You want to be rich? Then start talking shit!

by neilpatel on October 3, 2007 · 120 comments

If you are looking to make more money, an easy way to do so is to start picking targets and email them about why they are making a mess of themselves and/or company (hopefully in a nice way).  Just for a second think about all the people with money that you want to get to. Chances are, they have thousands of people kissing their ass and asking for their money.  If you take the same approach you are going to blend in with all the other ass kissers, so try talking a little shit instead.

If you are unclear on what I am talking about, hopefully this example will help clarify.  I am an SEO, so if I want to gain big SEO clients the first thing I do is find the contact information for someone who is a director of marketing of that company. After I have a big list, I don’t cold call them or even try and pitch them, instead I send them an email which outlines how they don’t know how to do their job.  I try and be very productive with my email by only calling out all the things they are doing wrong in regards to their search marketing campaign. The most important thing to keep in mind when doing this is to lay everything out and never worry if they take you advice and never pay you a dime.

By doing this to all the big fish you are trying to reach, you will gain some decent accounts. Keep in mind that this won’t work if you just talk out of your ass, if you actually know what you are doing you will be able to raise some very good points and challenges from the right perspective.  Quality trash talking is what’s necessary here.

This is how I got a lot of my clients and I highly recommend you trying it out if you want to make money.

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1 lyricsreg

Hmm …. doesn’t seem to be a reliable solution for getting clients. But if you say so …

2 Content Writer

By Your theory .. I must say your post was not optimized enough. You havent used enough terms that would attract Serps….
I recommend you using Our Content Writer Services…..

The Above was just going through your theory.. But it is always nice to use My Services :)

3 Joshua

Do you think this will work for a real estate agent?

“Hey, your house sucks. I know where you can get a better one AND sell your shitty one to a sucker for a lot of money. Just wanted to let you know.”

Definitely something to consider : )

4 Blog Contests

Makes sense to me

5 Sighborg

Interesting approach. I guess it can work in certain situations, but I’m guessing most of the time they’ll tell you to f*ck off. Now if by talking shit you mean constructive criticism then I back you up all the way.

6 Jonathan Volk

Very interesting strategy! Thanks for the tip… I will try and see how this works for me.

7 Jonathan Volk

I’m sure the method only applys to certain niches. Perhaps for your niche it seems unreliable…

8 Sighborg

Interesting Method. I’m sure this would work in certain situations, but in general I would think they’d tell you to f*ck off. Now if by talking sh*t you mean constructive criticism, then I’m with you all the way!

9 mahdi yusuf

wow. you are a super duper fool! what the hell is stopping them from taking the list you emailed them and improving on there flaws, secondly how are you supposed to get clients from people who dont know who you are? that was a good laugh.

10 Failure Sucks!

Step into my office…you’re fired!


All SEO companies are using this strategy. But it’s more something like they are telling you what you should do in the future to gain higher rankings.
I think I would be offended if I saw an email from someone who would just tell me how bad I am at my job.

12 Damon

The idea is solid and it doesn’t have to work for everyone you email. I guarantee 10% of the people you send this to will take you seriously and possibly buy your product. Think of this outside of the SEO perspective and apply it to your own business model. Sure someone can use your free advice, but if you have a solid product and can show your worth being paid for it, this concept could definitely work. Make them think and stir some shit. The money will eventually come.

13 art

First off that way hilarious.. second if you can make valid points it sets you apart from other sales people. thanks for the tip!!

14 Neil

Great article …. and no probs talking shit either!

15 WarriorBlog

Thats a creative tactic and will make you stand out :-)

16 CatherineL

I can see how this could really backfire. If I was the Director of Marketing at a large company I would be grately offended because you would be telling me that I couldn’t manage my department effectively.

If your letter didn’t go in the bin, and i actually spoke to the person in charge of SEO – they’re not going to admit they’re rubbish at they’re job. They’re going to tell their boss you’re full of shit.

Have you actually compared your success rate on this campaigns with other campaigns? What percentage response rate did you get?

17 Seo Next

i,am not sure will will get clients by showing there mistakes.I tryed with simple webmasters and got accounts, but if some other seo expert points mistakes of my sites i dont think i will give him my client.

18 Seo Next

That depends how we use this trick.

19 Seo Next

ya, thst is true , what is niche that he tryed?

20 Beauty Girl

Ankit Fadia, the hacking (Or security expert) did the same thing, hacked the website of Digit Magazine and emailed them what were the flaws in their site and how they can be corrected, and they actually hired him as well as he got TONS of publicity too. So yes that is some good piece of from Neil but ONLY if you know your stuff well.

21 Beauty Girl

Its you not he who is a super duper fool :P

Dont comment until you are certain about something, if you don’t know better keep shut.

22 The Dino

What happens if all of us start to di this?

23 Abhishek Daaga

If everyone starts this then everyone will become rich… but just think shoemoney did not tell the full story this is just a part of it’s success.. others we have to find out..
Btw.. nice idea.. TALK SHIT BECOME RICH :P

24 Aditya Kumar Singh

Hmmm ….. welll i can get what you mean, but still the way of expressing wasn’t that nice ….. yes if we point to people what wrong they are doing then they might admire us and take our service, but the thing is that thats not called butt kissing actually. And moreover you will need to prove your brand reputation to the people.

25 GeorgeB

First thing they’re gonna do is feel threatened by you because you are a threat to their job security. Then they’ll forward your ideas to their SE team as if they wrote them and delete your email.

26 Gecko Tales

When I was at the agency this is what our sales guy did, but he called them. We would review a site and tell him the weaknesses and he would call the company with our list. We would even give them suggestions to fix a few issues, but still hold back on stuff. If they used our suggestions and saw a good change they would usually call us, even if they didn’t take the bait the first call.

27 Lyndon Antcliff

Great tale Neil.

Wow, some of the people who have commented here are dribbely stupid. Neil is a very succesful seo. Anytime he speaks, shut up, sit down and open your ears.

28 Credit Card Offers

It think this is a good approach to get clients. Some might not respond or just thrash the email but sometime try to implement the suggestions. It doesnt cost you anything so why not do it. Great tip Neil.

29 Todd Mintz

I’m sure Neil “talks shit” in a very nice way :.)

30 CPA Affiliates

good idea man. The key is you need to stand out to anyone you are wanting to talk to.

31 CatherineL

Joshua this is so funny. I wonder if anyone actually tried this? I wonder if I could apply this to my plumbing business? I could write something like, “your neighbour told me your bathroom is outdated and you needed a new one 10 years ago.”

32 Expression Engine Themes

I think what some of the people are missing is that sales are about sorting – finding the people that want to buy what you have. Sure you are going to offend some, be ignored by others, etc. but you shouldn’t worry about them. Focus on being right and on the ones that realize you are right. Remember, you don’t have to sell to every single person or company to be a success.

33 John Loch

I can think of better ways to waste my time, like RESPONDING to this shit !

34 Travel Notebook

Its a very fine line to walk. Personally if you emailed me and told me that I ‘dont know how to do my job’ and then tried to pitch me – it would be instant spam list for you. I dont think this ‘method’ works very well

35 Online Money

Great article. One must be responsible for their trustworthy as they grow popular.

36 Tracy Robinson

Haha, excellent way to put into action what he said, congrats.

37 Tracy Robinson

Damn, every time I talk shit and send an email to Jeremy it goes in the round file, maybe I’m talking a little too much shit, so it seems that you have to be judicious in how you use it.

38 Harrisburg Web Design

I think a modified version of this method is what works best. You can just run in gun’s blazing telling somebody that they suck at their job and you’re here to do it right for them. Finesse it and you’ll get better results. In this example, you’d say something like “As a marketing director, you have so many marketing avenues to oversee that search engine optimization for your website seems to have been pushed to the bottom of the priority list. I suspect this because you presently don’t rank for XXXX, XXXX, XXXX keywords in any of the major search engines. By addressing this area, your business stands to gain XXXX dollars in additional revenue. I know it’s a time consuming task, and you may not want to devote your personal efforts to addressing such a complicated marketing area. That’s where my comapny can help you…” Personally, I think that’s a much more effective approach that still gets the point across (ie, You haven’t done jack to optimize your site for search engines) without offending.

39 Mark Barrera

It works for any industry. Why would one industry be any less likely than another to listen to your advice – even if it is given in a manner they are not used to?

40 mahdi yusuf

haha, i would take your own advice!

41 Modern Worker

LOL, what a post. Neil, you have some big balls for such a small dude, and I commend you!

42 Noah "Like The Ark"

I like it. I’m always up for some smack talk! Event thought your a piece of crap…

43 Men's Health Board

you forget to say something: before sending those emails out just be sure you know how to do what you are promising to the client…

44 Israel

okay so let me get this right. SPam and put down. got it.

45 Michael Johnson

This has to be the absolute worst post on shoemoney and the author should not be writing no more due to this post.

I hope other people do not follow what you have said because spamming is not condoned by me or anyone else.

46 Gary R. Hess

Yeah, I agree. This works with linkbait as well. It’s sad, but talking shit is money. Talk shit on a big company, get links. Suing? Get links.

47 Aditya Kumar Singh

Hahahahah … thats what i wanted to post…. SPAM And Get ClIeNtS !@!!!

48 Rebecca Kelley

Well, obviously you wouldn’t include a step-by-step on HOW to fix all of the problems. If you mention the issues in a measured, professional way, they could see that clearly you’re a person who knows what you’re talking about and can help their site be better, faster, stronger (shunuhnuhnuhnuhnuh).

49 Theo

I hate spammers, but I hate people promoting spam even more..

50 Word Hugger

It is a creative idea, but could also lead to a lot more problems and people hating you.

51 Word Hugger

or get people talking crap about you in return. =p

52 JB4375

I have a friend that’s a security consultant. He gained a lot of business in the early days by war driving. He would leave a txt file on the desktop of any “open” servers. The msg typcially stated: “I’ve provided a free service to let you know that your network is not secure. If you would like to discuss how my services could be utilized to protect your network please contact me at (xxx)xxx-xxxx.” Thanks.

53 Beauty Girl

That would be better :-)

54 Beauty Girl

Its not Shoe, its Mr. Patel who has written this post dude ..

55 Beauty Girl

People, try it and then speak :p I am sure if done right it can get you some good clients ;-)

56 Beauty Girl

Yes, As i said earlier this works Great in some niches, Security is one of them, but surely SEO can be another, will try out and let ya all know..

57 Justin Cook

I can’t say that I necessarily agree. I think you run the risk of just coming across as cocky, which is hardly appealing to any professional.

58 Nick Sullivan

Yeah you make a good point about the blending in factor. Kissing people’s asses will do absolutely nothing, it may help their ego but it wont get you anywhere. I think it’s a good idea to be provocative as long as it’s not stupid or irrelevant like don’t call someone a complete moron for the sake of it, just be brash and tell them you know more than them in a way that provokes reaction without anger.

59 Neil

Nice comment John!

60 Pat B. Doyle

Neil, great post! You people who are criticizing Neil probably don’t know that he is one of the best marketers around. He knows what he is talking about!

This actually worked for me once, long ago, when I wanted to get web design clients. I saw a local PC shop had a horrible website. I contacted the owner and told him (gently) that as a PC store, he should really have a better website. I got the job of redesigning it for him.

61 John Loch

Tell ya what.. tell me who you got out of this approach. I’ll spam em with details of what you did wrong – voilla ! Instant clientelle I dont want :)

62 JeffPosaka

That is what I was thinking. Why spend an hour analyzing and emailing. Then they hand their list to their team to implement the changes…

63 JeffPosaka

Costs you time to do it.

64 Beauty Girl

Good try but would have been better if you gave proper examples of what was required to be done. May be a proper gameplan.

65 Chris Jacobson

It did wonders for The Rich Jerk though.

66 Shanker Bakshi

my google AdSense account showing few dollars, not that much I dreamed off, my ass will unrest until I found some fitting marketing strategy which open their vault for me. Should I try this one patel.

67 nopnop

I agree with Nick Sullivan.

68 nopnop

I agree

69 Hoto

if taliking shit makes you rich i would be nr 1 on the richest guys on earth. lol

70 Michelle

Sky news are doing just that with their adverts trying to get people to comment on their newssite. All a bit flame-warry for me.

71 Modern Worker

It’s definitely a hard balance to strike and can only work in certain fields, imo

72 Modern Worker

hehe, “I see what you did there”

73 danielrannu

great article!! i like the way u write it =) great perspective also!

74 Israel

yeh, you can seem arrogant if done wrong.

75 Daniel

I think it’s great to have chutzpah and be aggressive in getting new accounts, but simple human nature dictates pointing out what someone is doing wrong will immediately make them defensive. And it won’t exactly endear you to them either. Now if you were sending your proposal to the company president – as opposed to the VP/Marketing who’s trying to cover his own ass – that might be a different story. The marketing guy might be more focused on keeping his job and his headcount than having to justify to his boss why he needs to outsource that task. I remember an interview I had for an Affiliate Program Manager with the VP of Marketing for a big Seattle-based etailer. After talking with this guy for 10 minutes, I realized I knew more about program management than he did. I talked with him for the better part of an hour about the changes I would make to optimize his program. He took copious notes and kept exclaiming, “Wow…THAT’S a great idea!” Long story short, I never heard from him again and through the grapevine learned he implemented many of my ideas with someone else he hired (no doubt for less money!)

76 Simonne

Actually this works just fine. I applied it and I got one client after sending about 20 letters.

77 Travel Notebook

Then it doesnt work anymore

78 singapore athletics

Thanks for sharing dude, i’ve to reckon kinda abit ‘shady’ but hey if it works, then it works

79 Klaudio

Nice strategy!
I’ll only talk now about shit :p

80 BizDev Marketing

Neil, I think you’ve got another strategy at work here. From SES’s “Don’t be a Dick” to now “Start Talking Sh*t”…

c’mon dude!

Let me be bold and crack down on you for sec, ok? Clearly you’re doing something right for xyz reasons… but would you really put these comments up at “Ahh… growth, plants, branding, ethics, value…I feel so good and confident with this guy…”


You’re a dick, and you’re my client because I rough-talked you with my sh*t talking cold-email?


81 Stephanie

Hmmm- I’m surprised that this works, but if it does, good for you. Personally, I wouldn’t respond to any email that lectured me on how to do my job…

82 Dave (original)

Spamming for work is not an option for those who are true professionals.

It is pathetic that you need to stoop even lower for work. Sad.

83 King Jacob

Not everyone will do it right, fail and say it doesnt work. Leaving a few who do it right and make money.

84 Joeychgo

I agree

85 Joeychgo

This is kinda on the line of shady practices, but not quite there yet. If it works for you, god bless. GO for it.

86 Clarke Internet Marketing

This goes along with the saying “the squeeky wheel gets the grease”

87 Paul Bradish

We used to do this for web design years ago. I’m not a fan of the technique, but I can definately see how it could still possibly work today. I’m sure that timing would have a lot to do with it.

88 Andreas

A nice idea thatswe could try out.

89 Andreas

yeaah thats true.
It a nice step to show me how wrong it is. But i will do it my way. The mail would be moved to trash or junk

90 Googlelady

Thanks for the tip. Sometimes it really works but depends on the emails and the mood of the person behind the computer ;)

91 Googlelady

LOL you are now applying the same thing in the post? ;)

92 Carlo Selorio

I wanted to do some SEO work in the future… since I’m starting to get a hold of SEO.

Nice tip for us SEO Consultant wannabes.

Carlo Selorio

93 christelle

I agree with you Carlo, that’s a great tip. I never even thought of that. Awesome!

94 christelle

Thanks for sharing your tips

95 Stealth

Its true. Tell somebody theyre awesome and they just nod their head and keep doing their thing. Tell somebody they suck and they will drop whatever they’re doing to defend themselves. Its that easy.

96 Patrick Allmond

Bullshit. (me talking shit). It is one thing to aggressively go after clients to tell them how you can help them and how they cannot live without you. It’s another to truly ‘talk shit’ I’d be curious to see one of your ‘talk shit’ emails some time. I bet it is a little bit smoother than you let on. No smart person in the world would insult another out of the box if they wanted the others business.


97 Vickywebworld

That is your own method. it may be working for you. But for me, it may not work for me

98 Instant Community

Well this is a weird method and very risky indeed.

99 MyGoodFinds

You got a point! Be different right? I’ll come back to you if I find my first client.

100 Ilias

I ‘ve using this method for a couple of month now ! You always have to be careful though !

101 Tony Smith

Good suggestion, reminds me of the old phrase: if you can’t dazzle them with dexterity, baffle the with bullshit!

102 safesurfer

Action speaks louder than words. People babbling about ‘economies of scale’, ‘efficiency’ and other consulting buzzwords rarely leave an impact. If, however, you show of what kind of value your services are in a realistic human-oriented way, executives are more likely to start listening to you..

103 cbui81

Why would you not call them? There are way too many things that can go wrong in an email. Seems like an out for someone who is scared to pick up the phone and make the call. And why would you contact the Director of Marketing? Guess who that Director reports to….the CFO, CEO? Yeah you can talk all the trash youwant, and hopefully you do in more as constructive criticism, but if you’re not talking to the right person, then you’re just wasting your time and spinning your wheels. Good luck all.

104 commandos

nice spam lol

105 daniel

why don’t these so called big company’s just step it up and stop jerking each other off and start actually using the products they carry to see how fucked up their services really are. like tobacco co. Like to merchandise to kids but do they do that to their own kids or do they smoke their own products? no they would rather have someone else lose their life over an addictive habbit and get rich while all the bodys just pile up and not just the tobacco companys either, what about the economy they should lower prices on the cost of living and raise tobacco and firearms taxes so that not just the rich stay rich but the not so fortunate majority will have a chance to get ahead also fuckin greedy politician bastards would rather throw away ours and our childrens future so they can live comfortably while they can instead of helping those in need.

106 daniel

why don’t the politicians help this starving enconomy? is it because they are to busy thinking about how to stay in office and keep their pension coming in without delay. no I’ll tell you why! I’ts to keep a balance of those who have money from those who don’t. why is that your probaly wondering because, if you had run multi-billion dollar corperations are you willing to lose any kind of fraction of your profit for greater gain or would you simply take the sacrifice and pull out before you even have to make that decision. Most corperations are not concerned with who is getting them the results but the results itself. In terms then what i am saying is that they are so greedy they have both their hands clinched to one small detail they are overlooking the entire picture. If you only have one source or one venue of people your allowed to network too, where is the profit but if you give a little and allow some of the other smaller companys get a little lager then now you can multipliy additional streams of income. why can’t the government allow this to happen for the vast majority who can bearly afford the cost of living!? it’s not as if everybody wants to stay home and be a welfare recipient there are those who know how to make a difference but are always shut down because they like things simple with no questions asked is this how america stands to be fair to the rich and screw those who can’t be as rich as them waz-up corp america home of the greed and land of the slaves.

107 matt

I think this is a load of shit. but uhhhh. give me some money n ill be a assistent


Oh man this might be a beginning of a new movement, an army of shit talkers making contact with the leaders of marketing companies:)

109 Paul

Trash talking is sometimes out of need.

110 Me

Neil Patel is a BITCH

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