Mastering the Art of Cold Calling:
3 Essential Do’s and Don’ts for Success
How often do you receive cold email/cold messages? How many of them ever caught your attention?
As a business owner, I have RECEIVED and SENT tons of these on a daily basis. Same for my fellow entrepreneurs. Countless times these messages annoyed me and the fact that we all get annoyed by other salesy or pushy messages just lead to my anxiety of cold-calling for my business too.
So I started to search what a perfect cold email template would look like – I am calling it “cold email” in this blog but the same ideas work for messages on LinkedIn or traditional letters by post as well – they are all seen as “commercial outreach”.
And I land with three Dos, and three Don’ts, and a holy grail template by Tim Ferris.
To be clear, the cold emails I am talking about are mainly for three reasons:
1/ Relationship building
2/ Sales introduction
3/ Gaining insight
While most entrepreneurs are fairly familiar with sales cold calling, the other two purposes are usually neglected – Hence their messages all fall short as a sales one. After all, no one is keen on opening an inbox with various demands for their money!
But how do you build relationships and gain insight, ultimately leading to sales, without irritating people?
1/ Don’t use “Thank you in advance”
Tim Ferris said, it makes you sound entitled, and I totally agree. Cold-email is basically approaching complete strangers. Assuming they will grant a favor to you – whether it be a connection request or an introduction call, is just very much indicating that they SHOULD be giving you what you want.
2/ Don’t start with “Hey dear….” or “Greeting…”
If you can’t write the name of your recipient, don’t even bother to send that email. We all know we can be just one of many who receive these emails but seeing ourselves anonymous as a mere number to the senders still stings.
3/ Don’t tell them “You have problem xyz”
The typical old school open lines usually look like this: “I have just looked at your (profile/url/social media account) and saw that your (profile/url/social media account) has a handful of issues which should be addressed.”
Firstly, I don’t appreciate you telling me what my problem is – when you barely know me. I also don’t need any “help” from you when you can’t even name a specific solution I have ever mentioned on any occasion!
That’s right! You need to know me well enough for me to pay attention to your email, and you can’t achieve that without a fair amount of observational research, which is what many people won’t invest in and exactly what will set you apart from other senders.
Make a personalized invitation, that is the least you could do.
Now the three Do’s
1/ Do allow to be ignored or rejected
It might look counterintuitive but seriously, your recipients have no reasons to respond, unless they see it necessary. Once you acknowledge this fact, it not only cuts you loose, but also allows your recipients to question themselves if this is an email they should ignore.
It also shows that you have that empathy to their busy life and schedule, and fully respect their choices not to respond. What I have learned from years of sales experience is that making it okay to say NO will actually get you more YESs. Because you won’t waste your time chasing the wrong people and you can move on with dignity, instead of feeling like a beggar.
2/ Do mention the common ground
Relationships are not a one way street – you meet each other in the middle. If you can’t even find anything you share in common, why will your recipients care to reply? A clear mutual benefit is the key to a sustainable partnership. Even when you are asking about a charitable act, addressing how this aligns to that person’s core value and his/her interest will bring you closer.
3/ Do give an easy CTA (call to action)
After all your effort and research to write this email, what you will never want to happen, is a complicated step to put your contacts off. Give them an action they can complete in 20 seconds – a Calendly booking link, an emoji to show their interest, or a one liner response will just do the magic.
So what is this cold-mail holy grail exactly? Here is what I took from The Third Door by Alex Banayan. According to him, this is the template Tim Ferris created and successfully got him in front of big names in the industry:
Dear ____ ,
I know you are incredibly busy and you get a lot of emails. So this will only take 60 seconds to read.
1-2 sentences max: Who you are, what context you have that’s relevant to that person.
1-2 sentences max: A very specific question they can answer right away
(For examples: What book can you recommend to the first time author? What advice do you have for someone who’s new to managing teams?)
[Closing paragraph -Clincher]
I totally understand if you are too busy to reply. Even a one or two line response would completely make my day.
All the best,
I’ve used this template to customize my own outreach and it just feels so much more sincere – I no longer see myself as a heartless robot, sending inhumane messages everywhere, and people do feel that too!
Now you have it – all you need is just put your heart into the people you want to reach and they shall answer. If not, you still have two options:
Follow up, or give up.