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October 28, 2020

Sending cold emails? Then take the time to do it right.

cold emailI received a cold email this morning from a company pitching its products. It happens all the time. But this one was especially bad.

First of all, it was like so many of the other cold emails I’ve received over the years – selling products or services I simply don’t need. This happens so much that I started writing about this phenomenon as early as 2016 (read the first post here). This salesperson was just lazy. They likely found my name on an industry list somewhere and assumed I needed what they’re selling. Uh-h-h… no!

Interestingly, this email came from the President of the company. I guess their presumption was that if it comes from ‘the boss,’ I’ll consider it more carefully. Uh-h-h… no!

But what made this cold email really bad was the content itself. It simply said (and I’m paraphrasing – but not a lot). “Here’s a list of the 12 services we offer in bullet point form… let’s talk.” Again… no!

Maybe they’ll get lucky, but my gut says they’ll get a zero response to this email blast.

As you may have guessed, I am not a big fan of cold emails… but if you have to send them out, there are a couple of guidelines you MUST follow:

#1. Make sure you’re sending them to recipients who might actually need what you’re selling. Create a buyer persona and target that persona. To do anything else is a waste of your time and – more importantly – the recipient’s.

#2. Don’t start the email by pitching your products, start by acknowledging a problem the recipient is likely to have. For Harpeth Marketing, for example, we know that most small-to-mid-sized research firms don’t have the bandwidth to do the marketing they want to do and as a result, don’t always achieve the level of revenue they want. Now, think about your target market… what’s a common problem/issue/challenge they’re likely to have? Leverage that in the email.

#3. Next, talk about the benefits your clients enjoy when they work with you. You noticed I didn’t say ‘list out what you do.’ Again, for us, we talk about helping our clients build awareness in the markets they serve, positioning them as subject matter experts and generating sales leads. The details of how we do that (email marketing, content creation, social media, SEO, etc.) isn’t all that important. Remember, buyers don’t care about that you can do… they care about what you can do for them.

#4. Finally, proactively plan the ‘next step.’ Sadly, most salespeople skip this. Rather than say something generic like, “To learn more, visit our website at…” (and then cross your fingers and hope they actually do… which they won’t!), try something like this, “Mike, I’ll reach out to you next Monday afternoon to see if this is something that interests you. In the meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to call me at …”. The ‘next step’ needs to be action-oriented and you need to drive the action.

Bottom line: I hope your firm’s marketing efforts are generating enough sales leads for you to follow-up with, but if not – and you have to send out cold emails – you need to invest the time, effort and critical thinking to make them as effective as they can be. If you don’t, they’ll end up being the same kind of lousy emails that most unsuccessful salespeople in our industry send out.

Think about it… would you want to receive a cold email like that? Uh-h-h… no!

Good luck and good selling!

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