Cold email prospecting is NOT about getting more meetings set.

Instead, you should be using it to qualify OUT prospects faster. This way you don't waste time on people who won't close. If you're an inside seller this allows you to send more close-able leads to your reps.

More engagement and response starts here. A better communication method.

Strengthening outreach tactics:

          - eliminates tire-kickers
          - screen-outs clients looking for free advice
          - covers more ground in less time
          - allows you to feel good about prospecting

What's stopping you from applying a method where prospects disqualify themselves? Getting them to respond to begin with? Fair enough. This process will get you started.

5 reasons prospects don't reply to cold emails

Here’s what we’re learning from our Spark Selling Academy students (sales reps & business owners).

Most cold emails and InMails fail to start discussions because they:

  1. blend in, are clearly mass e-mailed; (don't stand out)
  2. have subject lines telegraphing what’s inside; (never get opened)
  3. focus on the seller; 
  4. ask for a meeting
  5. contain Web links or PDFs (distracting customers from replying OR causing the message to be spam binned).

In 93% of cases our Academy members report lack of response because the sender’s goal is focused on earning a meeting

Everything (bad) flows from this flawed objective.

Instead, provoke a short discussion … that MIGHT (if the client decides) lead to a meeting.  

Then, conduct the conversation (via email) in a way that creates an urge in good prospects … to ask you for the appointment. Poor prospects will fall away.

All because of how you structured words.

Write subject lines this way

Focus your subject lines on creating tension.

Yes, tension.

Tension creates curiosity.

The job of your subject line is to create curiosity about what’s inside the message. Nothing more.

Don’t focus on pain points. If you do, you’ll blend in with the pack. EVERYONE is doing this. Trust me. Avoid it.

Don’t be cute. This always causes trouble. 

Be careful about using first names in subject lines. This is often a signal of “fake personalization.” Some buyers are VERY savvy to mail merged spam!

Make your subject line:

  • Familiar, yet also vague (don’t be overtly specific)
  • Provocative … a little bit weird … yet credible
  • As short as possible (2-3 words is best)

Never, ever trick with your subject lines.

No using “RE:” or any of that kiddie stuff. This is an old, ineffective trick used to stand out. Doesn't work much anymore. Prospects have been burned too often by it!

Never, ever ask for what you want in the subject line (e.g. Can we talk?).

Avoid asking yes/no questions.

Eliminate self-talk

Take off your marketing hat and put on your cold email prospecting hat.

This is often the most difficult part. For some of our students it feels natural, others it’s uncomfortable.

Abandon any old habits of leaning on marketing prose found on web sites, etc.  And beware of taking sales writing advice from marketing folks

When you meet someone on a blind date, does it ever go well for you if you sit there and just talk about yourself the whole time? Or do you like it if your date does the same? Probably not. The same logic applies here. 

Will targeted prospecting work for my cold emails?

Standing out in the inbox using a Targeted approach is very difficult. Because everyone knows what a mass-emailed message feels like when we see it. It’s almost instantaneous. But there are emerging tactics our private community can teach you.

  • Do you know the market well?
  • Able to localize your offering to a region.
  • Chasing after a niche market within an outreach campaign? (as seen in the example above)
  • Can you talk “blood-and-guts” about problems your customers struggle to solve … or may not realize they have? (yet)
  • Need to get conversations started at scale?

Targeted (one-to-many) Spark provocation may work for your cold email prospecting efforts. 

There are dangers. Such as pushing “pain points.” Be very careful about playing on them in messages. In fact, don’t. Just don’t. Doing so usually backfires. EVERYONE is doing this. You don’t want to look common.

How you go about writing is the key to success.

Every word counts. And with the Spark technique less is more. This helps your email stand out.

Not sure what the difference is between a Tailored (one-to-one) and a Targeted message? This is vital to your success. Get in touch so my support team or I can get you on track.

Or ask in comments below if you have questions.

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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