From CEOs to inside sellers with no experience, each week, I meet sellers using the exact same cold prospecting email templates, all sourced on Google. They all report the same results.

Nearly zero response. No meetings.

Here’s why: They are sending the exact same, identical templates everyone else is.

Why your cold email is blending in

Have a look at your own inbox. Do you see the same cold prospecting email template patterns over and over? 

We are training potential customers to ignore us. 

Do your LinkedIn connection requests start with... "I came across your profile..." ?

Do your cold emails start with... "I'm the local account manager for [target company]..."?

Or... “We don't know each other. My name is ____. Whenever I reach out to someone I make sure to have a reason in order to not waste your time.”

Or, “I read your comments in _________ [magazine] regarding [initiative/trend/issue].”

This is the problem at its core---you're blending in with the sea of spammy messages.

Do your follow-up templates look like this? (crap)

We’ve tried to reach you a couple times to introduce you to ________ [your company/product], but haven’t heard back which tells me something [please reply indicating one of the following]:

  1. You’re all set and I should stop bothering you.
  2. You’re still interested but haven’t had the time to get back to me yet (scheduling link listed below).
  3. Maybe this is out of your wheel house, if so, is there some one you’d recommend connecting with?
  4. You’ve fallen and can’t get up and in that case let me know and I’ll call someone to help you …

Of course, you can replace #4 with herds of hippos, rhinos or alligators.

Like thousands of other sellers, you’ve found your way to the same cold email templates for prospecting. And, like everyone else, you send them... looking for customers.

But your direct competitors use the same templates. In fact, those you don’t compete with (directly) in your industry but do compete with for inbox space use the same templates too. 

That’s a problem.

Because recipients easily spot your messages and mark it as spam. Inboxes are becoming saturated with virtually identical messages.

You’re under pressure. We all are. This is why we send cold emails to large numbers of contacts--to try to start conversations.

However, Targeted (one-to-many) email messages are not the best option. Starting conversations with decision-makers (especially if you’re selling a complex solution) requires more.

A Tailored (one-to-one) strategy earns better response rates and more conversations. Yet targeted campaign-style messages are used—exclusively—by most BDR/SDR and digital demand generation teams.

This is a mistake.

Your source of cold email templates

Why would you expect to find a better-than-average way to start conversations, using cold email, via Google? (everyone’s top go-to source for shortcuts)

Why would you trust the validity of what you found while Google'ing? I suppose it's probably because of Google’s perceived clout to aggregate “only the best” answers to questions.

However, it's important to remember that today’s most popular (ineffective) email templates come from dubious sources. Yes, Google aggregates them. But consider the end source.

  • Cold email gurus & wannabe gurus
  • Lead generation experts & agencies
  • Email software companies
  • LinkedIn & LinkedIn gurus

At face value this seems fine and logical. A handful of online gurus, guru wannabes and consultants claim to have expertise in cold emailing. Most offer free templates and webinars. In exchange for free wisdom, they hope to earn your participation in an online class or that you will hire them to consult so they can write emails for you.

Fair enough. But why would these experts provide good advice for free? 

Answer: They don’t.

Likewise, lead generation experts and agencies often give away B2B and B2C email templates designed to start conversations with prospects. But why would these businesses give away “what works” for free? They have no incentive to. In fact, they have a very real incentive not to.

Answer: They don’t give away useful information either.

Instead, they trade what doesn’t work (perhaps worked years ago) for your email address.

The biggest source of templates, hands down, seems to be software providers like HubSpot and There are many. These are just two very fine companies.

Point is: Software tool providers want your email address too. In return, they hope to sell you email management sending & analysis tools. As bait, they offer tips, tricks and better ways to use their tools.

If you’re a customer, they’ll also provide recommendations on how to best use their solution. After all, you’re a paying customer.

But why don’t these tips pay off?

We trust because we're lazy

We trust those who aren’t truly experts because we’re lazy.

Look, I’m not attacking gurus and legitimate software providers. I’m questioning their authority as experts in communication technique.

None of them officially claim this domain expertise, by the way.

Software companies operate businesses that provide a suite of email management tools. Fair enough. But they are not providers of sales and marketing copywriting services, nor do they claim to be communication educators. Instead, they tend to work with gurus to curate (and add legitimacy to) experts, consultants and gurus publishing free templates. All as a service to customers and a lead generation tool for themselves.

But what if these free tips don’t work? (Hint: they don’t.) When considering the source, why would we even think they would work? (Hint: most folks don’t consider.)

Everyone likes shortcuts, after all, and templates for cold prospecting email are shortcuts to success. Or are they?

Of course, LinkedIn--the dominant social selling platform--offers the same: Advice on how to best use its expensive Sales Navigator tool to drum-up business with potential customers. Once again, it does so by distributing cold prospecting email templates (and others).

Templates, templates and more templates. Actually, there aren’t that many. A quick Google of “cold prospecting email templates” results in plenty of search returns, but most of them provide the same 20-30 or so templates.

That’s the problem.

Bottom line: We trust those who aren’t experts because we’re lazy or don't want to put the time into it.

It’s human nature.

Plus, we want to believe that the software tools we invest in are built (and used) by other successful experts. But this is rarely the case. Exceptional business practices are exceptional for a reason.

They’re not typical and not widely shared. Certainly not found on Google.

Stop using templates

There are serious dangers involved with using widely-distributed templates… as an individual but also as a whole organization.

Consider how people don’t unsubscribe anymore.

Instead, it’s easier to mark unwanted email as spam.

This damages the sending organization’s domain reputation. Think about it. The quality of outbound prospecting determines an organization’s domain reputation. 

Use crappy templates? Prospects will mark them as spam. In fact, your messages are also targeted by spam-elimination software. Use of standardized templates make quick work of separating out your messages—spam binning them before they get to your target’s inbox.

Lately, if your spammy template does get through, recipients don’t bother to unsubscribe. They just mark you as spam.

All of this bad news begs the obvious question: Where are the best sources of “what works” or best practices for your templates for cold email prospecting?

There are closed communities of sellers sharing “what works.” Join one. Also, in team sales environments internal best practices are discovered via sales communication training and facilitation of best practice exchanges.

Truth is, human beings tend to experiment and discover what works, but we often don’t share it. After all, in many cases, there is no incentive to. This is business, after all. All is fair in love and war...and business!

What has your experience been?

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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