Time to read: 2.5 minutes. You’ve gotta be provocative to get replies. But before provocation comes interruption. Interrupting with email is an art and science. It ain’t easy. But when a seller masters sparking discussions with total strangers? Look out. They churn through prospecting lists—booking qualified appointments, faster.

When a seller discovers how to interrupt gracefully everything changes.

However, interrupting with email requires more than a cut-and-paste. Right? (Right)

Cold email templates don’t work unless they’re formulaic and flexible. They must interrupt—and immediately provoke prospects—by proving you’ve done homework.

This helps you interrupt gracefully, yet provocatively.

Below is a cold email template guide I use when coaching sales teams. It will help you … guide you to create email templates that interrupt gracefully and provoke response. Here we go …

Umm, cold email templates don’t work

Everyone needs an effective cold email template. Me too. An approach that works over-and-over. Subject line and message copy are critical. You know that. But…

Tough love: Stop Googlin’ around. Cold email templates found online don’t work. Because they’re being seen by so many, they’re being applied in mass! They may have worked in the mid-1990s but not today.

They’re flawed.

Most Google-sourced cold email templates encourage sales people to sabotage themselves.  For example, your cold email should never:

  1. request a meeting (don’t rush it!)
  2. present a clear opportunity (they don’t want it)
  3. list your benefits (don’t sell)
  4. provide links or attachments (don’t distract)
  5. ask for a referral (don’t look lazy)

These “best practices” aren’t. Yet I see cold email coaches providing sellers with templates that do many of these big no-nos!

Instead, create a provocative message formula. A methodology. A way to provoke response. Consistently.

Write in a style your buyers have never seen before.

Are these “effective ways of writing” template-able? Yes. But they require a small bit of customization. Then, experimentation. They’re flexible. This is the advantage of a template-able communications method that sparks curiosity in buyers.

An odd (but effective) cold email technique

Today, you’ve got to do 3 things to get response using cold email:

  1. Spark curiosity with your subject line and message copy.
  2. Provoke immediate response by help buyers start talking about themselves.
  3. Avoid presenting opportunity to prospects who don’t want it!

Your buyer doesn’t want opportunity. They may be open to talking about a problem or goal. But they don’t want your opportunity. Every day they’re presented with opportunities by sellers like you. Don’t be one of them.

Instead, provoke the pants off ’em.

Come and start doing this in our next Email Writing Clinic. I’m coaching a small group of students.

5 questions to ask before hitting send

Before you press send ask yourself, “is my email template…”

  1. requesting a meeting?
  2. presenting a crystal clear opportunity?
  3. listing benefits?
  4. providing links or attachments?
  5. asking for a referral?

If your cold email template is doing any of these no-nos stop. Adjust it. Make it short, to-the-point and provocative yet tense. Yes, tense.

Interrupt gracefully & create tension

Today’s top reps are effectively interrupting prospects gracefully. Effectively. Using the phone, LinkedIn, email… whatever it takes.

But then they’re creating tension. Constructive tension.

Think about it like dating. You cannot create attraction without a little tension. And you can’t provoke someone without getting them curious. Well, you can tap into fear. I do work with sellers using fear (or tapping into buyers’ uncertainty) effectively in a “first-touch” email.

But for you… as you start to write cold email templates, help the prospect want to know more details. Don’t let on too much, too fast. Remember:

  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. Speed.
  3. You are irrelevant. ALL discussion about you is forbidden in email #1.

Good cold calling and cold emailing techniques leverage graceful interruptions. Problem is, most marketing teams and “gurus” under-value (or just don’t plain understand) this part of sales.

But now you do 🙂

Come and start doing this in our next Email Writing Clinic. I’m coaching a small group of students.

Good luck!

Photo credit: U.S. Army

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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  • Awesome Tip, Jeff! This guide is very helpful for email marketers who want to make their email marketing campaign effective.Successful email marketing campaigns deliver value through relevant messages. That’s practically what the entire process strives to accomplish. Good luck!

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