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James Iles

An Outbound Domain Sales Walkthrough

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By James Iles, May 10, 2016
  1. James Iles

    James Iles NamePros Writer PRO Trusted Blogger Business Account VIP

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    Outbound domain sales are a popular means of creating a revenue stream without having to wait for a buyer to come to you. Consisting of finding a suitable owner for a domain and then contacting them directly, outbound sales is typically done via email or phone to a targeted group of individuals or companies.

    Usually, an outbound domain sales process will involve research via Google, LinkedIn and other services, followed by crafting a sales letter and sending a personalised email. In this article, I'll walk you through the outbound sales process using one of my own domains - PhotoRetoucher.com.

    I've chosen this name because it's a memorable, two-word .COM that could be highly desirable to any photo retoucher, so there would be plenty of potential end-users. The domain isn't for sale, it's simply being used in a scenario to help with this walkthrough.

    Before we start, I'd like to point out that in my eyes, outbound domain sales are not an excuse to send bulk emails to thousands of investors or end-users. You also need to undertake outbound sales at your own risk, as "for sale" emails have been used to successfully win UDRP cases in the past.


    Research

    Search Engines
    Starting at square one, you'll need to find suitable companies to send your domain name to. Depending on your domain, you may end up with just a handful of leads, or you may have 20-30 qualified leads. My first step would be to Google the keyword(s) that make up the domain.

    In this case, those keywords are photo retoucher. To get results that use your exact keywords (rather than variations), use quotation marks when you search. So, for photo retoucher, I would search for "photo retoucher".

    I would look through several pages of Google results, looking for any company that either uses the keyword(s) in their domain name, uses an inferior TLD, or uses the keyword(s) within their home page title. I'd also look for any relevant advertisers for the keywords.

    I would also repeat this search without quotation marks, to find companies advertising for similar terms, or to find companies ranking highly for similar keywords. On Google, you can also search using inurl: to specifically find websites using your keyword(s) within their URL.

    Google isn't the only search engine I'd visit, but it is the first. After Google, I'd repeat my searches at Bing and DuckDuckGo to ensure I hadn't missed any obvious leads.

    Once I've found relevant companies via search engines, I make a note of their URLs to visit again later, in order to find specific contacts.

    LinkedIn
    LinkedIn is an phenomenal tool in outbound sales. Searching through the social network can help you discover new leads that don't necessarily get shown in search engines. Using LinkedIn's company search can also help you discover useful facts such as the company's size, which could help you determine whether or not to contact said company.

    As with search engine results, type your keyword(s) in to LinkedIn's search bar to find company results. As my domain is PhotoRetoucher.com, I would also look at a select number of user results, too, because many photo retouchers work on a freelance basis, and may not necessarily list their company on LinkedIn.

    Similar Domains
    If your domain name is a desirable name, and many companies are using variations on that name, it may be advisable to contact them, to see if they are interested in upgrading their name. For example, with my PhotoRetoucher.com domain, I see that the .org version has been developed by a software company, so I would probably contact them.

    ZFBot is an excellent, free service that allows you to find similar names based on keywords that you enter. It will search through over 140mm domain names to find similar domains to yours.

    Again, make a note of all URLs to go back to later.


    Finding the Right Contact

    We recently published an article about who to contact within a company, with regards to domain name sales. The general rule is that for small to medium companies, the CEO or founder is often the best person to contact. For larger companies, finding a lower level employee with direct association with a key decision maker is often your best chance.

    To find the right contact, I would firstly visit the company website, as email addresses or key contacts can often be found there (hint: try not to contact a generic "info@" email address). If an email address isn't found there, you can use LinkedIn to search for a specific company employee. If LinkedIn fails, a Google search, such as "[company name] CEO" may help you.

    If you have a name and no email address, that's no problem. Using a service such as MailTester.com will allow you to guess their email address. Most companies follow one of three email protocols:
    If you have their full name, finding an email address should be no problem.

    For PhotoRetoucher.com's leads, many companies I've found are fairly small, or are freelancers working on their own. In this case, checking WHOIS may be a possibility, as small businesses or sole traders may reveal relevant contact details via WHOIS.

    Once you have your leads, you could store them within a CRM software. Streak is my own personal preference as it fits straight in to my Gmail account. A CRM will let you manage each lead, to see who has responded, who has enquired about a price, and who has declined the domain.

    Some people may prefer to call a company directly, and this often gets good results. However, I prefer to keep all domain transactions via email, so I have a record of all conversations, offers, etc.


    Sending Emails

    As I said, I prefer to keep domain sales confined to email whenever possible, so at this stage I would send out emails individually, keeping each email personalised. Using the recipient's name and their company name within the email is my target. I also like to keep my emails as short as possible at just a couple of lines.

    In my subject line, I would use the domain name as well as the word "available", or the phrase "for sale"; such as: PhotoRetoucher.com Domain For Sale. Specific subject lines such as these have always been effective for me.

    Each message is personal to the recipient, so it will always start with Hi [name], or a variation on that. My sales email is usually no longer than three sentences, but it portrays what I'm selling well enough. The email will not contain a price, however. I've found that if a person is interested, they'll always reply with "How Much?" - at which point, you can open a discussion about a price.

    Closing your email with a signature is fairly important. Displaying your name, company (if necessary) and contact details is a must, as well as displaying any required pieces of information such as company's registration number (depending on your location).

    A professional signature isn't difficult to create. Websites such as NewOldStamp can help you to create an email signature in a matter of minutes.

    --

    What are your suggestions for outbound domain sales? Post in the comments below.
     
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
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  4. James Iles

    About The Author — James Iles

    Writer for NamePros.com, domain name investor and broker. For all inquiries relating to stories and interviews, please email: [email protected]

    This is James Iles's 194th blog post on NamePros. View all blog posts

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  5. Comments (49)

  6. TERADOMAIN

    TERADOMAIN Business Member Business Account VIP

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    Again Good One..
     
  7. Cdomains

    Cdomains Active Member VIP

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    I have wanted to use streak, but I have been using my domain email instead.
    I have been concerned that using a Gmail address looks unprofessional and possibly even spammy.

    @James Iles - What do you think, and what has been your experience?

    Do you think it makes a difference using your company domain email as opposed to a Gmail account?
     
  8. john_karr

    john_karr Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Thanks for the info. Nice helpful new tips.
     
  9. DNScholar

    DNScholar DNScholar.com Business Account VIP

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    Finding the Right Contact is helpful, Thank You.
     
  10. DANEYAL

    DANEYAL Member VIP

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    Great Post, thanks for the valuable information.
     
  11. Jelani Abdus-Salaam

    Jelani Abdus-Salaam puryr.com

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  12. Serengeti

    Serengeti Established Member

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    Thanks You. We hereby discern the title of Bwana to Mr. James as per our traditions ...
     
  13. Sumit Agrawal

    Sumit Agrawal Established Member

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    Really great piece of information @James Iles. However, can you please elaborate how to pitch the advantage of our domain to the prospect (who already has an active website). I mean, why an end-user would like to purchase an altogether new domain when they already have a live website on a particular domain.

    As a seller, we market our domain as it is easy to remember or it is exact match domain etc, however many a times prospects don't take this argument. So, can you please tell how to deal in such scenarios.
     
  14. Justin Matmor

    Justin Matmor Active Member VIP

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    at what point do you give up with a prospect?
     
  15. johname

    johname Take that to LaBANC VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    You have to offer them either quality and targeted traffic that innate to the domain. Or a version of their generic domain that compels them to purchase as either an improvement to their domain or a take it it off the shelf so others dont use it.

    Anything else is just talk and hope for the best when dealing with the "I already have a sucessful website" crowd.

    A) They ignore you
    B) They wont pay your price
    C) They curse at you.
     
  16. ZapNano

    ZapNano :( VIP

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    Oh my god, you had me giggle:)
     
  17. James Iles

    James Iles NamePros Writer PRO Trusted Blogger Business Account VIP

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    How about setting up a custom domain to run Gmail? http://www.melyssagriffin.com/use-gmail-custom-domain/

    Best of both worlds.
     
  18. James Iles

    James Iles NamePros Writer PRO Trusted Blogger Business Account VIP

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    If the domain is good enough, you won't need to do much pitching ;).
     
  19. Vedoz

    Vedoz New Member

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    Being a new member I am going to sit down and read all of your posts @James. Thanks for this one like many of your other posts..
     
  20. Winfluence

    Winfluence Active Member VIP

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    Had no idea you could test an email to see if it's valid. Is this full proof? Thanks a million!
     
  21. Justin Matmor

    Justin Matmor Active Member VIP

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    You don't really need to test an email. Eventually one will work. To avoid looking like a spammer, email them using the blind copy feature...this way they only receive 1 email...which will be the correct one.
     
  22. Winfluence

    Winfluence Active Member VIP

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    That's what I have been doing, but getting back bounced emails can get messy when you're reaching out to dozens of companies.
     
  23. maxtorz

    maxtorz Established Member

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    the "For sale" or the domainname.com in the subject line will get your email automatically marked as SPAM in Gmail.
     
  24. Cdomains

    Cdomains Active Member VIP

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    Many NP members have good results using this in the subject.
     
  25. Cdomains

    Cdomains Active Member VIP

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    Good points, don't forget they can also just use it to redirect traffic to their main website domain.
     
  26. jaybuk

    jaybuk New Member

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    This will solve most of your problems:

    tools (dot) verifyemailaddress (dot) io
     
  27. eraldo_coil

    eraldo_coil Established Member

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    I thought the same thing. I usually try to avoid sounding overly sales-sy, especially in the subject line. My subject lines will usually say something like: [Name of lead's business or website] & [name of domain you're trying to sell]. That way they can immediately see how the domain you're trying to sell is relevant to the business and/or website name.
     
  28. Jelani Abdus-Salaam

    Jelani Abdus-Salaam puryr.com

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    You can say "Potential Purchase of" as an alternative
     
  29. Cdomains

    Cdomains Active Member VIP

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    Is this your personal experience?
     
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