Ice cube email

Cold call email critique: How to go from zero to hero

1st Mar 2016

We all receive hundreds of emails each week.

We receive emails from people who sit about 10 yards away from us, we receive customer emails with legitimate requests, offers of $30 million dollars from Nigerian princes and we receive lots of sales emails that go straight into the deleted items folder.

In terms of prospecting emails I’m sure that some of those really do offer something of value to me but they are so poorly written that no sooner as they go “ping” in my inbox that I’m deleting them just as quick – if not quicker.

So why do these emails always get a date with the Trash bin?

Basically the emails are so poor that they either: Don’t say what’s in it for me and/or they focus too much on the sender – I call this “Me Mail!”

Here’s an example of an actual prospecting email that I received recently:

(I’ve taken out the names!)

Cold call email


Emails like this are too self-serving and they lack any intrigue and what’s in it for me to make me want to find out more.

Let’s look at what Jennifer did…

Subject: XYZ Ltd

They put their own company name in the subject line. Never heard of them! Delete!


Jennifer certainly didn’t have me at hello! She doesn’t even know my name! That’s enough for an invite with the trash! Delete!

“We are the market leaders in automated email responders”

So what? Everyone claims that!

“We help customers such as ABC, DEF and GHI with their autoresponder requirements and we would like to help you as well”

I am honoured, thank you so much for the privilege!

“XYZ Ltd has been established since 2002 and we have a long list of happy clients”

Don’t we all?

“To see how our award winning autoresponder will help you, please call or email me at your earliest convenience”

You’re not making this easy for me Jennifer!

Let’s take a look at how Jennifer could have written this email:

cold call email new

I’m not saying this is perfect but let’s take a closer look:

Subject: Quick Question

That’s interesting. It could be from a prospect or existing client. The risk is too high for me to delete it just on the subject line. People like to be asked for help so this has got me intrigued at this point.

“Hi Sean”

At least you know who I am! You have addressed me in an informal way which I like.

“How do ABC, DEF and GHI have so much success when sending cold emails to their prospects and clients?”

You said you’ve got a quick question in the subject line and now you’re posing it. The question refers to some of my competitors or companies I will know and I want to know how they do it. So I’m going to read on…

“Answer? They use XYZ autoresponder to help them improve their email open rates by an average of 26% from the last 100,000 emails that they have sent”

You’re talking results. Not that you’ve been in business since the ark or that you’ve got so many happy clients. Instead, you’re talking tangibles. An increase in 26% from 100,000 emails.

“I would be delighted to show how this could also apply to MTD through a free, no obligation trial”

You are offering a no risk trial. I’ve got nothing to lose. You’re not asking me to call you to find out more. You are lowering the barrier of entry.

“To help you see how we could do this, do you have 10 minutes this week to discuss?”

Here’s an easy call to action. You are not asking 2 or 3 things from me. You are just asking if I am free or not. And also, the fact that it will not take long is subconsciously appealing too.

The second email is more direct with less fluff. If I’m in the market for the results that the email suggests then I’ll be interested.

There is no perfect prospecting email that will guarantee success, as most buyers don’t accept cold calls and won’t read unsolicited emails no matter where they are from. 

But if you create a message that grabs attention from the first second, builds interest by talking their language, creates desire to know more and elicits some form of action, you have devised something that would be eagerly read and responded to.


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