Why your cold email isn't working

(and how to fix it)

Jeff Molander

Conversation Enablement Coach & Founder, Communications Edge Inc.

Your cold email ("first touch" message) is probably coming on too strong—saying too much, too fast.

Your goal is NOT to book a meeting on first contact. Using InMail? Standard email? Connecting on LinkedIn first?

Be warned: Asking for calls and meetings, right away, usually fails.

Whether you're trying to provoke a discussion or continue one that's stalled... you're not selling. You're facilitating.

Facilitating a conversation about change.

Don't rush the meeting

"Any time you begin with an attempt to get an appointment you are being rejected by 90—97% of perfectly good prospects," says Sharon Drew Morgen, creator of the Buying Facilitation method. Sharon has over 20 years of experience working with sellers.

Here's what you need to know:

- At least 50% of the people you are calling are viable prospects.
- Easily half of these can close.

Are you closing at least 25% of all of your raw leads?

Because "these folks are going to buy something similar to your solution within 2 years—but not from you," she says.

Simply because you rushed the meeting.

Question: Are you giving prospects the chance to understand why they need to talk with you—and decide (for themselves) when?

Instead, get invited into the discussion first. Because this helps the buyer understand why they want the appointment.

If you do Sharon says, "you will close more, help put together—and become part of—the Buying Decision Team ... making yourself invaluable."

Do this instead

Re-frame. Think about it this way:  

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.

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.

Facilitate conversation. Ms. Morgen calls it "facilitat-ive questioning."

This email communications technique works best. But it takes provocation.

However, getting response demands being provocative in a way that sparks curiosity.

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

Come and start practicing this tactic in our online Academy

Attract them—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 of sorts.

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 the next date. Why?

Because their request confirms attraction to you. Bingo. You're in.

Effective daters know dating is a process, systematic. Template-able.

The output of a rock solid dating system is quality leads. The process filters good candidates from the poor ones.

Effective email prospecting is the same. But it takes a mind-shift. Away from asking for meetings, toward provoking ... and sometimes a bit of seduction.

Spark curiosity

When prospecting, your goal is to create an urge in the potential customer to talk.

No urge created? No chance to talk with them.

Making qualified sales appointments via email (faster, at scale) is mostly about:

- not saying “too much, too fast” about you;
- not asking for the appointment;
- helping prospects want to reveal what is most important right now and
- sparking curiosity in how you might help them (not your solution).

Help them self-qualify

Think about what makes a successful first date:

1) You are attracted to the other person.
2) Getting asked out again.


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

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 sales copywriting technique is what we learn how to do ... in our online Spark Selling Academy. Another option to take action on what you now know :)

Pull, don't push

Attract prospects to you. Pull. Say just enough to get the conversation started—a short chat about what’s meaningful to the other person.

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

Make it a habit. Hold yourself accountable to: 

- Staying committed to provoking curiosity, going slow;
- not talking about yourself in the message;
- holding a little back ... to create curiosity 

This helps attract the conversation to you. This helps create questions in the mind of the potential buyer/candidate. Questions they will be prone to ask you—and you will answer BRIEFLY. Not completely. 

The buyer will see the appointment as a way to short-circuit all of this emailing. He or she will want to get right to the point with you.

Structure the way you reply. Be deliberate about it. If you need help there's an entire community waiting to help you get on track... and stay on it.

Good luck!

Conversation Enablement Coach & Founder
Communications Edge Inc.

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