With a Response Rate of Zero, Our Spring Sales Drive Could Not Be Off to a Hotter Start
Throughout our careers we've always aimed for the stars, but we never could have imagined this...
With spring comes renewal. After three years deep in the weeds on a handful of intensely complex and challenging websites, apps, and ecommerce projects, Timmy and I decided to refocus our efforts on partnering with creative agencies to work on more visually interesting and engaging marketing projects that had a more artistic core.
To this end, we launched our new studio site in April to near universal acclaim. Just take this comment we received from my mom’s friend, Judy. Judy is the lead instructor of a “How to Use Your Smartphone” class for seniors at the local library.
“Well, I guess a site like this...hmmm...I mean, the fact that there are people out there that like this kind of stuff and think it’s funny, it’s a sign I’m getting on in years. It’s certainly not the website I would build.”
Now more than ever, brands are looking to get younger, hipper, and more eclectic. To know our site turned off a wide swath of the 60 and older population helped validate one of Timmy and I’s key premises, mainly that our site should appeal to the hippest, coolest, most eclectic cats in the entire neighborhood and make literally no sense to anyone else.
After a successful launch, my own attention turned to acquiring new projects. While most of our work through the years has developed organically through word of mouth and the continued success of our small client base, I do bring a wealth of sales experience to the table. At 11, I sold six large plastic tubs worth of classical art-inspired umbrellas that were given to me by a family friend who needed to quickly flee the state after a warrant was issued for his arrest. Using half of my mom’s designated space at the Saturday farmers market in Hilo, Hawaii, I sold umbrella after umbrella for months while my mom gave tarot readings. The proof is in the pudding, folks.
While my natural salesmanship is second to none, selling websites is different than umbrellas in several key ways. For one, they are not of immediate interest to the eldery. Also, they’re not very useful in the rain. Selling websites requires a thoughtful, creative approach, one that stands out from the crowd.
Being that the high-powered creative titans I would be contacting would surely be inundated with uninspired emails and DMs inquiring about work, I decided to do something much more analog. I would write them a letter. You know, a letter, like the things you have to buy stamps for.
Over the course of a couple weeks, I would spend hour after hour drafting intricate creative stories involving Timmy and I. Each one would be hysterical, but also weirdly believable. We would be failed restaurateurs looking to bounce back or low-life entrepreneurs slinging candles in the Texas rave scene or naive dinner guests who get caught up in their host’s cult rituals. Here’s a few of the good ones:
I wrote ten in total as a trial. I signed them. Addressed them. I sent them on their way. I have yet to hear a word back, from anyone. Nothing. Nada. It’s been several weeks.
We couldn’t be more excited.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “Why would we consider this a success and not an abysmal failure and complete waste of time?” That’s simple. Had people responded quickly, or even worse, with some small, literally-10-seconds-of-your-life token of acknowledgement, this would have precluded the far superior, and quite frankly, increasingly more likely outcomes, a few of which I’ve outlined below.
The potential client didn’t respond because:
- [Agency A] They are preparing a massive feast in our honor at their corporate headquarters. This undertaking will require coordination between event planners, caterers, orchestras, ballet dancers, pyrotechnics teams, and aquatic seal troops. This takes time. Plus, Cindy and a couple other employees are on vacation. They cannot possibly miss this feast, and thus an announcement must be postponed until their return.
- [Agency B] They know we’ve contacted other agencies, one of which is most certainly hosting a feast in our honor, and want to literally sweep us off our feet beforehand. They are sending a private jet to whisk us away to a private meeting in the Bahamas. They know superficial demonstrations of wealth and status do nothing for us, so they’re taking the time to do a custom vinyl wrap of the entire plane depicting Timmy and I as powerful pharaohs in ancient Egypt.
- [Agency C] They know larger agencies are planning a huge feast and sending private jets to wow us. They can’t compete with that, nor should they. Instead, they are leaning on some of their personal connections from the 6am class at Soul Cycle Santa Monica. Ryan Gosling, Sam Harris, Emma Stone, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Chan Marshall, as well as Michelle Obama (and maybe Barack) have all tentatively agreed to a casual game night at the potential client’s home and we’re invited. Now it’s just a matter of finding a day that works for everyone before they surprise us.
Needless to say, Timmy and I are positively giddy about the prospects of some major splashes in the very near future. Just look at this spreadsheet of companies we’ve contacted and whether they have responded or not.
Due to some of our potential clients’ connections to the Yakuza in Japan, as well as the Russian mob, we have blurred their names.
Here at Feral, we’re all about visualizing data in new and interesting ways. Check out this comparison chart.
Look at all that red! And there’s more where that came from too. What all these fine establishments could be planning for us, we can only imagine! And imagine we will, because at the moment there is very little else for us to do.
Some say starting a new business is tough. With all the challenges that you face: the long nights spent awake wondering if something—anything—will work, the difficulty in putting yourself out there to be judged again and again, the balancing act between the cool, carefree image of success that people love and the ever present anxiety that this actually matters to you and it matters quite a lot, it can be easy to see how some business owners can find themselves alone at their desk on 11pm on a Saturday staring into the void, tears welling up in their eyes. Not Timmy and I. We’re not like this. No, no, nope. This stuff never crosses our mind, not even for a second.
We perspire prosperity. Our presence alters destinies. Our gazes evoke poems. Our dandruff is but tiny clumps of gold. No, we look confidently upward, our bags packed, waiting for our feast of the ages, our jet to the Bahamas, our game night with all our favorite people.
What else can you do, right?