A few words about writing cold emails
The golden era of cold e-mailing came back to bite us and the hangover from that is something that we’re all still feeling. Sending dozens of pitches is an inexpensive type of company promotion and will be the most popular sales tool for a long time. However, the effectivity of this method is steadily falling. What is the reason?
Just imagine, every day, millions of decision-making people start their work day with deleting tens of unwanted emails, often even without opening and reading it. Unfortunately, the only losers are companies that really have something worthwhile to offer, and this is the way they gain their clients. Each sales representative must ask themselves important strategic questions: how valuable are their services? Who needs them? And why it is their firm to provide them?
Spaghetti of the wall
When I started my adventure with cold emails, I thought that it’s handing-out-flyers type of job and everything that counts is the number — a shitload! You probably are nodding right now, but I believed at the time in spaghetti on the wall method (trial and error). In the case of cold emails, it meant sending hundreds of emails to a list of people that was made with a lick and a promise. There was nothing more to do than counting on luck. I, of course, paid a huge attention to writing the most snappy pitch and try to schedule emails to be sent in the best time (including time zones).
Perfecting my method, I’ve come a long way from the point where I hadn’t received any answer to the moment when I was receiving a lot of “thanks, but no” emails. I assumed it was a progression. But I still thought that poorly written messages are the problem. Soon I had to beat my breast.
Hit the right door
The fundamental of an email campaign is the smart selection. It’s not only about writing to CTO, CEO or COO of every company, which includes words like retail/software/startup (delete as appropriate) in its LinkedIn profile. It’s crucial to be aware of the product, price, and services in the B2B relations. People we talk with probably knows what our competition offers — they know the costs and requirements. This is why research is so important — you should know what the company offers, who works there and what is the opinion on this firm. That way, you can pinpoint businesses that really need your services.
During the first call, you are prepared and have the necessary knowledge to encourage your potential client that your conversation isn’t a coincidence. By knowing caller’s bio, you make your job easier. The appropriate research allows for email customization at the first stage. You have to take a bit of your time, but you also learn about the competition of your future business partner. And this is the weapon which helps you encourage the client that with you, they can gain their business goals.
A real-life example: Once I had a tough talk with a representative of the financial firm from London. He seemed to be assigned to this call and obviously didn’t want to do it. I had got to know his first name and surname before this call and got to his biography. We reached a turning point when I asked him about his internship in Lithuania — then the conversation became a little bit warmer.
Return to sender
Most of the guides rightly say that the briefer messages, the better. The message should include one information phrase, request, and call to action (most often it’s invitation to Skype call). What else? If you know that there’s an event that you both are planning to go on, be sure to write about it! Write that you’re impressed by their portfolio (by pointing out specific clients) or show that you worked on similar projects in the past. Try to avoid phrases such as “I hope…”, “it would be great…” etc. Follow above point to create the best template:
- one sentence includes information about us
- another informational sentence regarding why we’re writing
- the reason to contact
- call to action
Remember to keep your footer short. It shouldn’t have too many graphics, but it’s good when you add your photo there. Bear in your mind that too big picture can be classified as SPAM.
It’s the first step towards building your credibility. After all, you’re a stranger guy to the person to whom you’re sending an email!
Learn how to adapt the content to your target. A creative director from an advertising agency will respond differently to aptly embedded pop culture quote into the message than a director in a big corp (there is such thing as international email etiquette!). While getting know your client, you increase your chances of success as well as make your coworkers’ life easier. You reach out to people whose needs could be met by your team’s toolbox. You won’t waste your time for fruitless meetings but will gain queries that your team will be happy about.
Client is also a human
When after weeks full of unsuccessful efforts I got my first response which was “initially positive”, I didn’t know what should I do with it. The accepted invitation doesn’t mean that we have a deal. This is where things get tough. The truth is, on the other side of a fibre-optic there also is a person who has their responsibilities, who is working on projects and counting costs. Your main job is to slip your feet back in the door [foot-in-the-door technique] at the optimal time and place and make the client let you in.
Of course, it’s impossible to know a whole schedule of person who is working on the twenty-third floor of office block somewhere in Europe. You can achieve your goals by following a few simple rules.
Firstly, you have to react as fast as possible. It could be difficult if you’re working in different time zones. However, the inbox of salesman or business developer should be open all the time! In this way, you can show all the respect and commitment. Since the first second, you’ll be building the belief that the whole company is operating at its very highest levels. Strike while the iron’s hot! The client doesn’t need to remember that they sent you a message four hours ago. They could have lunch, meeting, participate in some workshops and then (oh crap!) spilt hot coffee on them pants. If the client gets a response within fifteen minutes, the lead will stay fresh.
Secondly, a procedure of follow-up. The torment. The tough life of a young business developer. The client sent the “I’m interested” message, stressing that they like your portfolio and your toolbox is awesome. You proposed a setup, but there is no answer. What then? Just don’t be pushy. Among so-called good practices, you can find one says that you can send follow-up once a week and then you should decrease frequency gradually. If an email communication doesn’t work, try Slack, LinkedIn or Skype. You may as well start with the phone.
Thirdly and finally, there’s a man somewhere on the other side. If the client replied that they are not interested, leave him alone. If they asked you to write at another time, it’s your responsibility to remember about it. Don’t forget about dates — if you got information about holidays, sick days or moving, write it down in your CRM. And don’t hesitate to send an email later even if you had the impression that the client just tried to give you short shrift. Correctly used follow-up procedure is a huge help for your customer. If they potentially need your services, help them to remember about you.
Michał LISEWSKI, Business Developer at Merixstudio
Originally published at www.merixstudio.com.