Sales Performance

Show Me a Better Cold Pitch

The assault on my inbox continues.

I am following up to schedule a quick introductory call to discuss your talent acquisition initiatives that may require Ryan Estis to take a look at new social recruiting tools.

 During our call, you can learn about helping your hiring team to:

  • Increase referral hires by 100%
  • Create a proprietary resume database

  • Save 8 hours per requisition

 Please let me know if you have availability on either Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. I look forward to hearing back from you. In the mean time please enjoy this infographic on the future of recruiting.

My favorite part about this pitch is the seller attached her two previous unanswered emails creating, a little series of shame.

I could either let the dialogue play out to enhance our library of sales training material (the “Don’t Do This” file) or give her some real-time coaching by explaining why nobody is responding to this cold pitch and why shame doesn’t close sales.

I’ve shared ineffective sales emails like this one before. Recently, a reader asked if I had any specific positive examples of email outreach. Here are the two keys to consider:

  1. Give value first. Think hard about how you can earn the right to ask for 15 minutes. What specific, relevant and valuable context can you provide that really warrants your customer’s attention? The email above doesn’t come close to meeting that threshold.
  2. Warm up. Is there an opportunity to create some level of connection before you ask for the commitment? Understand that the inbox and calendar are sacred, crowded places. Showing up uninvited and underprepared is never the best strategy to advance a relationship and earn somebody’s time and attention. Perhaps it pays to find another point of connection first?

Social media is one opportunity.

When Niraj ended up in my inbox with the subject line “Loved Turning Customers Into Brand Evangelists,” his odds of capturing my attention skyrocketed. There’s nothing cold about that subject at all! Of course, he had a business objective. However, his positioning and eventual ask ended up being lot more relevant to me because he did a little homework on the front end and didn’t waste my time.

Relationships are another opportunity.

I got a text from my friend Pat on Friday. He asked if I could carve out 15 minutes to give his friend Chris a little coaching as a personal favor to Pat. My answer was “yes” because my friend asked. Chris and I have traded text messages and we’re going to connect this week.

Recently I asked my friend Ryan if he would take a meeting with my friend Mark. Mark made a pretty good case for why it would be worth Ryan’s time and following my very specific prompt, Ryan agreed it would be worth a coffee. My asking certainly helped earn his attention and elevate his sense of urgency around making that meeting happen. Kudos to Mark for finding a better way to make the connection.

When you ask for a referral, respect your relationships. Provide real value up front by making a clear, specific case for the referral. When you connect two people, always ask for permission first. Never assume it’s a good idea to connect two strangers without asking. Respect that inbox real estate!

Providing specific, customized value up front and networking to create a stronger introduction can be time-consuming. Sending a template email to a list of “qualified leads” is a lot easier. But putting in the work will convert more leads into opportunities. Hard work beats cold emails every time.

Screenshot of e-newsletter titled 'Prepare for Impact' with sample content 'The Power of Micromarketing'

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