I am a fan of Derren Brown. For those not living in the UK, he is a rather good illusionist with a big show on BBC. One of the trick he has is to ask people on stage to think of a piece of music and, when they share it, reveal that it is the same piece he wrote on a paper. A rather baffling trick. And he shared the way he prepares for it . Essentially, he has his crew following this person throughout the day prior to the show and make sure she is exposed to a piece of music of his choosing numerous times. This includes a band busking in the street outside her house, music piped in the restaurant she is eating for lunch, etc, etc… Once on stage, her subconscious has been sufficiently exposed to Derren Brown’s choosen piece and he get his result.
What does this got to do with cold emailing? Clearly, cold emailing is not some sort of magic trick for which you need to follow your prospect during the day. However, there is a part where the subconscious of a prospect can work in your favour which I’ll share here. But let me fist take a step back.
I previously mentioned why I believe that prospecting (cold calling or cold emailing) is critical to growth. So here I share five tips on how to write a powerful cold email. Cold emailing should be coupled with phone calling as they work hand in hand though just cold emailing on its own can work to get a sales conversation started. After a little bit of A/B testing, I usually get to a response rate between 15% to 20%. It takes some work but no pain no gain. (Edit: recent campaigns with 4 or 5 data points acquired on prospect brought me to 35%, of course a mix of yes, no and “not now but worth revisiting” as detailed here).
1- Don’t be enthusiastic. The recipient doesn’t know you. The title of the email might not mean a lot to him and she might already open it with a dubious mind. Being all enthusiastic with sentences such as “I would love to talk to you” or even worst “We’d love to do a demo” is the equivalent of meeting a complete stranger in the street and that stranger speaking 5cm from your face. Luckily, that is what most people do. So, going against the grain here is the way to go to separate yourself from the pack. How? I start my cold mail with a magic phrase: “I am not sure we need to talk”.
2- It’s all about the pain. What are the main reasons people would be interested in getting back to a cold email? Not because a company has won many superb awards or because analyst A, B or C has given some recognition. Nope. It is because they have problems that need to be sorted. And the mail is pointing exactly at these problems. So the cold email needs to be talking about the problems addressed. Nothing more. Nothing less.
3- Third party. How many cold emails do we receive which are absolutely full to the brim with I and We. “We do this”, “we do that”, etc… Dale Carnegy is very acid on how people read these missives. I highly recommend to read this post . So, the I and the We need to be absolutely limited. The simple way to do so is to use the problems addressed (see above) and how “third parties” benefited from it. With sentences such as “our users were annoyed by XXXX and YYYY”. I stress it, not by stating “We do XXX and YYYY”.
4- The date. Some people add at the end of their email a couple of suggested dates to arrange a call. I don’t. It might be me but I find it antiquated. And a little bit pushy. If the pains addressed by the service / product are well explained and if the prospect does have similar pains, then it is the compelling force to respond. I however follow-up by a phone call.
5- Social selling. Social selling is all the rage these days. And it has a great use. Here is one of the approach I use that could be labelled “social selling” which, I believe, give me some results. If the prospect I am targeting is on Twitter, I tend to retweet one or two of her tweets prior to contacting her. So my name means something to her. And my mail is still cold but it’s a little bit less cold as she has seen my name not long ago. So, I would not call myself the Derren Brown of cold emailing but it is useful to have my name in my prospect’s mind or, at the very least, in her subconscious. And, needless to say, I naturally retweet one or two after cold emailing!
There is a lot more to say about cold emailing which I will not cover here. For example, adapting the mail to the targeted person (different role, different pains). And I could hop onto Dmitry blog post to find out some examples of cold emails. But I hope the above are useful? Any advice to share when you cold email?