March 25, 2024

An Idea, Executives at Home Depot, & Free Coffee

I tried a "crazy idea" cold email experiment this past week...

But before going into that…

I’d like to reflect on a pivotal moment from about 20 years ago when I picked up a copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

I began to look at everything I wanted to achieve by looking through the lens of others.  Partnerships, sales, business development. I even started experimenting with the principles anywhere I’d go.

I remember one time at the coffee shop. It was visible the girl taking my order either didn’t enjoy her job or was having a bad day. 

So I decided to comment on her necklace (or was it here shirt? I can’t remember exactly), and it softened everything in our interaction. Before I knew it we were having a nice conversation. 

I remember thinking “this actually works, how could it be so easy!?”

From then on, we would chat whenever I visited, and I often left with a free coffee. We became friends and have kept in touch to this day.

Shifting the dynamic from focusing solely on your needs to considering how others think and feel can dramatically turn things in your favor—and theirs. It’s a win-win situation.

This approach has served me well, enabling me to receive responses from busy individuals like Ryan Holiday, Mark Cuban, Gabor Mate, Tucker Max, and many others you may recognize.

The Experiment

Inspired by our desire to start homesteading in Colorado, my family and I envisioned building our home with our hands—a true family effort, involving the kids at every step.

I have been thinking how incredible it would be to document the entire process on video. This got me thinking:

Would companies like Home Depot, Lowe's, Ace Hardware, or even cabin kit manufacturers be interested in sponsoring us by providing some materials?

The only way to find out was to try. So, on Friday morning, I spent some time and:

  1. Found contacts for the CMOs and VPs of Marketing at major home improvement retailers.
  2. Scraped contacts from a few hundred cabin kit and modular home companies.
  3. Wrote an email that outlined our family dream, positioning these companies at the heart of our story that uplifts their brand—crafted in a way Dale Carnegie would approve of.
  4. Personalized the email with three follow-up automations and tracking.

From the idea to execution, the entire process took roughly 90 minutes.

TBD on the outcome. It’s a long shot, but who knows? The only way to find out is to try.

Mastering these skills goes far beyond sales tactics. In reality, there's hardly an area in business or life where cold emailing doesn’t hold potential.

For the past 15 years, these have been my strategies for winning friends and influencing people.

If you’re interested in learning everything I know about cold email, make sure to check out the Cold Email Accelerator.