Cold calling, YOLO, and the cure for fear

The email I sent a few days back about my guest posting “mental block” musta struck a nerve—my inbox lit up with replies.

One of them was from a biz owner named Holger:

Late last year I launched a SaaS for tele-marketing freelancers and small agencies (strictly b2b). It’s been three years in the making and I have one ideal customer since the beginning. I was always afraid to put it out there and try to find other customers. I was always afraid that the software was
– too ugly (I am no designer after all)
– is of no use to any telemarketer (I quit the job years ago and might be totally out of touch)
– nobody will pay money for this (My prices are probably too high. I should demand less!)

You see were this is going.

But yolo! So let’s take this chance. I hired two telemarketers (after all they are my perfect customer) and let them cold call businesses who do cold-calling (B2B). They are (again) validating the product with the companies and use it themselves while cold-calling. THIS SHOULD TURN OUT OKAY RIIIIGHHHHT? 😉

Anyway I am still scared too death of all this but somehow the first leads asked for trial accounts.
Let’s see how this turns out.
But yeah. I am scared and I can totally relate here.

Always looking forward to your emails.

Four things that are awesome here:

1. “Eating your own dog food.”

Holger is improving his product by putting it to work in his own business.

Another example of a company that does this is Github, which creates collaboration and versioning software for programmers.

I once talked to someone who worked there, and they use the Github software to run their entire company.

Organizing a meeting? You schedule the conference room with a git pull request.

Ordering lunch for the team? Your coworkers put their requests in via pull requests too.

They’re always looking for creative ways to use and abuse their own product, and magical greatness emerges as a result.

2. Selling to an audience you know.

Holger is already in sync with the pains and frustrations of telemarketers, because he’s walked in their shoes.

He can sit down and crank out a hundred emails or blog posts without doing a lick of research, and his customers will ADORE them because he’s reading straight from their diary.

3. Sticking with what you know.

Holger knows how to do marketing via cold calling, so he’s putting his head down and running with that even though it’s not “sexy” and most people today believe it doesn’t work (they’re wrong).

He gets a high five for not getting distracted by the latest marketing fads, and just buckling down and doing what you know how to do to make sales.

When you’re trying to figure out what marketing channels to use for your business, the place to start is with what you already know how to do.

I’m a writer, so I write.

If you love making videos, then that might be better.

Don’t let someone else tell you that you “have to” use any specific marketing tactic.

4. Fighting your fear.

If you wait until you’re “ready” to put your product out there, you’re doomed.

Either you’ll never launch…

Or you’ll spend years building something that no one wants.

But still the fear can be… paralyzing.

I find that the best cure for fear is to immerse yourself in your customer’s world.

Most times my fears are abstract—”I’m not Dan Kennedy or John Carlton, who am I to give marketing advice?”

When someone emails me with a specific question, though…

Or I’m digging into a client’s business, the fear falls away because I’m not thinking about MYSELF any more.

I’m 100% focused on solving their problem.

So if Holger is scared that his software is ugly and he’s out of touch with his customers, he should make sure that he’s spending time talking to his prospects and trial users.

What he’ll see is that they don’t pull up his software, howl in disgust and toss their laptop in the nearest dumpster…

There will be things they like, and a few they don’t…

Now he’s solving problems instead of dreading the unknown.

And that’s what we entrepreneurs are good at!