When you’re in the “funnel mindset”, you count leads instead of people.
A funnel mindset means blasting your message to everyone you can–even if they didn’t ask to hear it–and then filtering, filtering, filtering.
Sometimes, the odd little fish swims all the way through. In a funnel mindset, these are “qualified leads”, and it’s worth going through 300 real people to find one of them.
But what happens to the other 299?
It all depends on permission.
If 300 people sign up for your email list, they’ve given you permission to continue the conversation. They might not like–or even read–every message you send them; they might eventually even opt out of your list. But they won’t hit ‘spam’. And they won’t get angry.
If, though, you DON’T have their permission, they’ll recognize spam for what it is. They’ll opt out. And worse, the tactic will backfire. They’ll actually be LESS likely to use your service in the future. Think about that weird guy at the bar: he approaches 300 women. One of them goes home with him. The other 299 are repulsed. Did he win?
(Here’s a hint: ask him in the morning.)
Dan Pink wrote about “the backfire effect” in “To Sell is Human“, and it’s been the subject of study for years now. It’s been studied by behaviorists like Kaplan and Gimbel, and email marketers have been avoiding it since–well, since their second email backfired.
Here’s what Seth Godin wrote about it in 2008:
“Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.”
You should read the rest of his post here.
I teach permission marketing to the TwoBrain family of entrepreneurs. And if you’re reading this, it’s because you’ve given me permission to continue our conversation. Thank you.
A conversation is a beautiful thing. It’s a powerful sales tool. But it can’t be imposed upon anyone. If you’re trying to sell, don’t buy the list: build it.