Own a phone or have an email address, you have experienced cold calls or cold call emails. Whether it is a politician asking you to vote for them, a spammer with their newsletter trying to get you to buy their products or the terrible marketer phone calls of someone trying to sell you a timeshare, it’s happening regularly.
Unfortunately, this is not just a secular business issue, but one that is happening in our world as well. And it doesn’t work. It’s not worth your time. In fact, you may be doing more harm than good. Example: church guy on the street corner with a bullhorn. His theology may be completely sound, but his delivery is terrible.
Cold Calls Usually Come From A Good Place
Having written for ChurchMag for a while along with a previous 10 years of previous blogging, it amazes me how innovative people are in creating stuff. Whether I find it on my own and want to share it with people via a blog post or on the podcast or someone comes up to me digitally to share it, there really is just so much creativity and ingenuity in the products people make, even within our Christian and church tech niche.
One of the downsides of this plethora of ideas is that it is hard to get your one thing in front of many people’s eyes. At least once a day, I receive an email from someone essentially saying “Hey, I created this great thing, would you share it with your audience?” Now I will say that the goal of the action is probably a noble one, it’s the execution that has failed. In fact, their “thing” is probably really great, but your method of delivery makes me want to ignore your request pretty quickly. Here are some examples of these requests:
- You created something out of a need but no product or service was out there.
- You started blogging because you found yourself having several conversations over and over again and wanted to formalize your words.
- You need to raise money to start this ministry that God has laid on your heart.
I could keep writing it, but you get the idea. In fact, that very sentence is the point. If I wrote EVERY example i could come up with, you would not get to the essence of the article or how I would like to help. You might stop reading because you have to get to a meeting, you might get bored and click away from the website, or you might become annoyed that I do not consider you smart enough to understand after three examples. Regardless of why you left, you did leave.
This is why whenever I create something like my Let’s Plays or the ChurchMag podcast, I never go and unsolicitedly pan it out to people, what I am calling cold call emails (though it can come in the form of a Facebook private message, ‘@ mention’ someone on Twitter, etc.). I do not want my name associated with being a spammer, someone who peddles their content or being needy.
But How Do I Do This Right?
Ultimately, me telling you to stop with the cold calls does not help. Your response is likely “but how will people notice my stuff?” The problem with a cold call email is that you are not interested in the person and instead interested in their money or only talking about yourself. That kind of relationship is not healthy and actually is looked down upon. Now you have been associated with a negative connotation which soils your brand or name. And who wants to buy that?
But, how to do it right? It comes down to two simple ideas: pay for advertising or let others be advocates for you. The first option is pretty straight forward. The second, less so.
I actually think cold calls are people either trying to advertise without paying or trying to find advocates. The problem is you need to establish a relationship with the person before you make the pitch.
Let me give an example of how you could do this better for ChurchMag, specifically for myself. Let’s say you have a great giving option that Tithely somehow did not think of: telepathy giving. You certainly could buy an advertisement with us or buy a sponsored post, both good options that will give you INSTANT access to our audience. But maybe you don’t have the money.
Pitch to us that you’d like to write an article for online giving. Don’t pitch that you want to write on the topic and make it a sponsored post, we won’t publish that. Instead, make yourself an authority on the topic.
Or maybe simply start up a conversation with me on social media when I talk about online giving or leave a comment on a blog post of ours on the topic. Add value to the conversation. Not the explicit idea that we will invite you to share your product with our audience, we may never do that.
But if you prove yourself an authority on the topic, people will ask you about good options.
Ultimately, you need to treat those could-be advocates as people, not as bullhorns who will shout your message to others.