How to get leads who are unaware of your product or services without sounding like a solicitor


We hate to be offered products and services when we are not expecting to spend money.

Ever been to an event that was completely free and you were so excited to attend to gain knowledge but it turned out to be an introduction to their paying event?

Did it make you angry?

You didn’t think, “Oh, this is a normal business technique,” even though you are a business owner yourself.

No. You thought, “You just wasted one hour of my life.”

There has to be a better way to do business.

Never without permission

I recently did an experiment and I’m embarrassed to say I did.

I had a list of 150 or so contacts from Realtor business cards and information that had been sent to me over the lapse of time I thought of creating Peanut Media Co. I saved every one of these contacts so that when I opened my doors, these people would be the first to contact.

I held on to these contacts and on our half birthday, I decided to introduce them to my services.


It could have been the fact that I decided to send them one of my weekly newsletters randomly. It could have been that these people had no idea who I was. Whatever the case was, not even the Peanut drew them to my website.

Out of the 154 contacts, only 61 contacts had opened the message in the first 24 hours. Out of those 61 only two clicked, but most importantly, 8 unsubscribed.

That’s not all.

As they unsubscribe, they have the following options to choose from:

  •  I no longer want to receive these emails
  •  I never signed up for this mailing list
  •  The emails are inappropriate
  •  The emails are spam and should be reported
  •  Other (fill in reason below)

1 chose not to leave a reason

2 chose “Never signed up for this mailing list”

3 chose “No longer want to receive these emails”

1 chose “The emails are spam and should be reported”

But my all time favorite was:

I didn’t create an email address to be harassed by you or others like you.

Yes,  the “Other” option was chosen as well.

Mind you, this email sent was the same type of email I send my clients once a week. One email with options on setting up their email, as seen on this blog post.

This comes to say that not everyone will be open to your cute logo.

Moral of the story

Creating an email list without permission is not worth it.

  1. You will be considered spam, no matter how awesome your newsletters are.
  2. It will give you a bad name and possibly close doors for future referrals.
  3. You get 2 clicks out of 60 opens. I get more views on LinkedIn and no one calls me a spammer.
  4. You are harassing people with that one email that did not mention selling them one single product.
  5. It just is not worth it.

So what can you do to make sales without sounding like a solicitor?

Free is always nice

Offering free webinars, free coupons and free advice gives you a rewarding outcome without breaking the bank. It is a call to action that consumers cannot refuse.

Always ask for something in return, of course. Like a subscription to your newsletter or a like on Facebook. It at least gives you a chance to offer your services with their permission.

Permission granted, set expectations

“Yes, I would like to subscribe to your newsletter for this free eBook” does not mean they are aware of what they are signing up to. It is best to set expectations, especially because you want to KEEP them on your email list.

Have a link to your website that explains your privacy policy. In that privacy policy, make sure to let them know how many emails a week they will receive and any surprises that may come along (we also send holiday related emails, sort of thing).

Business card extraction

We get business cards from different people and sometimes we feel it is okay to add them to our mailing list.


We still need permission.

I did this once and it turns out that these prospects will unsubscribe in the first two or three emails. It is possible that if expectations were set, that prospect would have stayed on the list and possibly become a sale in the near future.

When receiving business cards or contact information, send the person a follow up email.

Hi [Name here],

It was great to meet you.  [Insert something personal here so that the client does not feel this is a solicitation]. Please keep me in mind whenever you are in need of [your services]. I would like to add you to my newsletter to receive tips and tricks I send my clients about [what services you offer that you send DIYs of] if that is okay with you.
Thank you for the opportunity to stay in touch with you.

Your Name

Contact Info/Signature

This allows your prospect an opportunity to say no thank you or become aware that you will be sending something that may help them doing it themselves. They will also know that this an email you send to everybody and will not be offended when they receive it and it isn’t personalized or that you connect links to your website.

Awareness is your sales tool

Knowing your clients has its benefits, especially when it leaves you with the opportunity to be the one to offer them services. The people who do not know who you are will not care what you offer, even though they may need you. The fact is, you “stole” their email address and sent them emails without permission. Let them come to you and the rest follows.

And remember, your business may mostly come from referrals, so do not ruin your name for yourself!

I would like to apologize in advance to those contacts that received my email who were not aware were on my contact database. I did not mean to offend anyone with my newsletters.
Have you ever had an issue with unwanted emails? Did you feel embarrassed when people sent you to spam? What techniques have you done to prevent from being considered spam?

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