Aim Small, Miss Small

bill mccormick Sep 02, 2022
Aim Small, Miss Small
"The archer who misses his mark does not blame the target. He stops, corrects himself and shoots again"


This week I want to continue talking about scaling and mass, cold outreach. Often we start with a target in mind, an 'ideal client profile'. How often do you blame them when are outreach doesn't achieve the results we were looking for?

As Confucius points out in the quote above, it's not the targets (prospect) fault that our arrow (message) misses the mark.

I have a confession to make: I really don’t like Ideal Client Profiles (ICP), or Client Avatars.  I know they are necessary in sales, and when I coach the sales person it is one of the first things I ask, “Who is your ideal client?”

But as a salesperson I find them SO limiting!  Especially when looking at them through a marketing lens” ‘our client is a 38 year old female with a minimum of 4 years of college working in a mid-level management position for a fortune 500 company who is married and has 2.3 children’ - ok, I made up the 2.3 children, but just reading that I feel my collar tighten and my breathing getting shallow.

As a salesperson you probably are like me and want EVERYONE to be your client.  The more the merrier, right?  The more names on the list the more chances for a sale, right?

Well, there’s a concept in golf (that was taken from the shooting world) that if you aim big, you’ll miss big but if you aim small, you’ll miss small.


Golf Science Journal explains it this way: 

It holds that the amount of shot error is positively related to the size of the target at which one aims. Thus, if one aims at a small target, one is likely to miss small (have a small amount of shot error) when the target is not hit, whereas if one aims at a large target, one is likely to miss large (have a large amount of shot error) when the target is not hit. (Read the entire article HERE.)

If we translate this to your prospecting and marketing I think you can start to see why your email inbox and LinkedIn message center is so full of seemingly random messages that make no sense.



When sales organizations take a scaling approach to outreach, they aim big.  The criteria they establish may just be a title (CEO) or industry (Coaching) and they craft a sales/marketing message that is geared towards those very large personas and the mass message is sent out.

We all see this play out everyday in our email inbox (or maybe we don’t because they go in your spam folder). Hundreds of messages mis-targeting us because we’re part of a very big target they are aiming to hit.  

I see this each day on LinkedIn as I’m sent InMail messages and connection requests that identify me as owning a coaching business (I don’t) or for being in the pest control industry (I’m not).  These are keywords that are being used in searches by lead generation company’s (you know, the companies that brag about how many meetings they can get you a week?) and then they are blasting out a cold message in hopes of enticing the recipient to a connection request and/or meeting.



When looking at results in sales we always talk about the return on investment (ROI) but I want to discuss the ROM, or return on missing.  If you send out 100 messages and you have an above average response rate of 10% (the average return rate on cold outreach email is 1%) that means you’ve reached 10 people.  Keep in mind that this is just the BEGINNING of the client acquisition process- you still have to connect with them.

But what lead generation companies and scaling outreach programs will never talk about is the other 90.  For email you may be unsubscribed or unopened.  What about cold outreach on LinkedIn?

If you sent 100 cold outreach messages on LinkedIn I doubt you’d have more than a 1% response rate.  But for arguments sake, let’s say it’s 5%.  You have 5 replies that lead to a next step.  But what about those other 95?  This isn’t like email where they just see an email address if they see the message at all.

They see your name, your profile picture and your company name and title.  In my opinion, your misses are much bigger on LinkedIn.  It’s personal. 

Would you ever walk up to someone in a networking meeting or trade show and talk to them by saying what you say in your cold outreach?  My guess is you probably wouldn’t because it would be seen as rude and not appropriate to the situation.

So your ROM is 95, how many of those 95 will write you off and label you and your company as empty suits who are only out for what they want (a sale) even though you say you want to help?



I am not totally anti-automation. We use automation and email outreach, but we always try to use it to provide information and value.  If your outreach is only trying to get something from your prospects and clients (more sales) you’re going to have a much higher ROM.

In this modern information age, there’s many different ways to warm up an interaction with a prospect beyond the typical, “Hey, we help companies just like you!”- whenever you’re tempted to create a message like that I want you to stop and think that you’re saying that to the person face-to-face and their response is “So.” What would you say then?  

In last week’s article on “Micro-Scaling” I discussed this idea of relationship building.  Stop thinking of making a sale and, instead, make a friend.  Make a connection with someone and slow the process down.  This will decrease your ROM.  

Besides researching prospects and prospective companies on LinkedIn, check Google for press releases, their website for events and announcements.  Check your LinkedIn notifications every day for new job postings and promotions.  When you find these opportunities, go above and beyond.  That prospect that was just promoted is going to receive multiple 👍🏻 and ‘Congratulations!’ comments.  Do those things but also send a message and be passionately curious about their new position and look for an opportunity to meet and hear all about it.

Send a congratulations card in the mail and if you really want to stand out, send a Starbuck’s gift card.  



Personalization has been the buzzword in marketing for awhile now.  Having your name show up in subject lines and in messaging that’s sent out en masse is so 2015.

The real guy is to be personal.  Really care, be intentional in wanting to truly be of service and help with no regards or expectation of what you’ll receive in return.

Forget personalization and just be personal,  be human.  This is aiming small.  Will you miss? Sure, but remember, when you aim small, you’ll miss small.


Are you trying to prospect better? You've read all of the books and tried everyone else's strategies, isn't it time to discover what YOUR strategy should be??

You aren't created to be someone else, but maybe you need help being yourself.

I invite you to a call where we can explore how you can be more effective in your outreach and explore how micro-scaling can work for you!

Book a complimentary coaching call with me HERE

Originally published on Bill McCormick's LinkedIn

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