Episode: 520 |
David A. Fields:
Effective Outreach Emails:


David A. Fields

Effective Outreach Emails

Show Notes

David A. Fields talks about the purpose of outreach emails and how to ensure they are effective. The purpose of outreach is not to sell, but rather to create conversations. He talks about both  ‘cold’ outreach, which is to contacts who you don’t know and ‘cool’ outreach, which is sending emails to people who the sender knows, but who have not been in contact in a few years. He also covers developing a tracking system, and follow-up calls.Regardless of the type of outreach, the goal is not to sell, but rather to create conversations that may lead to relationships and opportunities.

David talks about the importance of creating meaningful conversations instead of transactional ones when reaching out to potential clients. He states that jumping right into “Do you need my help on anything?” or selling, can ruin a relationship. He suggests using the 111 Email approach which has been found to be extraordinarily effective. Instead of focusing on oneself, the email should be about the recipient and what they are interested in. This approach can get a response rate of 40-50%, which is a very high rate for cool outreach. David explains that the email should include only one line and one focus question. He  gives an example of a 111 Email and emphasizes that the focus should always be on the other person and not on trying to sell something.

David emphasizes that even if the person is not a client, it is still beneficial to talk with them as it increases the chances of business finding their firm, and that the more conversations one is a part of, the more likely it is that business will find their firm.


Emails Questions that Engage Clients 

David shares an effective approach to continuing the conversation. One tip is to give a link to schedule a time for a call, and decide that it would be better to simply ask the other person if they would like to catch up.

When asking someone for a quick catch up, conversation, or call, he suggests to not be too business-like and to keep it simple by starting with Are you up for a quick catch up? 

Follow up questions should include: “I’m gonna have my assistant scheduled something,” “What about these times?” “How’s next week?” etc.,  to make it easier for the other person to respond. He also suggests not asking too many questions on the email, but to keep it simple with the goal of getting the other person on the phone or into a Zoom call.  David discusses the importance of using live conversations, as opposed to email or other messaging apps, in order to create better relationships with clients. He provides examples of how to transition from email conversations to live ones, such as asking if the client is open for a quick conversation and catch up. David also advises against using humor in emails, as it can often be misinterpreted and can put one at risk. The goal of the email is to get the client on a call.


How to Contact People for Networking Purposes

David talks about the best ways to contact people for networking purposes, including categories of emails people should use, such as job related, comments on LinkedIn, and questions that ask if an email address is still valid. He also talks about the frequency of emails and suggests sending them once every two to three months, and tracking the responses in a CRM system. He also offers tips on how to approach a person on LinkedIn who seems to be an interesting contact, but with whom you have  no prior connection and suggests a few ways to reach out in a cold contact situation such as explaining  why you are reaching out and how the contact could be beneficial to the client. Additionally, David recommends researching the person to get an understanding of their background and interests, and how the contact could be mutually beneficial. He suggests making the message personal and concise, and also including a call to action. To connect with potential clients, David suggests using personalized connections as a way to make a connection, such as referencing an affiliation they might have. He gives examples of successful email outreach and follow up messaging and timeline.


Cold Leads in the Consulting Industry

David talks about sales tactics for cold leads in the consulting industry. David recommends the Ben Franklin approach, which is asking for help with a project such as being interviewed for a podcast instead of trying to sell directly. He also suggests an aggressive reframe, where the consultant takes an opposing stance from the norm and then offers a solution. He offers examples to demonstrate how this works. He talks about how emails  help improve lead generation.  When asked if a direct approach like saying “here’s what we do” is helpful, David responds that he has not seen it work and  identifies the type of  email content and approaches that are ineffective and questions that fail to engage. He also talks about the importance of crafting a personalized subject line. David explains that his team focuses on having a clear, one-topic message and keeping it personal. He also mentions that the subject line should be short and make it clear that the message is personal.  With short, question emails,  it may not be effective due to the high volume of spam emails using this format. David closes by sharing the one line follow up message and explaining why the “turn” works.



04:24 How to Reach Out Without Being Transactional

06:51 Making Sense of 111 Emails

12:40 Building Relationships and Generating Business 

15:00 Exploring Conversation Strategies for Professional Networking 

16:56 Consistency and Influence in Networking 

21:45 Maintaining Relationships Through Email and Other Messaging Apps

30:04 Network Core Frequency and the 2099 List 

32:00 Creating a Personalized Connection Point for Cold Outreach

43:17 Effective Outreach Strategies 

51:25 How to Use the “Turn” Technique for Professional Networking 



Website: https://www.davidafields.com/



LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidafields/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/_davidafields?lang=en


One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:


Ep.520. David Fields


David Fields, Will Bachman


Will Bachman  00:01

Hello, and welcome to Unleashed. I’m your host will Bachman and I am so excited to be here today, once again with my good friend David A fields who is the author of the irresistible consultants guide to winning clients, you should definitely sign up for his weekly blog at David a fields.com. We’ve talked David’s been on the show, like 10 plus times, and always super well received episodes. Today we’re going to talk about how to send emails, how to, in particular how to send outreach emails, which a lot of us struggle with. David, welcome to the show.


David Fields  00:38

Thank you. Well, it’s so funny, as we were texting talking before you hit record, I was just excited that we get a chance to talk today. So I’m really happy to have that opportunity. And hopefully we’ll share some value with listeners and they’ll enjoy it too.


Will Bachman  00:51

All right, fantastic. So talk to me about


David Fields  00:55

  1. All right, we’re gonna dive right into the


Will Bachman  00:59

dive right in. We’re not no no warm up. Let’s just Let’s just get going here. Just like boom, okay. frame it up. A little bit. Yeah, sure. All right.


David Fields  01:10

So we’re going to talk about outreach. We’ll, let’s talk about cool outreach. Cool and cool to warm outreach. And what I mean by that is, there’s outreach to people you don’t know it all. And by the way, there’s a version of this 111 that we’re gonna talk about, which which can apply to them. And then there’s, there’s outreach or conversation with people who are warm to hot, right, that you are, they will, if you reached out to me, you know, I would reach right back. So it’s, we’re not cool or warm, and at least in my book. And, and but they’re in the middle. Most people have this vast sort of pool of contacts, that Yeah, well, maybe they know me that maybe we haven’t been in contact in three years, or five years or 10 years. But they definitely know who I am. Right? So so that’s where you get kind of this cool ish group or, you know, cool to warm. And it’s for that group, that this particular type of of outreach called 111111. Email is particularly effective. So first of all, before I go Go on, does that make sense?


Will Bachman  02:22

That does make sense. Okay. So today, let’s talk about cool outreach to those folks that know your name, and recognize you, but you haven’t been in touch for a while. And then let’s also after we get done with that, let’s also talk some about cold outreach, because I definitely hear some of your thoughts around how to do that, and not get marked as spam. So okay, or at least reducing.


David Fields  02:47

We can talk about that, that might end up being a different conversation, but we can at least start


Will Bachman  02:52

on it. Alright, sounds good.


David Fields  02:53

Let’s, let’s talk about cool. And again, before eating gives you the the I feel like we need guys, almost you’ll almost get there. But there’s some important background here. All right, go for it. It’s really critical to remember the purpose of outreach. And the purpose of outreach is not to sell. The purpose of outreach is to create conversations. And in for many, for many people, that is perhaps the hardest mind shift, mindset shift to make it even in the back of their mind to thinking yeah, but but really, David, I’m reaching out to sell, right, I’m reaching out to win business. And I have to get yourself away from that. You’re reaching out to have conversation, just have conversation. If you’re in conversation, some of those conversations will just build relationships, and those conversations will lead other conversations, and with other people. And some of those conversations will reveal opportunities. And once you have opportunities, then you have enough you can go in and win a project. But if you think you’re reaching out in order to sell if you’re reaching out in order to win business, almost everything no matter what technique you’re trying, will will struggle a little bit will fall apart. So first of all, is that fair? Does that resonate? Or do you think No, David does ridiculous.


Will Bachman  04:24

That is that resonates. Even though we are impatient. And yeah, I know. We want to just jump right to the Do you have anything that you need my help on? But okay, so we want to create conversation. So how do we do that?


David Fields  04:38

Exactly in the jumping into Hey, is there anything you need my help on this with cool or warm? You know, sort of that coolish contacts. That’s actually a really good way to ruin a relationship. I mean, imagine if we hadn’t talked in a long time and and I said, you know Like a really long time, you know who I am? And I’m like, hey, well, do you need my help with anything? You know? Don’t you need to buy something from me? I would have it in a moment of thoughtlessness converted our relationship from something that has the promise to be warm and trusting and a bond to something that feels very transactional. Okay, so So again, it’s really important to to not be transactional. Okay, so that said you wanted to jump right into a 111. Okay, the one one email 111. Email is it’s just a very particular construct. We have found it to be extraordinarily effective and extraordinarily effective. I mean, I would say it tends to get about 40 to 50% response rate, which for cool outreach is very, very high. One, the first one is one focus. Your email has one focus and that focus is them. Not you. Your your email is about the recipient. They don’t care about you. If they cared about you that much. They would have contacted you. Let’s focus on what what they’re more interested in, which is them. Your second one is this is going to be one line. It’s a literally a one line email. And then you will ask one question. And I’ll give some examples. And then I’ll explain, you know, based on having done this with a whole bunch of clients, where this tends to go a little bit astray. But one focus one line, one question that that’s the construct the yeah, let me just check in the Making Sense of our Where have I gone astray?


Will Bachman  06:51

One focus one line, one question. I’m taking notes. All right.


David Fields  06:55

All right. Perfect. All right. So and then there’s a whole sort of thing about, well, what’s the subject? So we’ll skip the subject for now. So let me give you an example. And I’m gonna give you examples that are basically real life examples, because we also do this and I write them every week, I might say. Hi, Will. It’s been forever. Since we chatted. Are you still running? Umbrex? David, that’s it. Okay. been forever since we chatted. Great. Here’s my one. My my one line, one question. Are you still running Umbrex? Now? I mean, no, you’re running Umbrex? It may be obvious that you’re running Umbrex. That doesn’t matter. My question is about you. It’s clearly personalized, right in in a world where people are just sending spam, and obvious spam, a clearly personalized message does break through. And the question I’ve asked you is extraordinarily easy for you to answer. It’s a yes or no question. So here’s here would be examples of questions. Or give you some just some examples of where this goes astray. Hey, well, it’s been a long time since we’ve talked. I’ve been building out our consulting firm and adding principles and we’re doing really well. I would, okay, already have lost this. It’s not about you. And it’s not one line. Here’s another one. Hi, Will been forever since we talked. Are you still running? Umbrex? How’s it going? There? Okay, no, I did two questions. And my second one, how’s it going? That’s way too hard to answer. That would take you thought, you know, unless you’re, you know, going great. It’s just too hard. I want to give you a yes or no. Are you still in Umbrex? Are you still in New York City? Have you taken one of your exotic trips lately? That’s kind of on the edge of of too hard to answer. I think that’s still pretty easy to answer. And that one’s nice and personalized, because I know you take great trips. And you’ll probably want to answer so that that’s kind of what a 111 email looks like. There was a someone who was on my cool list. And I wrote and said hi, we’ll just pretend you as well. Hi, Will been forever since we talked. My vague recollection is that you were working in venture capital for a bit but maybe I’m wrong. Or you finally retired. David, about him. You’re working in venture capitals now. Right? Are you be tired. Now he wrote back. Someone indignant. They said, I’m not retired, I run this firm now. And, you know, and there we go. Alright, that’s a 111 email, then of course, you have to follow up. But that’s 111. So ask me your questions.


Will Bachman  10:15

Okay. So my first question is, okay, so email the person, are you still running? Umbrex? And, like, it’s kind of obvious, as you pointed out, because if the person wasn’t, you know, like, the email would bounce, right? So, and you can see on LinkedIn, whatever, but let’s say the person just replies Yes. So what do you do then?


David Fields  10:35

Okay, so then you have to do your follow up. That’s actually not what I thought you were gonna say, you were gonna ask me, it’s stupid to write something that you know where the answer is so obvious. Well,


Will Bachman  10:47

that too. But like, Okay, so the person who says, Yes, I am. Okay. So then what?


David Fields  10:55

Okay, so. So, there’s a few possibilities here. There’s a possibility where someone just just writes back. Yes, still running Umbrex I get that. That’s the one possibility someone, you know, sending me back. Another possibility is the sort of the coolest response. Yep, still running Umbrex. Okay, then what do you do? Remember, what’s our point here? We’re trying to get to conversation. So I can either do two more steps, or I can do one step two steps will be cool. Then you can say, love that you’re still running Umbrex? Is it been growing? Or I could say love that you’re still running Umbrex. Our last time we talked, you were thinking about doing more international? Is that happening? Right? Anything that sparks a little bit of conversation? See, if you write back and then take a second step, or can write just go jump right to the second step. And say that is so cool. I would love to hear a little bit more about your journey and Umbrex Would you be up for a quick conversation. Now that second email will is still about you, even though I said I’d love to hear more. It’s still I’d love to hear more about your journey. I’m making you the hero. You’re the focus. I haven’t said I want to sell anything. I just said I want to share anything. I didn’t say I’d love to hear more about your journey and also tell you what I’ve been doing. Because you may not care. And also now it sounds like okay, you actually just want to have a call so you can pitch to me.


Will Bachman  12:40

Yeah, although the person kind of knows. That’s the point. I mean, right. Like, what


David Fields  12:45

is not the point? Yeah.


Will Bachman  12:48

I mean, it’s important. It’s important not to say it. But I mean, you know, it’s a it’s a client of yours or a potential client. So they kind of understand the game, it seems to me that it’s like important for both sides not to, you know, say that it’s transactional. But I mean, the client kind of knows, like, okay, this person wouldn’t just randomly reach out to me, just because, right. Okay, so


David Fields  13:11

I need to I need to reset you a little bit. The hardest reset Well, alright, reset. It’s not transactional. Honest to goodness, you have to reach out to the person just to reach out to them. Yeah. Okay. It’s okay to build a relationship. I had one of these conversations this morning. This woman is not a client, she will never be a client. It is okay. Why do I talk with her? Because it’s good to talk with people. It’s good to be engaged. Maybe she’ll know someone at some point. Maybe she won’t. But the more conversations I am a part of, the more likely it is that business is just going to find our firm. In and the the sort of data on this is unequivocal. If you are more conversations, more business will find your firm. You do so so really get out of that transactional mindset. Don’t say? Well, kind of we both know the game. No, really. There’s no game. All right. Okay, one of our clients had just come back yesterday, so it’s on my mind sending 111 email and the response was, hey, thanks for reaching out, we don’t need help. I don’t want to waste your time. Right. So it was like right to the transaction. They’ll have budget don’t need your help. Don’t want to waste your time. So what’s the response? The responses, I’m glad you don’t have a budget and don’t need help, because I wasn’t looking for business anyway. I would however, love to catch up and find out what’s going on. It sounds like you’re you’re she had mentioned something else in their response. You know, so you’re just you know, I’d love to hear about that for a few minutes. Okay, and when you step out of that transactional world now you can get into conversation. All right. All right, go ahead, push back on


Will Bachman  15:00

Get No no, I’m not pushing back. Tell us about. So we talked about are you still at Umbrex? Okay, so that’s one template or model out to think about this. Yeah. What are some other ones that you’ve seen work?


David Fields  15:12

Almost almost anything that feels like? Again, that easy to answer, can can can work. I have found that it takes about 30 seconds to construct one of these, you can go on to LinkedIn, and see what someone has done recently. And let’s say so let’s say you happen to have done a podcast on diversity, equity and inclusion. I can say, Harry will notice you did a podcast on di Was that your first foray into this topic? Now you can say well, why didn’t you just look and you could have seen I’ve actually done 230 articles on this topic, right? So it doesn’t matter that people don’t get mad about that. Or you just move to somewhere, or you got promoted, or anything, literally anything personal or professional, if they if they have any kind of active feed at all. Meaning something within the past year, just pick up on it. Someone wrote a comment on somebody else’s article on LinkedIn, or some other social media. Hey, we’ll saw you commented on that lumber article. Wow, didn’t know you were a lumber of fishy nado. You prefer hardwood? softwood?


Will Bachman  16:56

So your guidance here is on the one question. Try to make it yes or no or super easy to answer. And don’t don’t lead with a you know with would you like to catch up? With Yeah, don’t ask that as the first as the first ask in the first round of this conversation.


David Fields  17:18

Right? Because we need to make it we’re going to ease them into the idea of having a conversation. And we’re we will use one of Bob Jill Dini is Robert Cialdini brilliant book Influence, right? He talks about consistency as one of the key principles. And once people have taken an action, then they they are more likely to take future actions that are consistent with their prior actions, or else it causes cognitive dissonance. So once they’ve engaged with you at all by responding to an email, now, it’s more likely they’re going to continue to respond. So we’re going to make that first response as simple and as frictionless and easy as possible. Okay, you sound Are you skeptical? Or taking?


Will Bachman  18:09

Taking notes and taking notes? Okay, so make the first response super easy. So yes, no, or some one word answer really easy for someone to answer to give you like a peg that you can then reply to? And then maybe in that first response to their response, maybe you ask them a follow up question. Or maybe you go to the second level, which is finally then asking them hey, would you like to hop on a call? We’d love to catch up.


David Fields  18:39



Will Bachman  18:41

And when you do that, one proach is to say, and here’s my, you know, link to schedule a time with me, but I’m guessing that you don’t recommend that you just say would you like to catch up and make that another? Yes. No answer. Don’t like say, okay, you know, send me some times or whatever.


David Fields  18:59

Yes. Are you up for a quick catch up? Are you up for a quick conversation? And let the person say yes. And then you can say that would be awesome. Now in my case, of course, I’m gonna have my assistant scheduled something, but then you can say now it’d be awesome. What about these times? How’s next week? Look? You know, if you don’t mind jump on the count my Calendly link because that makes it really easy.


Will Bachman  19:30

Okay, so if you do ask for a call with a person, just just say, Are you open to catch up? Are you open for quick call to catch up? Don’t do all this sort of like business of here’s my scheduling link. And here’s some times it worked for me or not. Yeah, just


David Fields  19:45

too much for too much friction too. off putting. Yeah, not yet. All right.


Will Bachman  19:49

Give us a little bit more on the that. Let’s say they’ve responded. I’d love to Here’s a little bit more coaching and guidance here on the interaction like so, these kinds of email conversations typical good responses. And, and one question actually I’ll have is, What do you think about asking the person to say like, you know, I’d love to hear what’s on your agenda for this year, or is that too salesy? You know, like, what are some kind of good ways to indicate that you’re interested in hearing what’s going on in the person’s life without making it seem that you’re very focused on okay, what projects are you doing right now that you might need my help?


David Fields  20:32

Is this once you’re in conversation, or is it on the email, on the email? So in the email, I want to get in any of that. On the email, I have a single goal. get you on the phone with me, or get you into a zoom call with me? Email is very thin. You can you can perhaps maintain relationships and email, same thing with LinkedIn, by the way, or any kind of messaging app or WhatsApp. And they’re great in many, many ways. However, they are undeniably sin. Media. There’s no body language, you can’t hear passion. You can’t you laughter consists of emojis and LOL, right? And probably all sorts of listeners will will correct me where I’m wrong on this. But that’s my sense. So we want to get people to Richmond media, where we can create this human connection. Okay, clients are humans, right? So we have to so my, my entire goal is not to get into conversation on email. It’s to get you into conversation. voice to voice face to face, if possible.


Will Bachman  21:45

All right. We are both such boomers. David. I can’t see me like, I’ve never been on a phone call in my life. But I’m with you. I like phone calls, too. So Okay, now let’s talk about Let’s Move beyond the cool. And let’s talk about the coolest of the cool, which is someone that you


David Fields  22:06

hold on, I want to back up a little bit, just a moment because I get to the boomer thing. And we have clients now who live on Discord and all of that. And anyone there’s lots of text back and forth. However, it’s even with that generation, if you’re doing any kind of advisory work, not tech implementation work. It’s unlikely you’re going to win a six figure project purely through a text based relationship. At some point, there’s going to be a connection in a richer medium. Oh,


Will Bachman  22:42

I agree with you, 100%. I’m totally on board that like I like a live conversation. So I do a podcast. But I was just thinking about my kids like my kids. I’ll tell them just call your friend. Oh, no, I can’t do that. I’m with you. Yeah,


David Fields  23:00

but they say that, but then they’re on Discord each other and they end up chatting. So it’s not a phone, but there is voice to voice Yeah, right. Or they’re on some other app. And and they get past just the just a text basis. And there may be other filters and things in the way. But that’s a that’s a whole nother matter.


Will Bachman  23:19

All right. Actually, before we move on, give us a little bit more of the examples around the email exchanges of how to try to graduate those and mature those to, you know, asking for a phone call. What was just some additional examples of how those interactions might go?


David Fields  23:37

Okay, so again, I told you like the really cool one, I didn’t follow the rest of that spectrum. So I apologize. Well, you know, because the hardest part of the spectrum is they don’t reply at all. Maybe they have it’s the easiest part because you don’t do anything. You know, and then there’s a really cool response. Yes, I’m still an Umbrex. Right, that that’s maybe actually the most difficult because now is there a little bit of dentistry is a little bit of pulling teeth to try and engage in conversation. A more typical response is actually a little bit deeper than that. It tends to be Yeah, I’m still at Umbrex Things are going well, how are things going with you? Because reciprocity is another one of those principles. That’s tends to be true. You know, yeah, I’m still here, still working really hard. The the, you know, pandemic made things interesting for a while, or whatever it is. At that point. You engage? Oh, wow. You know, Well, I’m glad you’re still there. And yeah, the pandemic certainly shifted things for for everyone. It would be great to catch up. Are you up for a few minute conversation? And then for me, I’m probably going to say I’ll copy my assistant and I’m going to ask my assistant reach out and find the time for us. That would be on the warmer end if I If there’s someone I’m pretty I’m, it feels clear to me that they’re open to a conversation. Or I might just say, Are you open to a quick conversation and catch up? And then let them send that yet? Yes. Yeah, that would be great. What about tomorrow? I’m like, oh, no, tomorrow is gonna work. But, you know, let me have my sister reached out, we’ll figure something out. To make sense, or was it? Was it all over the place?


Will Bachman  25:23

No, that’s good. What are? So we talked about, you know, are you still at Umbrex, we said, you know, other other kinds of subject lines or approaches that, that you have found work?


David Fields  25:37

inch inch? Well, like I said, you as long as you connect to something they’re doing will something in their world and make that subject line connects to them, it will work? You know, it’s fun. You’re asking me to do this on the fly, it would be easier if we were if we were doing this visually. And you gave me a bunch of contacts, I could we could connect these creatures on the fly, which is what we do with a bunch of clients. Yeah, right, where they’re where they’re learning how to do this, we’ll say, Okay, can you give me five contacts in a matter of five minutes, we’ll write 5111 emails is actually very, very easy. If you have a person and as long as they exist on LinkedIn, it’s super easy. If they don’t look, you know, just on LinkedIn, then you’re gonna say, you know, hey, well, are you still in New York City? Do you still have kids? And probably wouldn’t ask that one. You’re not gonna say, you know, are you still married? So I advise against that one. Yeah. listeners. Right. Well, you know, it brings up kind of an important point, which is you have to be really careful with humor. Yeah. Really, really careful. Things that are, could be funny, are always misinterpreted. If it’s just text. And could put you at great risk. You know, you think you’re being funny. Oh, you know, are you still married and you hit a nerve as someone who just got divorced or who just got, you know, as a widow, or? Or, you know, so you unfortunately, you have to play it straight?


Will Bachman  27:17

Yeah. That’s not one though. I wouldn’t go in that direction, either.


David Fields  27:20

Yeah. But again, because people make these mistakes, and I’ve seen them, and they’re like, they’re trying to be clever. Yeah, don’t be clever.


Will Bachman  27:27

So the general categories are like, you know, the job that the person is still in their location. Maybe you see some they’ve commented on something on LinkedIn, you could pick up on that. If you saw some Are



you still


Will Bachman  27:40



David Fields  27:42

Are you right? Are you still blank? Did you blank? I have like five of these. I just don’t remember up top of my head. I know. I think I gave it to you maybe one other time. There’s like five classes of these. I just can’t remember them off the top of my head. One


Will Bachman  27:59

of them. Does this email. Is this your still email? This is still your email?


David Fields  28:03

Oh, yeah. So So if all else fails? So let’s say you tried a couple of 111 emails and you get nothing, then you can you can use this email address still work. And I would say about a third ish of the time where you’ve, you’ve had no response from anything else, you’ll still get a response from that. And often the responses Yes, it still works. David, I am so sorry. I didn’t respond to your earlier email. Interesting, crazy busy. Right there all apologetic?


Will Bachman  28:42

What’s the what’s the right frequency to send these out? And I suppose you need to have a CRM system so that you’re tracking and you’re keeping track of okay, I did this two months ago, three months ago, whatever. So what’s the right frequency?


David Fields  28:55

Okay, so, by definition, we’re not in your network core. Right, because, you know, or we’re at the outer fringes of your network core, because these are probably B to C relationships. And so the frequency can be a little lighter, whereas your network core ideally, you know, quarterly, you’re having some sort of touch these, you might make it every six months I might even try once a year, but I think six months is a nice nicer cadence. And if you have tried, you know, someone every every six months or maybe, you know, six months you are you tried one to a four months and another, you know, five months, and they’re still not responding and you send them a does this email work and they still don’t respond. Then you put them on what we affectionately call internally at my firm the 2099 list. Meaning we will email you again in two Only 99 If I’m still alive.


Will Bachman  30:04

That’s planning for the future.


David Fields  30:06

Exactly. There’s, I may not be around, but our CRM is going to spit out one hell of a list of people to contact and 29 Unite.


Will Bachman  30:14

Right? Okay, let’s now let’s talk, let’s dial the temperature down a little bit, not all the way to cold, freezing, but cool, cooler. So, yeah, what about someone that you’ve connected with on LinkedIn at some point, but they’re not even cool. Like, you don’t even really know them. But somehow you connected with them, but they look like someone that would be interesting to speak with. How do you approach that person? Let’s say that they’re, for our audience. Let’s say it’s a VP of strategy at a fortune 5000. firm? And how would you approach that?


David Fields  30:52

Okay, so that there are a few ways at at cold truth? Well, you said me. So you gave me two slightly different scenario. So let me make sure I understand what you’re talking about. Is it called or not? Is it is it a VP of a fortune? 500? Whom you you don’t know? Or is it?


Will Bachman  31:15

This is, let’s say that this is, it’s not freezing, because it’s not because you it’s not like some of you haven’t even ever. So somehow, you know, people send connections, who knows, maybe you send it to the person, let’s say in 2018, you connected with the person on LinkedIn, but you’ve never spoken with them. Right? So and you don’t even remember, like, who sent that connection to. So somehow, three or four years ago, maybe they’re an alum of your firm. So maybe you both were at Deloitte or McKinsey, or Bain or whatever, somehow you connected, you know, they saw you as one of the recommended people, and they clicked or you clicked, whatever. So you don’t even remember how but three or four years ago, you connected on LinkedIn, but you’ve never spoke with them, and they don’t know you, you don’t know them.


David Fields  32:00

Okay, that’s gonna be well, if you have some sort of affiliation, that is going to make it a little bit easier, because then you can, you know, then you can refer back to that, we can even say, I can say, Hi, Will, it appears that you are also at HBS. You know, but these databases are often wrong, were you there. Right. So again, I’m just going to create a really easy connection point that’s personalized. And that you can you can get back to. So if there’s, if there’s, you know, and that’s one way at it is, is going, you know, like that, that really simple one on one reference, a point of contact, I’ll give you a couple of other approaches. And these approaches work for cold, I’m not a huge fan of cold, I will also let you know that every year or so we test some sort of campaign, what you know, whatever people are promoting in the moment, so that we can try things out and see if they work for consulting firms. And we’re doing another one this year with, you know, whatever you get in your inbox, like 20 of these kinds of folks saying we can we can deliver leads for you in this manner or that manner. We constantly test these groups out to see whether it actually works. And so, you know, I’ll let you know so far, most of these don’t work. But whatever works, I’ll let you know. There are a couple of other ways. One would be the the Ben Franklin approach, which is the asking for help on something we’ll saw you are leading a you know, what I’m like incorrectly referred to as a staffing firm. I have a really quick question about how firms like yours work. Would you be open to a quick conversation? Or I’m writing an article about this. And I think your point of view would be particularly valued by my readers. Would you be willing to be interviewed for for five to 10 minutes? You know, or or anything, right? Basically, the Ben Franklin approach is asking for help. I could ask you for a podcast I can ask you just for for help on an idea or anything like that. It’s moderately effective. Almost nothing’s effective or cold. But, but that’s you know that that’s moderately effective. And again, I’m just trying to get you into conversation now, for everyone listening, I can’t reinforce enough. This is not about selling, you cannot bait and switch. It’s about creating a relationship. You can if it’s if the the right opportunity arises, you can use the turn or some variation on the turn to give yourself a chance to have a conversation about a potential project. But you don’t go in with that. You go in just focusing on the relationship, create that relationship create conversation.


Will Bachman  35:42

So asking for help from a cold lead is one in particularly one if you can reference an affinity, like, hey, we were both at Harvard Business. McKinsey or KPMG, whatever.


David Fields  35:58

I saw you a picture of you. I know we’re both vertically challenged. You know, how do you sell to tall people? Yeah. Whatever it is. Humor, though, that won’t work. So I’m so so I’m playing with you on the podcast. But But don’t you know, for listeners don’t do that. Another way that works is the aggressive reframe. So an aggressive reframe takes this form. Will most let’s see, how do we want to characterize you? Most entrepreneurs, think X thing something, whatever it is, most entrepreneurs think that they have to be capitalized in order to grow their business. In fact, lack of capitalization is what you need. Here’s why we can help by taking all your money to be less capitalized. The show an aggressive reframe is most people think X In fact, y is true. We can help


Will Bachman  37:09

that sounds much more like a selling approach.


David Fields  37:11

That is a much more direct selling approach. So what we’ve found is when you’re truly going to do cold, if you’re going to go for cold, you can either try to create relationships, or you can do what has been proven to work, you can do flat out ugly, cold, you know, sailing, because it, the disadvantage of that is it’s not right side up, it’s not about them, it won’t create a relationship. But on the other hand, if I hit you at the right time with the right message, or even with the wrong time, but with a message that’s sticky, it can work. So as much as you know, I’m all about relationships. I’m also extremely pragmatic. And the fact is an aggressive reframe can work and we’ve seen it lead to business. And therefore it’s something worth considering. We have also seen that salesy emails, those horrible emails you get in your inbox can work. The thing to keep in mind for consulting though, is if you have a sort of any kind of consulting practice, or probably any kind of professional service practice is that you are generating a lead with a very low likelihood of converting and in probably a very long sales cycle. So it can work in generating leads, which is why those you know, people who send out those emails send out all that spam, it does generate leads for our kind of businesses, they tend to be low quality leads and long sales cycle. Now you have to build trust, you have to build a relationship. And any of that, is any of that help.


Will Bachman  39:06

Yeah, no, that’s helpful. So that’s, are there other just direct approaches that you’ve seen people try and that work or not like? So the aggressive reframe would be one class of direct. Here’s what we do. That’s like, is that what do you think about just saying, here’s what we do? Is that ever helpful to you,


David Fields  39:28

or? I have not seen that work? Well, I mean, yeah, that that is the more classic, the more classic cold calling approach. Really salesy. You know, you have a problem with this, we do this. So, you know, reach out, connect with me, that just generate some leads that, ironically, perhaps the least effective is the semi right side up long form email where I say, you know, will you You seem like a really broad entrepreneur and you built this great business. And folks who are in your sort of situation can have these challenges. Okay, so it’s starting right side up. It’s, it’s leading with challenges, and you say, you know, those are things we can help with. That seems to be the least effective, which is very frustrating. But that’s so far what our data have suggested. You either you kind of need to be just on one camp or the other. Just focus on the relationship, hey, will would be great to meet, just connect, or focus on sale?


Will Bachman  40:37

Okay. I’m curious what approaches you’ve seen consultants using that you helped kind of coach them out of using? Like, what are some of the other approaches that don’t work?


David Fields  40:48

Well, almost, I will tell you very, very few people do a 111 email, or do it effectively. So we spend a lot of time cleaning up people’s emails, because they’re upside down. They’re there, the emails are about themselves, and their consulting firm. And here’s what we’re doing. We just did this for another firm, perhaps you’d be interested. Yeah, that doesn’t seem to work. You know, here’s, here’s what we’re doing. Now. Here’s, here’s what’s really great in my world, and I just landed this project. None of that works. And will there be an exception somewhere? I’m sure there is. But by and large is at work? No, not at all. And it turns out, while I described his email, you know, earlier, somewhat simple, and perhaps because we have a lot of practice with it, we can just bang these things out. At the beginning, most people find it very, very hard. To write these, they want to write things like, you know, what’s new in your world, which is a great question, but terrible email. How are you doing? What’s the latest? All the questions which are too hard to answer? And so, so a fail, or they’re talking about themselves?


Will Bachman  42:18

So recap, it’s 111. About one topic, we talked about subject lines, we didn’t talk about that too much.


David Fields  42:27

Subject line, the short version of subject line is going to make it very clear, this is personal. And you just make sure it’s personal. Will your subject can be Will you still have Umbrex? Or could just be still at Umbrex. Still in New York? It could be we actually get really good open rates with somebody that’s just, you know, quick, quick question about Umbrex.


Will Bachman  42:56

I’m surprised that that one works because that one seems to be taken over by spammers like,


David Fields  43:01

Yeah, I’m almost you might be right,


Will Bachman  43:03

I’m getting ready to put a filter. If I get quick question as a subject line, just send it right to trash.


David Fields  43:09

Okay, so that made me lose its effectiveness. So maybe I think that’s that’s good commentary. And and listeners can try it and see what happened. Yeah, I


Will Bachman  43:17

deleted. So okay, because he’s kind of like go in waves, right? Like you come up with something and then it. It’s the spammers get a hold of it, then it just kind of loses its effectiveness and you have to evolve.


David Fields  43:33

That is true, you do need to stay ahead. One of the advantages of this is it’s clearly personalized without taking a ton of time. And that’s something that spam is getting better at. The I got one on LinkedIn where someone was asking, they said, they made it like we’re doing a photo shoot in your town. And then they mentioned Mike specific where I live, and thought you probably have some good restaurant recommendations. This was brilliant. Because it was clearly customized. Right? It seems really, wow, you’re mentioning my town. And it wasn’t asking anything business related. It was restaurant recommendations. Now I have other things set up in my profile that make it more apparent when someone’s using an automated system. And I wrote back and said this was brilliant. I mean, it’s all automated. So obviously, I’m not gonna do anything with you. But it was brilliant. So yeah, spammers are getting more clever. And you and we can learn from them in some cases.


Will Bachman  44:46

So yeah, so this is, I mean, it’s personally very helpful to me all this guidance. I’m probably guilty of asking right up in the first email. Hey, would you like to catch up it’d be great to catch up and hear what’s new. And so kind of getting your guidance on, hey, just don’t even do that that’s too much to forward, right?


David Fields  45:07

Well give it a try, here’s my request of you will a be tested. Alright, so send out, you don’t know how many of these you do wait, let’s say you send 10 a week or 20. Week, do 10 Where you’re more forward in your request for the conversation, and you 10 words to straight up 1112? You write a simple question, and then you follow up with that request. And let me know.


Will Bachman  45:37

I will do some research on that. If the person is cool enough that you have interacted in the past, but they might not recognize you, do you suggest maybe doing a reply to your email from 2018 with that person or referencing it, like, Hey, you might recall that we, you know, supported you on this thing and 2018 or something? What’s your thoughts about that? If you if you had to relative people, but you have interacted at some point? They may not remember you.


David Fields  46:10

That’s great. Well, the Yeah. Could you Could you do a reply on that email? Yeah, that would be awesome. I don’t know if I would reference it per se, I would just sort of let it hang there. On the other hand, let’s say you did a project together four years ago. And shame on you, you haven’t been following up. But that happens happens to the best of us. I’m gonna say, Well, I cannot believe it’s been four years. Since we changed the spelling of Umbrex, from UMB, R E, C, KS, to having an X. Then I’m going to ask a really simple question. And you know, are you you know, are you still using that design we we developed?


Will Bachman  47:06

And then just so you would reply, perhaps, but don’t necessarily don’t like super reinforce it like, oh, you know, sorry. Yeah,


David Fields  47:14

no need to matter fact that yeah, that will that will get clunky very quickly. Yeah.


Will Bachman  47:20

Okay. Let’s see, we talked about cold, we talked about cool. The 111. We talked about tracking it in some kind of system, and then giving yourself a reminder to follow up. Yep. And let’s see any other wisdom you want to share here about how to do this outreach?


David Fields  47:44

Well, the next thing we can talk about, but probably not in this is then what do you do once they agree to the call?


Will Bachman  47:51

Yes. Okay. Let’s talk about that.


David Fields  47:54

As well, if you want to talk about it in this in this podcast, you want to do another one?


Will Bachman  47:58

Oh, yeah, we got it. I mean, we got a few minutes left in this right. So.


David Fields  48:02

Okay, well, then I’ll give you the short version. Alright. The super short version, which because there is a one line approach that will make your follow up call work. It happens to be the same one line approach you use for every meeting. But that’s the this line it’s it applies really well here. So let’s say you we finally, you know, I engaged you. We haven’t talked in a long time you agreed we’re going to talk and here it is. It’s today, and we’re gonna have a conversation. Are I will start with just something to you know, just real basic personal connection is most people would, you know, we’ll Where are you today? Right? Something like that. You say I’m in New York, you know, say great. Okay, so some basic connection, and then I’m gonna give you your one line. So will what would make this conversation useful and helpful and valuable for you? That’s it. Now, will you and I actually talk on a, you know, somewhat regular basis. You can correct me if I’m wrong, but my guess is most conversations start with me asking you


Will Bachman  49:20

that, David. I have that quote printed out on my wall. I learned that from you. So. So yes, that’s where you start. I will vouch for that.


David Fields  49:34

It is instantly right side up. And guess what? You’re going to talk about what’s most important to the person on the other side of the phone? Yeah. So that’s the short version of how you make that follow up conversation work. Started with that one line and be present. Just be present. Before And that call starts. Think to yourself, Why am I having this call? And you’re gonna say because I want business and things say, Okay, now I’m going to remember, I’m not having this call to find business. Okay, I’m engaging in conversation, I’m building relationships. Alright, so I creating value for another person.


Will Bachman  50:25

Okay? I do have a little bit of a challenge to that, then it feels to me. And so correct me or coach me on this feels to me that that question is a little bit edging into more transactional like saying, Okay, we’re on the call, it feels like not just like, Oh, we’re just going to catch up and see what’s new. But okay, how can this be valuable to you? Like, how can I deliver you value? So,


David Fields  50:48

okay, so often it’s slightly Yeah. Okay, because you’re absolutely right. And so many kids, if it was someone we haven’t taught, I haven’t talked to in a lot a long time, I’d still probably do that. But there are certainly cases where what I would do and I recommend other people’s to do is say, Well, from my perspective, just catching up with you would be awesome. However, I want to make sure this is a good call for you. So what would make this call useful, helpful, valuable for you? Okay, so now we’ve taken the pressure off.


Will Bachman  51:25

Very helpful. Okay. So any final thoughts that we anything we didn’t cover?


David Fields  51:31

There’s probably a lot we haven’t covered. So people should ask questions. All right. Oh, and then we’ll,


Will Bachman  51:38

you referenced it. So I think you need to share a seven words, right. So before we’ve talked about this in other episodes, but in case someone hasn’t listened to those, you mentioned the turn, it’s probably good to just mention that here. Say what you mean by the term?


David Fields  51:52

The seven word. Okay. I will explain to turn the the preface to the turn is understanding when to use it, though there are a whole bunch of variations, we should do a whole thing on all the different ways you can use to turn I think it is one of the most powerful approaches or techniques that you can learn. For the purposes of what we’re talking about, you only use the turn if someone has brought up an opportunity. Meaning meeting someone who said, well, actually, I’m struggling you one of the big things I’m struggling with is throughput. And you happen to be an operations person right consultancy. Ooh, ding, ding, ding, I can work on that. But they have to bring it up. Then you use the terms attorney seven words, are you open to a separate conversation? It’s based on two principles, separation and agency. You have to understand that you are in a different context. And you’re you’re looking for a different context. Right now you’re in a relationship building context. It’s warm and fuzzy and into inviting and all of that. You want to have a conversation about business business is transactional. It’s pointy and sharp edge. And those two do not mix. Well those two contexts. So we have to change the context. The first step in changing the context. The first step in changing context is acknowledging that it’s a different context. That’s where separation comes into play. Are you open to a separate conversation? Separation? The second is agency, you have to make it at least appear like they have a choice. You’re not forcing it on them. Oh, man, will you need that? Can I show you how we do this? We are so good at it right now that just launch right into sales? I guess I will, that that operations throughput challenge you mentioned that’s like Senator the play for us. At some point, if you’d like to chat about it. I’d love to talk about how we might be able to solve that. I’m giving you the opportunity to decide you have agency. I’m finding the words are you open to because it implies agency, but there’s no one really wants to say oh, yeah, no, I’m actually a very close and close


Will Bachman  54:18

person. All right. Okay, listeners, that was the turn. Would you be open to a separate conversation? Masterful? David, this was a masterclass in outreach. Thank you so much. And listeners, go to David a fields.com and sign up for David’s blog. That’s the first thing I read every Wednesday. David was great speaking with you again. Thank you.


David Fields  54:41

Well, it is always such a pleasure. It was fun. Thank you so much.

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