Time to read: 3 minutes. The Web is littered with HORRIBLE advice on cold email prospecting tips and strategy. Templates? Even worse. So here’s what I’ve learned works. No theory, just my (and my customers’) experience. A practical way to quickly fix your cold email templates. I’ll also provide examples.

Why your cold email isn’t working

Your cold email (first touch message template) is probably saying too much, too fast.

Remember, your goal is NOT to book a meeting when making first contact with a prospect. Using InMail? Standard email? Connecting on LinkedIn first?

Be warned: Asking for what you want, right away, will fail.

Here’s how to frame what may be plaguing your email prospecting technique:

  1. This is a first date. The meeting will come. Trust in it. Don’t rush.
    ATTRACT the meeting/demo to you. This way you …
  2. Let customers qualify themselves—so you don’t have to!
    This is the point of email prospecting. Scale-ability.
  3. You are irrelevant. ALL discussion about you is forbidden in email #1.

Do this instead

Attract the potential buyer to ask YOU for the meeting, demo or face-to-face. Get invited to discuss a challenge, fear or goal your prospect has.

This cold email prospecting strategy works best. But it takes provocation.

If you aren’t provocative in a way that earns attraction you aren’t getting response.

Because your decision-maker is filtering emails on-the-go. He/she is mobile. Getting a reply demands you are brief, blunt and provocative.

Attract them—just like on a date

Think about the last time you were on a date. Flash back.

Smart daters have a secret weapon. Process. A template if you will.

Let’s say you decide “I want another encounter with this person.” You’re attracted to them. The most effective strategy is to help the other person ask for it.

Because their request confirms attraction to you.

Effective daters know dating is a process, systematic. Template-able. The output of the system is simple: quality leads. The process filters the candidates from the lousy leads.

Effective email prospecting is the same.

Help your lead self-qualify

Think about the two elements of a successful first date:

  1. It’s a match. You are attracted to the other person.
  2. Getting asked out again.

Am I right?

In business the goal is identical. There are 2 ways to get an appointment set using a cold email template or InMail template.

  1. Attract it to you (via a short but meaningful conversation).
  2. Ask for it directly.

Which do you prefer?

You should prefer #1. Because when someone asks YOU out—or for that demo—they’re showing active interest. They’re qualifying themselves.

They’re attracted to what you’ve said … so far.

Success often boils down to your ability to give prospects an irresistible reason to talk. This is what we learn how to do in our conversation-starting email writing workshops.

Make ’em wait (to spark curiosity)

What does this mean for you? Getting replies and appointments set is not about WHAT you say.

Success is driven by how and WHEN you communicate. This is what I’ve learned. This is the best cold email prospecting strategy—practiced by myself and my customers.

Attracting the prospect to you requires saying just enough to get the conversation started—a short chat about what’s meaningful to the other person.

Then, allowing the other person to do most of the talking beyond the first, cold email.

This elicits questions in the mind of the prospective customer or partner. Questions they will be prone to ask you—and you will answer BRIEFLY.

So you can get back to focusing on them. So you can spark more questions.

Avoid this cold email trap

You want to be forthright, honest and direct. But you also want to make prospects hungry for more details about your special thing. Your solution. Your product, service, better way.

The trick is helping the other person build some anxiety … an honest desire to know the details.

This helps them want another encounter with you.

Of course, this can backfire. This technique is effective at creating attraction, but dangerous. Not interesting enough to the prospect? Your attraction tactics will be seen as a gimmick.

Do this right now

Stop doing what everyone else is doing. Make email work for you—rather than the other way around!

Most sellers are sending connection requests as their first step. Don’t. Instead, help the prospect want your connection. Help them expect it.

To get the other person talking you’ve got to provoke an “interesting enough” thought.

A reason to hit reply and talk about themselves. Right away. No hesitation.

Provoking that reaction is best done using a system. A template. An effective, repeatable process.

Success boils down to giving prospects an irresistible reason to talk. This is what we learn how to do in our conversation-starting workshops. We also offer an online Academy to get started.

I hope to see you online soon! Good luck and let me know what you think? What has your experience been? Different from mine? Disagree with me? Let’s hear about it!

Photo credit: Jim Kitchener

In 1999, I co-founded what became the Google Affiliate Network and Performics Inc. where I helped secure 2 rounds of funding and built the sales team. I've been selling for over 2 decades.

After this stint, I returned to what was then Molander & Associates Inc. In recent years we re-branded to Communications Edge Inc., a member-driven laboratory of sorts. We study, invent and test better ways to communicate -- specializing in serving sales and marketing professionals.

I'm a coach and creator of the Spark Selling™ communication methodology—a curiosity-driven way to start and advance conversations. When I'm not working you'll find me hiking, fishing, gardening and investing time in my family.

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