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Friday, May 02, 2008

A Man in Transition -- and the Unsolicited Offer

Las Vegas architect/consultant Craig Galati, a principal at the consulting firm Lucchesi Galati, writes a great blog -- and has self-published two simple but meaningful books (they are also inexpensive) with insightful gems. I doubt his books could be profitably published by a conventional publisher -- but this is the era of the "long tail" and now individuals and micro-markets can find expression previously considered impossible. Craig graciously sent me a review copy and I think blog readers will find it worthwhile to purchase the book. (the link below takes you to, where I will earn about 40 cents on the transaction; if you are in the U.S. you can find the title at

Here is an excerpt from one chapter, The Unsolicited Offer. I mentally associate this with the "cold call" but of course that is not exactly what Galati is discussing.

Every day we receive unsolicited offers from people selling services and products. Do you pay attention to them?

The essence of a successful unsolicited offer is offering something of value to someone who also sees it to be of value.

An unsolicited offer shouldn't need to be sold, just offered.

So how does this happen? first of all, I do not believe the shotgun approach works. Trying to sell something you think is valuable to the masses is difficult -- or it takes a ton of money to accomplish.

I've found that to make an unsolicited offer to work, you must be good at two things.

  • Clarity-- understanding what you have to offer, to whom it would
    be valuable, and why it would be valuable;
  • Timing -- the ability to sense within the marketplace when what you have becomes valuable to someone else.

The first one is relatively easy. You can determine what you have to offer, and though research you can develop a sense of who may value your offer. You just need to be careful that your passion for the offer doesn't taint your objectivity.

Getting the timing right takes patience, thought and practice. It also requires that you get out from behind your desk and meet people and it requires that you keep up with current trends and issues within your marketplace.

If you can get really good at these two points, then the unsolicited offer, targeted successfully, can open doors for you that you only previously imagined.

I still very much recall one time where I put the "unsolicited offer" concept advocated by Galati into practice. When we were establishing the GTA Construction Report in 1999, the then Toronto Construction Association chair essentially invited me to leave town. (It didn't help that he was also the then the publisher of the Daily Commercial News and Construction Record -- a competing publication.) He also said he wouldn't mind if another competitor, McGraw-Hill, also went away.

After leaving the belligerent meeting, I told my newly hired editor who was waiting outside the room that beginning with the first issue, we would do our best to publish a positive story about the TCA in each issue regardless of their feelings towards us. And I picked up the phone and made a cold call to McGraw-Hill's Toronto office.

A month later, we had entered into an informal relationship that continues to this day (now with MERX in Canada.) In exchange for copyright permission to reproduce construction business leads data, we provide them with useful promotional considerations. It is a cost effective and useful alliance that has continued for almost two decades.

I think this is an example where, as Galati suggests, timing and clarity coincide for a truly effective unsolicited offer.

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