Finding new customers and The filthy rich villains of the California Gold Rush

How can a story about the gold rush lead you to new customers?

Want to know? Then read on…

In January 1848 James Marshall, a Carpenter and Partner in a Sawmill, found gold in the American River near to a place called Coloma in California.

I don’t know about you, but I would keep it secret…

Well, for as long as I could anyway.

But here’s what really happened:
At first, it was only shared with the people working to build his sawmill; they enjoyed the chance to prospect for gold whenever they had free time. Of course, something like this isn’t going to stay secret for long, but the funny thing was, the Californians who did hear of it, didn’t believe it! And so it went until a Mormon merchant, Sam Brannan, loudly announced it in San Francisco May 1848 shouting ‘Gold, gold from the American River!’ while brandishing a small bottle filled with glittering dust.

Within hours people left the city for Coloma and within days half the population had departed, and within weeks the news had spread as far as San Diego on the Mexican border.

You’re probably thinking that James Marshall and his partners got fabulously wealthy and went on to live out their days in luxury and comfort?

Sadly, you would be wrong.

Unfortunately for Marshall, when the hordes of gold rush prospectors arrived, they showed no respect for the land rights or Marshall, and he was continuously embroiled in arguments over claims and fees. Eventually he was driven away by an angry mob when he wouldn’t tell them where the richest seams of gold were, which he claimed he knew through supernatural powers. Sadly he died virtually peniless at the age of 74 in Kelsey, California.

So, who did get rich?
Hardly anyone actually, there were a few people who hit some impressive seams and cashed in, but of the 300,000 or so people who rushed to California in the hope of untold riches only a mere sprinkling actually came away rich. No, the ones that really made money were the Merchants, after all, prospectors need supplies. Don’t believe me? Ever heard of Levi Strauss?

But going back to our little story, maybe some people involved were not quite as innocent as they first seemed…

Samuel Brannan, the Mormon Merchant who proclaimed the discovery so publicly in San Francisco was actually a bit of a Gold Digger himself, having heard about the discovery, he went about San Francisco buying up all the prospecting equipment he could find, before making his infamous proclamation. Very villainous. Actually, he was one of the richest people around at the time.

What does this all have to do with finding new customers you’re probably asking.

Well, when you are prospecting for new customers (the gold) it’s a tough thing to break through their skepticism (they don’t believe your claims) and get them to pay attention to what you are saying, so a little story or anecdote helps to draw them in, keep them engaged and open their minds to you before you segue into what you really want to talk about (them buying from you).

One of the most cost effective ways to get new business is to go prospecting through email.

Of course the message you compose has to be aligned with the offer you are sending them to and be relevant, this is where it is important to understand your market and their needs and how your offer fits into that bigger picture.

And I understand what it’s like when you have to wear so many hats and there are never enough hours in the day.

So, one of the worst things when sitting and trying to come up with emails like this one, is the blank screen effect, the more you stare at that blank screen the harder it becomes to write your email and the more time it takes, it’s so frustrating, you know you have to write something but what? and you have so many other important things you need to do.

If you want custom follow-up or prospecting emails written like this one contact me today.

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