Uniquely, Striking Impression (USI) Gifting

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

Peter Drucker
Famous Management Consultant

Why does outbound fail so often?

Because for many, going outbound means peppering your target leads with a persistent sequence of cold emails, cold calls, and cold LinkedIn InMails. It’s the default process agencies and third party lead gen companies take.

Whether your target audience is attorneys, B2B manufacturing companies, or schools, they’re receiving 5–10 cold outreaches (calls, emails, etc.) per day from firms just like yours.

To your target vertical leads, they are a nuisance and are often simply ignored.


Because these outreaches are cold. There isn’t an existing relationship between you and the target lead. There’s no familiarity, no history, and no trust to build off at all.

But what if you could transform your cold outreach into a warm outreach? This is where gifts come in. Here’s a quick story.

The Cookies Story

At Scorpion, over a period of a few years, we sent thousands of Personal Injury attorneys a Scorpion-branded tin of amazingly delicious cookies. We had never spoken with these attorneys, but we sent them cookies. Why?

First, we had a high-quality list that we built, which was prioritized by need and ability to afford. Only the best Personal Injury leads got the cookies.

Second, we attempted cold calling them for months but achieved minimal success because the attorney’s gatekeepers often blocked our efforts. The gatekeepers for Personal Injury attorneys are the receptionists and office managers who answer incoming calls and screen out random people soliciting their business. It’s their job to prevent the salesperson at Scorpion or any other agency from ever reaching the attorney, who in our case, was the decision maker we needed to speak with.

So, instead of persisting with cold calls with little return, we sent the attorney a gift: an overnight delivery of delicious cookies. The delivery would bypass the mailroom and instead arrive on the attorney’s desk. Upon opening the delivery and discovering the cookies, they’d end up sharing them with the staff. What happened next was pure magic. The attorney or office staff would inevitably say: “Who sent these amazing cookies?” creating a stir in the office where everyone was talking about this company Scorpion who sent these delicious morsels of delight.

Not surprisingly, the next time the Scorpion salesperson called into the attorney’s office, they’d experience a completely different tone from the gatekeeper. It went from “Sorry, the attorney isn’t available” to “Oh, you’re from Scorpion?! Thank you so much for those amazing cookies! The attorney would like to speak with you…please hold.” And then put us through.

Why did sending a gift like a $50 tin of delicious cookies transform the dynamic between the Scorpion salesperson, the attorney, and their gatekeeper?

Because the Attorney’s experience of receiving the cookies was unique (no one else sent him amazing cookies), striking (it interrupted his day in a delightful way), and it left an impression (it got him and his staff curious about who this strange company called Scorpion is).

The impact of this gift was so significant in reversing the typical sales resistance and increasing outbound appointments that it set a new standard for all our outbound campaigns.

The new standard is called a “Uniquely Striking Impression” or “USI”*:

  • U = uniquely
  • S = striking
  • I = impression

Here’s what it means: every gift you send to your 20% lead list needs to be Unique, Striking and to leave an Impression.

The power of USI gifts goes beyond just sending cookies.

Over the years, I’ve sent the following gifts as a first-touch sales outreach:

  • Cookies to attorneys
  • Doughnuts and coffee to plumbers
  • Flowers to dentists
  • Alcohol to attorneys
  • iPads to franchise brand CMOs
  • Books to plumbers
  • Video Brochures to everyone

What’s the right USI gift for your Focus Vertical buyer?

Sending cookies has worked across industries—who doesn’t like delicious cookies? But you can also change up your USI to pair well with your Focus Vertical.

For example, we didn’t send plumbers flowers because it wouldn’t create the right impression (and it would probably have the opposite effect of communicating that we didn’t understand them very well). But we did deliver two dozen glazed donuts and coffee at 8 am to hundreds of plumbing businesses, which seemed to go over quite well.

Bottom line: don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to choosing your USI gift for your Focus Vertical. Instead, use these criteria to generate ideas that would work for your Focus Vertical:

  • Is it unique? (Don’t just send them a cheap pen with your logo on it)
  • Is it striking? (It should interrupt their day in a positive way)
  • Does it leave the right impression? (What you send should communicate that you understand them and value them as a potential future client)

If your USI gift idea meets all three of these criteria, it’s likely you have a USI that will transform your outreach from cold to warm.

* I first learned the term Uniquely Striking Impression or USI from customer development consultant Rory Clark

Download a Free USI Idea Worksheet

Get a handy worksheet to help you with your USI Gift campaign

(You will also be added to my Deep Specialization Daily list.)

Whenever you're ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:

1. Private Call With Me

Are you facing a specific marketing challenge and need expert advice quick? Book a 1-on-1 coaching call now. I’ll give you no-nonsense advice that you can put into action immediately, guaranteed. Click here.

2. The Growth Plan

6-month vertical marketing and sales roadmap to finally and reliably escape founder-led sales. Click here.

3. CMO-Level Advisory

Want to move faster than you are? Get 3 months of bi-weekly calls with me personally. You bring your biggest challenges, I help you solve them. Click here.

Get my best strategies for becoming a vertical market leader with Deep Specialization

🤫 It’s not as simple as just saying, “I specialize in … ”!