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The Fine Art of The Cold Email

May 29, 2020 | Blog Post

With the sales landscape rapidly changing and the emergence of social media platforms geared towards lead generation, are cold emails relevant in today’s business climate?  Yes!  As part of your overall sales strategy, the cold email is vital.  In fact, if done professionally, the results to cold emails can increase your pipeline and open up authentic dialogues with new customers. 

Beware, this is a cautionary tale because there are many pitfalls and obstacles that you need to avoid before sending out your first cold email.  Sadly, over the years I have fallen into every cold call pit hole.  Not fun. 

The following is some practical advice that I have learned from experience and have validated from research on blogs, websites and discussions with other sales reps. 


First of all, time is money.  You just have a few seconds to capture your audience.  Keeping it short is the difference between the potential customer reading the email or hitting the delete button!  The email needs to be short and concise.  Don’t write a Dostoyevsky novel on why your potential client should buy a certain widget from you.  The best emails should be 3-5 sentences in length. 


Make sure you use a creative subject line for your email.  If you don’t put a subject line or if the subject is weak the potential customer will think it’s spam and, in most cases, delete the email. 


Personalize the email.  If you don’t know the person’s name, don’t send it.  Ensure you get the person’s correct name from LinkedIn or LinkedIn Sales Navigator.  If the email is not personalized, it will be treated as spam and consequently deleted. 


Do your research. Very important aspect of the cold email is doing your research on your potential customers.   Through your research, you should be able to get important information about the customer.  For example, potential customer just won a large contract.  They might be in growth mode.  You might be able to find interesting buying habits or trends about the potential customer.  Don’t blindly send out an email to the potential customer without any research.  If you do it could backfire on you.  Many years ago, I worked with a sales rep who was trying to make some inroads with one of the financial companies in Canada.  With little research, he kept sending emails to the potential customer about black widgets when they had globally standardized with blue widgets.  We discreetly pointed this out to him, and he did his research and the message and product changed.  Sadly, he had lost creditability at that point.  The brief story validates the importance of research.  Regrettably, I see this situation happening a lot. Without research, you could lose a lot of credibility sending out emails to potential customers. I realize that research if not easy or fun, but it needs to be done. 


Segregate your audience. To make the whole task of sending out cold email manageable you should send out cold emails via verticals.  But what vertical should I look at?  Start with a vertical that you or your company have done well in.  For example, if your company has done well in selling solutions to the transportation sector, start with that vertical.  Don’t stop there!  Again, do a deep dive of the problems they have and the solutions you have created.  Surprising enough, you will start seeing trends that will help create the theme for your emails. 


Avoid using multi-media or pictures in these emails.  Most people find it distracting.  Multi-media and pictures are perfect for social media platforms such as Facebook and Linkedin. 


At the end of your cold email, don’t ask them for a meeting. It’s too soon. The closing remarks should be structured around responding to an event such as a question. For example, point #1 is my favourite, what’s your favourite?  You need the potential customer to respond and by responding an open honest dialogue begins. 


Be persistent. You not going to get 100% response rate.  You need to create a series of follow-up emails that you will send out to the people who didn’t respond. 


In closing, the above is a concise and practical guide to creating a successful cold email to your potential clients.  Good luck and happy selling!

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