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The Formula For Cold Email Outreach with Kevin Dorsey

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Get Kevin Dorsey's formula for cold email based on thousands of emails he's written and sent through his work as VP of Sales at PatientPop. You'll learn how Kevin turns bland outreach into responses and meetings, the amount of research and personalization you need in order to be successful at cold outreach, and whether it'll keep working in the future.

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Check out the four sales fundamentals every top performer masters, how to use value-based selling to increase your leverage, and how to improve your remote selling skills as the world becomes more virtual. 

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The Formula For Cold Email Outreach with Kevin Dorsey:

Full Transcript

Kevin Dorsey:
What people forget also in email is the emotional side. Most emails you read today are too logical. KD, you’re a VP of Sales, that means you do this, we do this, book 30 minutes with me. If it were that easy, I wouldn’t need salespeople. It’s the emotional side that most people are missing. Hey, KD, you’re a VP, which means you probably feel this, which might be causing this emotion. We can help fix that emotion and give you desired future, which should make you feel like this, let me know if you’re open to some help.

Kevin Dorsey:
Totally different setup, but you pull it back to one of those things and you find what matters, because you might be money motivated. I might just be so stressed out that I can’t even think about money, right? It’s finding which emotional trigger makes the biggest difference.

Liston Witherill:
That’s Kevin Dorsey, VP of Inside Sales at PatientPop, where he’s written so many cold emails that they could fill the pages of an entire book. When I saw the Kevin was taking part in the Think Outside the Script summer virtual tour, I was intrigued by his headline. He claims that there’s a formula for writing highly effective cold outreach. The kind that actually get responses. Now, if you’ve done any Googling at all, you know that the allure of formulas is the siren song of business. I’ve heard it thousands of times and usually it’s a huge disappointment, but Kevin’s promise is a little bit different.

Liston Witherill:
It comes from in the trenches, fingers on the keyboard experience that’s reflected in a dashboard seen by his whole company, and you can’t argue with the results. PatientPop, his company, is growing really fast, and yet cold outreach keeps getting harder and harder. But according to Kevin, the basic formula doesn’t change, and that formula is timeless because people don’t change all that fast, even as the market rapidly reconfigures around us. In this episode of Modern Sales, I’m bringing you my conversation with Kevin Dorsey to discuss his formula for cold outreach, the amount of research and personalization you need in order to be successful at cold outreach, and whether it’ll keep working in the future.

Liston Witherill:
Welcome to Modern Sales, a podcast that’ll help you sell more by understanding how people buy. I’m your host, Liston Witherill, founder of Serve Don’t Sell, and I dig through academic research, interview people inside and outside of sales, and nerd out on the psychology, economics, and neuroscience to figure out how people make decisions. I am on a mission to change the way 100 million people sell so that buying B2B services can be just as gratifying as a responsible socially distanced hangout with a good friend. Wouldn’t that be nice.

Liston Witherill:
If you’re listening on Spotify hit that follow button so that you don’t miss an episode. If you’re listening on iTunes or Apple podcasts, please subscribe and leave an honest review. As long as it’s five stars, we’ll let four star slide, but you get it. It helps me get the word out for the show so that we can together change the way a hundred million people sell. Thank you in advance for your help.

Liston Witherill:
And now a quick announcement. I mentioned in the opening about Kevin Dorsey being part of the Think Outside the Script summer virtual tour, that’s put on by my friend, Jason Bay, a veteran of this podcast. He runs Blissful Prospecting along with his wife, Sarah, and they’re putting on a summer virtual tour with over 40 speakers. I’ll be a part of it in August, but you can sign up now and catch some really, really, really fantastic people. A lot of whom have been on this podcast before, and if you haven’t heard of a lot of these folks are definitely worth checking out. It’s totally free to sign up. I highly recommend it. All you have to do is go to tour.blissfulprospecting.com, just how it sounds, to sign up. It’s totally free and I highly recommend it.

Liston Witherill:
Now to the big question today, how do you apply a formula to your cold emails without coming across as robotic and completely tanking your open and reply rates? Find out in my conversation with Kevin Dorsey right after this short break.

Liston Witherill:
Welcome back to Modern Sales, I’m Liston Witherill and I am here with a very special guest, Kevin Dorsey, VP of Inside Sales at PatientPop. Welcome to the podcast.

Kevin Dorsey:
Hey, I’m excited to be here, my man, ready to dive in and see where this conversation takes us.

Liston Witherill:
I was looking at a event that we’re both involved in called Think Outside the Script, which by the way, the acronym is TOTS, which makes me very happy. I noticed the title of your talk is about the formula for writing a winning cold email. So this idea of a formula really caught my attention. So that’s what we’re going to talk about today. I do want you to tell me really quickly, why should we pay attention to you about a formula for writing cold emails?

Kevin Dorsey:
Ooh, asking the salesperson to sell himself. I guess why should people pay attention is because I’ve been studying copy for over a decade now. I’m a firm believer in strong copywriting and direct response type marketing. Up until literally this year, I’ve written every single email cadence that my sales teams have used and I’ve scaled teams from zero reps over a hundred reps in my career now. Email has always played a really strong part of that. I think as a side note there I’m a cold caller for life, Always probably will be, but I also hate cold calling. So I was the better I get at email, the less cold calls I have to make. So I’ve seen a lot of success with email and continue to adapt it and change it. So hopefully that gives me enough clout to talk about it, but everyone’s going to have to try it for themselves and they’re going to have to test out what I say, see if it works for them too.

Liston Witherill:
It’s funny you say that, I occasionally get emails from people who read my email newsletter and say, I wish I could write copy like you and they’ll ask what are some books I recommend. Which I always do give them a few book ideas. And then I say, but you know, the real secret to writing good copy is writing a lot of bad copy.

Kevin Dorsey:
Over and over. You just write and you write and I’ve had so many times where I’m like, Ooh, this is going to be good. Oh, that, yep. This email right here. I’ve got the golden goose and it’ll come back with a 0% response rate. I’m like, Oh, all right, well, so that didn’t work. Let’s try it all over again, right? And I think that’s where getting formulas and things that you really look for are important. So hopefully that’s what we dive into a little bit here.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah. With that in mind. I mean this idea of a formula, we’ll get there in the next question, but first off, the title of your talk is the Formula for Writing a Winning Email. What is a winning email?

Kevin Dorsey:
To me, a winning email is they take the desired action you’re looking for. Which isn’t always a response. I think that also might catch people off guard a little bit. It’s to me a winning email’s they do what I’m asking them to do in that email. So sometimes that’s a response. Sometimes that’s booking a meeting. Sometimes that’s clicking on a link, watching a video, reading an article. It’s can I drive change of behavior through an email? That’s what a winning email is to me.

Liston Witherill:
Okay. So let’s talk about the formula now. What is your formula for writing a winning email?

Kevin Dorsey:
We’ll break this down and it’s KDFIC. The KD actually is an accident. That was not on purpose when I built out this formula. People think I’m that narcissistic. I’m like, no, seriously, that’s not how it worked out. It just is what it is. So it’s KDFIC, which stands for Know, Did, Found, Impact, Call to Action. We can break each one of those down, but that’s the formula that I like to follow, especially on cold emails, but even for proposals and things like that it’s almost always, here’s what I know about you. Here’s what I did because of what I know. Here’s what I found is the impact of what I found. Here’s the call to action. And that can apply to all sorts of different emails that you send, whether it’s cold, warm, referral, inbound, outbound. If it has most of those elements in there that’s to me what that formula is.

Liston Witherill:
Can you give us an example of how you would apply this formula either to the work that you do? Or maybe just even make up an example on the spot here?

Kevin Dorsey:
Yeah. Well, I mean, we’ll combine this all the way through, right? Of say you’re going after executives, right? You’re going after VPs and above. VPs, SVPs, C level individuals. One of my favorite tactics going after there is I’ll target low first. So I’ll target someone on the lower level and end users. Like, here’s what I know. So here’s what I know about … “hey, I see that you are a Director of demand gen and because of that, I took a look at your website and I saw you run some display ads. I found they worked pretty well, but I was wondering, do you struggle with X, Y, Z at all?” Right? So I’m going low, right? It’s like, do you struggle with this problem or this problem at all? Just let me know. So I’m not asking for a meeting. I’m not asking, but if I can find out they struggle with something at a low end, then you go to the VP level.

Kevin Dorsey:
Now you can say, here’s what I know. “I know your company struggles with X. I know you struggle with X. Here’s what I did, because I know that, I spoke to a couple of your demand gen managers, and I found out this is happening right now. This is the impact of that, right? It’s probably causing your lead conversion to be lower, it’s causing your web traffic to go down. I found a great article that talks about actually how to shore this up quickly and cheaply, give it a read and let me know as you say, right?” So that would be a formula, right? It’s taking what you know, and putting it in front. But I love going low for information, middle for insight, top for influence. But the best way to get in touch with people at the top level is tell them things about their business that they probably didn’t know. And you learn that from the bottom.

Liston Witherill:
And do you find that going to the people at the top, does that give them this feeling of you’re out there working all these different angles and coming back to them with something they should have known. Does that feel sneaky to them at all?

Kevin Dorsey:
Not if you put it in the right format, right? If you present it in a way where it’s like, did you know this? Then it starts to feel like you’re accusing me of not doing my job, but in terms of great copy, I would reverse it. And it’s like, I’m sure you already know this, but like a lot of VPs, you might be too busy to handle it. That reverses it, right? It takes the blame off of you, right? If you’re really into copy, you know this too, picking a common enemy is a classic technique in good copy. So it’s like, “Hey, I’m sure you already know this. I know it because I spoke to a few of your managers. I’m sure you know it because this is your world. But I also know a lot of VPs struggle to find the time to handle this because they’re already dealing with X, Y, and Z. Here’s the impact of that. Right? It’s costing money here. I might be able to help you fix this and a few other things I’ve found. Shoot me back some times you’d be available.” Right? So it’s all about how you craft it versus if you did, if you’re like, “Hey, I found out from your demand gen managers, you’re not even tracking click through rates. What kind of VP are you? Don’t do that, bad for you.”

Liston Witherill:
Now in terms of impact, do you typically think of that as money made, money lost? Is it all in terms of money?

Kevin Dorsey:
No, definitely not. It needs to rotate through different things. And this is also the beauty of emails. You get to test what people respond best to. So actually there’s a really good book, I think it’s called the Secrets of Copywriting. Now, of course I’m butchering it right now, but what they put in there as they had 10 reasons why people buy anything, 10 reasons why people buy anything. I actually posted about this on LinkedIn, this is probably I think four or five months ago. I said, “Can anyone get something that they missed?” And only one person could get something that they missed. The 10 things are, make money, save money, save time, avoid effort, escape mental or physical pain, get more comfort, achieve greater cleanliness or hygiene or health, gain praise, feel more loved, increased popularity or social status. Those were the 10 in the book.

Kevin Dorsey:
And then the one that someone added I’m like, yep, that didn’t fall into another bucket, was joy. Joy for themselves or for others. So if you take those 11 things, those are all potential impacts. And you need to look at every email you ever write and say, am I speaking to any of these things? Because what people forget also in email is the emotional side. Most emails you read today are too logical. “KD, you’re a VP of Sales. That means you do this. We do this, book 30 minutes with me.” If it we’re that easy, I wouldn’t need salespeople. It’s the emotional side that most people are missing. “Hey, KD, you’re a VP, which means you probably feel this which might be causing this emotion. We can help fix that emotion and give you desired future, which should make you feel like this. Let me know if you’re open to some help.” Totally different setup, but you pull it back to one of those things and you find what matters. Because you might be money motivated. I might just be so stressed out that I can’t even think about money, right? It’s finding which emotional trigger makes the biggest difference.

Liston Witherill:
So one thing I would add to your list of why people buy is to reduce risk or increase certainty, which are two sides of the same coin. But I didn’t hear that on the list.

Kevin Dorsey:
I think that one I would respond is certainty towards what? Right? So if you go to another layer, deeper, like reduce risk of losing money, of effort. That’s a good one. I think that one, I can see that would being an extra. We’ll bump it to 12. All right, I’m going to put that one down. I like it. The 12 reasons.

Liston Witherill:
I wasn’t lobbying for number 12, but it’s your list after all.

Kevin Dorsey:
Well, it’s not only 11 was mine. The other 10 I got from the book. Now you’ve got number 12. This is good.

Liston Witherill:
Deal. Tell me, does this formula work for any business, for any type of thing that I sell? And in particular I think about, I know at PatientPop, what you guys sell is kind of faster moving, high velocity. I’ve had Justin on the podcast. He talked about that a little bit, but essentially as I understand it, there’s a software platform plus marketing services. It tends to be kind of a faster decision. Once someone raises their hand and says, I’m interested versus really, really complex long sales cycles. Do you think this formula is equally applicable across any client type or any type of sale?

Kevin Dorsey:
Absolutely. Because one we’re talking about emails right now. We’re not talking about selling, right? Like we are talking about just how to build awareness, but which is easier to find information out on? SMB or enterprise? Where can I find more information? Enterprise or SMB?

Liston Witherill:
Is that a question?

Kevin Dorsey:
It is a question. Where is it easy to find info?

Liston Witherill:
Info about the company you’re saying?

Kevin Dorsey:
About the company or about the employees.

Liston Witherill:
Sure, enterprise.

Kevin Dorsey:
Right? It actually is easier to do in enterprise because information is more accessible. When I’m going after Bob’s Podiatry in Spokane, Washington, do you think Bob’s all over LinkedIn? Has released a 10K? Has put any information out, posts regularly, has a blog? There’s not a lot of content there. Whereas going after enterprise, you have not only so much more information you can leverage, but also different points of access. When you’re prospecting into SMB oftentimes there’s only one person you can go after. Enterprise, if I’ve got 10 people in this position, four people in that position and two at the top, I’ve got all sorts of layers to work for. So yeah, the formula works and oftentimes actually even works better in enterprise because access to information is a little bit clearer.

Liston Witherill:
So I know you’ve written a lot of copy for your team. I assume you’ve also trained some of the people on your team to write copy for themselves as well. Is that right?

Kevin Dorsey:
Yes.

Liston Witherill:
So where do you typically start with them? What is the first lesson in the Kevin Dorsey school of copywriting for sales?

Kevin Dorsey:
The first lesson is curiosity. The first lesson is curiosity. When writing emails, I want you thinking, how can I make the person curious enough to take the next step? So the first, truly the first thing we work on is the first sentence, right? How can you write a first sentence that causes enough curiosity to make the person open? I have tested this. The first sentence trumps the subject line when it comes to open rates and I’ve done tons and tons and tons of split testing across this, because now with everyone on mobile and Gmail, you can read the first, I think it’s like 10 to 15 words. If you pay attention how your eyes work with email, you look at who sent it, first sentence, subject line. So the first place we work on is the first sentence. How can you build curiosity enough in that first sentence? And it has to be about the person you’re targeting, not yourself.

Kevin Dorsey:
So that’s where we start. So literally we’ll pull up a practice on the TV and go write me a first sentence about this practice. So that’s where we start first. The second thing that we work on is problem-based language, not talking about the products, but talking about the problems our product solves. That’s the next layer of copywriting that we teach. Then we do teach them this formula, right? The KDFIC. Okay, here’s what you know, you did your research. Here’s what you did. Cool. What’s the impact of what you found. Great. Call to action. Tell them what to do. So then we work through that, but we do. We make them write emails and we’ll grade and score. Like we have a full email training program that we take people through. And I don’t think enough sales teams really actually focus on this.

Liston Witherill:
Tell me more about the D in KDFIC. Did, here’s what I did. What are some things that you do before you prospect?

Kevin Dorsey:
So that could be, I looked at your website. I was on your LinkedIn. I spoke to people at your company. I reviewed your profit or your revenue reports. I spoke to a competitor. I spoke to a referral, right? It’s putting in some action of what I did based off what I know about you. That could even be, I put together these resources. I went and found this article. I grabbed this excerpt from the book, right? That’s what makes call like a formula. Formulas, there’s so many different things that can fall into each bucket. So those are some of the DIDs there.

Liston Witherill:
In your experience, people writing emails either for the first time, or maybe they have no formal training, what do they get hung up on? You mentioned curiosity, you mentioned problem-based language as opposed to feature based or solution-based language. What are some of the key problems that you see?

Kevin Dorsey:
The key problems I see when people are writing emails for the first time is they make them about themselves and not the prospect. “Hi, I’m Kevin. I’m the new regional director in your territory. I work for Super Biz. We do X, Y, Z things. I’d love to get 20 minutes on your calendar to find out if we can be a service.” And a lot of people listening right now will be like, Oh, those are my emails. Go check your emails and see how often you talk about yourself versus the prospect. So I’d say that’s probably one of the biggest is people talk about themselves and not the prospect. The other ones is they ignore the emotional side. They make it too logical. And for a lot of people, I’d say the biggest mistake is they take too long to write the emails. They’ll spend an hour crafting this perfect email and then get really upset when it doesn’t get a response. So I think time too, is people take too long sometimes to write these emails. Which is nice sometimes about a formula is you can kind of quickly, okay, did I hit all these things? Yes.

Kevin Dorsey:
Now not every email has to have all of these, but if you can have all these, that’s going to be a good setup for a good email.

Liston Witherill:
How do you think about personalization at this point? Because I’ve had lots of people in the sales community on this podcast, and everybody says, be authentic, personalize everything. But at the same time, by the way, they forget to mention it’s harder and harder to get a response, right. It takes more emails, more phone calls. So like, how do we balance this trade off between time and personalization? Because you point out you can’t spend an hour writing an email. So how do you think about that internally?

Kevin Dorsey:
So the way we look at it internally is we will go back and forth between the two. Right? But also if you were to look at my cadences or the emails we have in place, we’re only personalizing parts of it, right? So it’s like we have the formula built in place because okay, personalize the first sentence and the first sentence only. Or put in, and you can even go so far as here’s information off persona. Right? So I was actually just talking about this with someone earlier today, the difference between customization and personalization. A lot of people also think customization is personalization. It’s not. Personalization means it could only have been sent to that person to make sense. Customization, those are all your dynamic tags, right? You know, I see you’re a insert title and you work at insert company, but that’s not personalization.

Kevin Dorsey:
So I like to be very specific. This is the parts that you’re going to personalize and that’s it. But also varying, it’s not personalizing every single email. I like personalizing in the beginning and at the end. Most people too, they’re too addicted to speed right now. So they’re hoping that, okay, I got to get a response on the first email. So no, and more and more, I actually am not even trying to get a response on the first email. I’m trying to get engagement on that first email. Can I get you to click something, to watch something, to read something, right? I’m trying to build awareness, right? So I’m playing the long game. Well, everyone out here is trying to blast on those first couple emails. I’m making sure they’re aware of my company, aware of my rep, actually trying to provide some value and awareness and then starting to make asks a little bit later than I used to.

Liston Witherill:
Do you think about that as like a month long process, a quarter process, an annual process?

Kevin Dorsey:
All the above, right? So you have, say we’re going after prospecting, even if it’s enterprise, right? Doesn’t really matter that much to me. You run them through the initial cadence, right? The initial cadence of trying to set that meeting. That should run anywhere from four to six weeks.

Liston Witherill:
So that initial cadence four to six weeks, you’re thinking, Hey, if they got a problem right now, we should just get them on the phone. Is that the idea?

Kevin Dorsey:
Yeah. Correct. Like I’m trying to set that meeting and also potentially try to make them aware of the problem. So some emails that work very well is giving them questions to ask. Here’s a checklist of things to look at. Can you make them start to think about the problem? So you’re building those things up over time. Now say you run it through the full case. You got nothing, right? You made seven, eight calls. You send them seven, eight emails, nothing happens, right? Well that was six weeks. Well then you should put them into a slow nurture type cadence, just a light touch every 30 days or so. Retarget, but then with a new cadence, right? I notice these things because I’m a sales leader and I pay attention to copy where I get targeted by the same company, by a different rep, with the exact same emails, the last rep sent me.

Kevin Dorsey:
Why do you think it’s going to work any better this time, right? So if you’re retargeting them with the same language you used last time it’s not going to work, right? So we have generally two cadences we’ll run someone through before we really put them on ice and let them sit for a while. But then also back to enterprise versus SMB, enterprise, then I can isolate that prospect and go after someone new. If I’m going after Bob at Bob’s Podiatry, I got to come up with a whole nother cadence the next time, because there’s only one person I’m going after.

Liston Witherill:
And so when you say put them on ice, that’s essentially like an email newsletter, like a monthly touch of “Hey, we came out with this new thing that helps people like you,” that kind of thing?

Kevin Dorsey:
Yes is the answer. I’m not a huge fan of those really. I know personally for me, I haven’t really seen them work that well. I’ve seen the one to one emails outperform the company to people emails.

Liston Witherill:
And the key difference being one to one plain text looks like I wrote it from my inbox company email. There’s banners and branding and all this other kind of stuff on it.

Kevin Dorsey:
Correct. And back to what we were talking about before around awareness and familiarity, you’ve seen my name before. The more times you see my name, the higher likelihood you’re going to engage, right? So when it’s, you’ve seen Kevin, Kevin, Kevin, Kevin, and then all of a sudden, now you’re seeing Super Biz, info@superbiz, right? You’re like, great. And now that tarnishes me the rep the next time I want to reach out because I’ve been seeing Super Biz and I haven’t been liking what I’m getting. Versus, I’d rather have the nurture come from that rep because also too, some companies have it built out the right way, not a lot of them, but if it’s coming from marketing, the rep doesn’t see the engagement. So alright, marketing sent that nurture email out, say that person did open the email, did click the email, did read the article. Someone should be calling that immediately. The rep may not know because it didn’t come from them. Whereas if you’re using a sales loft and outreach, like those types of companies and you are aware of it, now the rep can actually do something with it. It can get moved back up into the process again.

Liston Witherill:
So essentially what you’re saying is the nurture sequence functions. Like you’re delivering information that’s coming from marketing, but it’s from this particular rep and it’s not personalized. I’m guessing.

Kevin Dorsey:
Not often, but I don’t have them as much now, because again, I can only nurture so much with going after one, two people at a practice. But at Snack Nation, when we were doing enterprise size accounts, every 60 days there was a personalization. It was just simple, light. But every 60 it was worth doing one personalization, right? Just something just to see. But normally I would do it based off engagement. If they haven’t opened my emails in three weeks, I’m not personalizing. If they’re opening, I at least know they’re seeing it. It gives me a higher chance to actually get a response back by personalizing.

Liston Witherill:
Okay. So now I’m curious about some of these tracking things you said, because I rely on them quite a bit in my business, also. I can see who opens emails and I do lead scoring on the backend of my mainly email marketing. I don’t do a lot of cold prospecting, but do you foresee, I think of the world as everything’s going to go the way of GDPR, where there’s going to be some limits on what we can observe, the sort of digital body language of how people are behaving. How do you see that changing the way you approach prospecting, especially within a large organization, that’s really built on it?

Kevin Dorsey:
We’re getting to the future of sales conversation, right?

Liston Witherill:
Yes.

Kevin Dorsey:
So short term, I’m going to do whatever I can and that is allowed by the law. I don’t believe in skirting it. I think when people do they get in trouble, even things like with nurture, you have a lot of companies out there that are targeting somebody outbound. They don’t respond, then they move them to an automated marketing cadence. You can’t do that. They didn’t opt in for that marketing automation, right? So a lot of companies are already doing that wrong. But when I do believe, and this might be controversial, I will not be shocked if in the next five to seven years, cold calling is not allowed, that cold email prospecting may be extremely limited and we may lose the potential to see who’s engaging or be able to take action based off of it. Outbound starts to become a highly, it’s almost like inbound in a way of really it’s education-based and you only get to engage with people that raise their hand.

Liston Witherill:
Right. Which means you’d have to advertise more in order to attract those people to your educational content and then have permission to reach out to them.

Kevin Dorsey:
Right. And will they ever shut down cold emailing? I don’t know if they’ll go that far. They might, they might do that. And then it is, now you’re talking like it’s pure, brand building educational type content. Because if you can’t email me and you can’t cold call me, then you just have to be places that I’m looking, which then goes into the next topic, right? Of well, if you can’t cookie people either, how can you put their content in front of it? And it’s almost like your sales team starts to become they’re on all the forums, they’re on all over LinkedIn, they’re dropping education wherever they can. Right? The CEOs have to become the face again. There’s a lot of CEOs that are no longer the face of their companies and actually being thought leaders in their space and they’re going to need to be. Really need to be.

Liston Witherill:
Well and I think also you could imagine a scenario where larger companies invest in individual communities to attract all their customer types, where they become the center of the community. I also think in the world that you’re describing, that would be the best case scenario for LinkedIn because suddenly they’re one of the only channels that gives you direct access to people.

Kevin Dorsey:
But asterisk, sales and marketers love LinkedIn. We are not the majority of who’s buying in this country, right? In the software world we are, but manufacturing, retail?

Liston Witherill:
Oh sure. Of course your market would have to be on LinkedIn.

Kevin Dorsey:
Right, your market has to be there. That’s what will be very interesting. But then I also feel like being a power user of LinkedIn I can see some of the things that I think they’re trying to gear towards. If LinkedIn becomes your only point of access, it becomes so much more flooded and spammy than it is right now that I think people get off of it.

Liston Witherill:
Let’s wrap up there. Tell me what your thoughts are about where LinkedIn is going. I have some strong feelings about this.

Kevin Dorsey:
Whoo boy, where I think they’re going or where I think they should go? Because I think those are two different things. I think LinkedIn is going to try to monetize more heavily than they are right now. I think they are going to try to control communication. Something LinkedIn has never done, but I won’t be shocked when they do is give contact info away. You got all these scrapers, you got all these tools that try to pull things off. The moment LinkedIn decides to be the data source they’ll make billions of dollars, but then people will get off the platform.

Liston Witherill:
Exactly. I think that’s why they haven’t done it.

Kevin Dorsey:
Right. So right now it’s really turning into a sales and marketing space. It’s getting very, very noisy because everyone’s now trying to put like content out there. Because that’s not what LinkedIn was. Right. I’ve been on LinkedIn for a long time now, you have as well, there weren’t thought leaders 10 years ago, there wasn’t brand building. There wasn’t all these webinars and contents, it was kind of like a Facebook and you connected with people and maybe you wrote an article here or there. That was it. Now it’s getting so noisy that I believe LinkedIn also will create levels. Like, okay, not premium where it’s features, but it’s like, all right, if you actually want to subscribe to people, if you want to clear the noise, if you don’t want ads, if you don’t want people to be … I feel like they go to levels. It’ll be very interesting to watch how sales and marketing evolve when that happens.

Liston Witherill:
And is that what you think they will do or what you think they should do?

Kevin Dorsey:
I think they will do levels. I do think they will do levels. Do I think they should? Not really. No. Because I think it starts to get very complicated and difficult to manage, right? Like what are these different levels? Who’s in, how you keep those things there. But I do think they will and will eventually, and I think they should, provide a limit to who can reach out to you. I think they’re going to have to, because everyone’s building tools on top of LinkedIn now, right? Of these scrapers and these pullers. I get at least once a day and this is up now from a month, I get someone that forwards me an email. It says “Hey, I saw you liked Kevin Dorsey’s posts.” Now you’ve got people scraping posts, right? Oh, you liked it, because you liked it I’m going to use that as my automated outreach. So I don’t know, they’re going to have to lock it up more, but then that makes it harder for salespeople to use to make sales. And that’s what it’s really turning into.

Liston Witherill:
Well, I think they have a real problem in that there’s no way for them to really tell the difference between a human and a bot if the bot is executed correctly. That’s why you still see … I’m inundated, you must get more of this, with people who send a message and then you make the mistake of accepting and then you get three automated messages and you’re like, okay, spam. For me one of the obvious things that they could do is value price your outreach. So they could value price the InMail, for instance, right? Cost more to get ahold of a CEO than it costs to get ahold of a director level person. That can be an obvious thing. I hadn’t thought about a subscription where you could get rid of all advertising. But the reality is advertising is only 20% of their revenue. 80% of it comes from the sales tool and the recruiting tool. And so I think, especially with the explosion of content, which they’ve definitely invested a lot of time and money and I guess as the reality is, they’ve tried to promote people like you or other voices we see on LinkedIn. You start to invest in LinkedIn as this content distribution platform. Eventually they’re just going to be like, you know what, Kevin, you still want to get views, you’re going to have to pay for it.

Kevin Dorsey:
Okay. I actually think if they’re smart, this is what I think they should do. If they’re smart, it’d be the opposite. They’d pay me to stay. The amount of traffic I drive on LinkedIn is ridiculous. Right? I’m starting to move off of LinkedIn. If they were smart, as opposed to charging me, right? Is saying, “No, we want to keep you on this platform. We’ll pay you, we’ll actually badge you, we’ll give you that influencer title. We’ll give you a rev share,” right? People like me and Justin and Colin and Scott, I think Justin just posted his numbers the other day. He’s over 4 million views in the past 45 days. That means there’s 4 million people engaging with his content on LinkedIn. That means there’s 4 million people engaging on LinkedIn because of what he is doing, right? That’s money to LinkedIn. If they’re smart, they want to keep me there. But people like me, people like DG. I know there’s a other people coming. We’re starting to start our own things on the side.

Liston Witherill:
Of course. As you should.

Kevin Dorsey:
Because on LinkedIn, it’s 1300 characters and there’s not a way to actually catalog your work. There’s not a way to search your posts. I dropped some really good stuff two years ago. No one’s ever seen it.

Liston Witherill:
Well, not only that, as you pointed out, they don’t really care about you. What they care about is evolving the platform in a way that basically supports Microsoft, Microsoft Dynamics, right? So maybe Dynamics will be the only way to get the information. I don’t know.

Kevin Dorsey:
If they found a way to catalog this information and make it actually searchable, that is something people would pay for and to stay on there. But with the 117-some podcasts and the hundreds of influencers and thousands of people trying to build their brand with no weight, I would love to be able to pull up every post that talked about cold calling. I can’t do that. Even the hashtag doesn’t actually work that way. And it only pulls up the recent. What if I wanted the best posts on cold calling? Can’t. Can’t find it. There’s no way. Right? I think they should build that.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah. I think that’s just a reflection of poor software.

Kevin Dorsey:
Oh God. Yeah.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah. Right. Alright, sir. Well, thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate it. You’ve shared a lot about writing a winning email formula. We’ve talked about the future of sales and definitely settled it. If people wanted to learn more about you or get in touch with you directly, what should they do?

Kevin Dorsey:
Yeah, I mean, they can find me on LinkedIn. It actually is my only social channel. I don’t have Twitter. I don’t have Snap or Tick Tock or any of that. So you can find me on LinkedIn. I did just start my Patrion group as well. It’s a private group where I’m doing in depth trainings and webinars and content more than the 1300 characters. So they can find me on Patrion as well, inside sales excellence. But I’m here to be a resource for anybody that needs it and wants it, just trying to help.

Liston Witherill:
Fantastic. And of course, those are both linked in the show notes. Kevin Dorsey. Thanks so much for being here.

Kevin Dorsey:
Good stuff.

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