Why No One Cares About Your Cold Emails
I love sending cold emails to complete strangers. At work, it has changed my career trajectory in ways that I could never have imagined. In my personal life, it has given me opportunities to meet with amazing mentors and guides who’ve had a significant influence on me and have helped me get better.
In the last few years, I must have sent hundreds if not thousands of cold emails to prospects hoping to initiate conversations. While some of them landed great meetings, most of them died a slow death in the recipient’s inbox. That’s the nature of this beast.
My cold emails generally have a good response rate. However, I went through a particularly rough patch a couple of years back when no one opened my emails. Even if they did, hardly anyone responded.
When you send so many cold emails, you tend to get a sense of entitlement and feel disillusioned when prospects don’t respond to your pleas. You start blaming the receiver of your messages rather than reflecting internally. Happens with the best of us. I was no exception. Rather than confronting reality, I ignored it and got busy with other ‘important stuff’ until I couldn’t.
I realized that I had to change my approach. I read books and articles dedicated to cold emailing. I listened to experts, reached out to my friends, and, most importantly, looked deeper into my execution to figure out the issues. That introspection has helped me learn some critical lessons in cold emailing. When I addressed those areas, I saw my response rates jump, and my pipeline get better.
In addition to sending cold emails, I have seen and read a countless number of cold emails over the years. We make some fundamental mistakes. I will try and highlight some of those here and suggest some improvements that have helped me, and many people achieve their dream results using cold emails.
Mistake #1: Sending Generic Mass Emails
This is my biggest nemesis. I hate sending and receiving mass emails. I once received an email addressed to ‘Whomsoever it may concern’!
I refuse to interact with anyone who doesn’t know what I do and what my goals are, and I am pretty sure that I am not the only one. Mass emails are rapidly discarded to the spam folder.
Personalize your email, Research the person and the company you are reaching out to. Personalization doesn’t mean personalizing their first and last names. It means looking up their LinkedIn profiles to understand their role and personality, looking them up on google to see if they’ve authored any content or have shown any specific interests.
Use that information to craft an email specifically for that person. Spend that time and effort, and you’ll be rewarded handsomely. This strategy singlehandedly has helped me achieve massive results.
If it were up to me, I would make sending mass sales emails illegal.
Mistake #2: Sending a menu of your offerings
Hope you’re doing well
I am _____ from ______. We are a 50-year-old company. We offer
- Offering 1
- Offering 2
- Offering 3
- Offering 4
We work with company X, Y, and Z.
I want to partner with your company. Do you have 30 mins next week to discuss?
This is probably one of the most common email templates that folks use to reach out to prospects. It is nothing but a menu of your offerings.
It is also one of the easiest emails to compose. Thanks to your company training programs, your mind is awash with internal jargon and terminologies. You’ve been told how great your offerings are and how much your customers love you. Just think that you could just type that out, and your prospects will surely see the value you offer.
The truth is that there is nothing in there for the customer. Maybe your offerings do make sense, but there are hundreds of other salespeople offering those same things. Why should the prospect respond to you and not to them? How have you differentiated yourself?
Chuck the menu.
Mistake #3: Making Self Aggrandizing Statements
- We are the thought leaders in this cutting edge technology.
- Our innovative tool is much better than any other tool in the market.
- We provide a better ROI than any other player in the market.
- Our experts have a combined experience of 500 years.
The truth is that no one cares about how great you are. People care about how you can make them great.
Don’t get me wrong. You probably are an expert in a particular field or a specific technology. But unless that expertise helps your prospects achieve their goals, it is of no use. So get to that. And if you don’t know what their goals are, go back to the drawing board and understand your buyer persona better. Use Jill Konrath’s Buyer’s Matrix to dig deeper into that.
Show them why you are great. Please don’t talk about it.
Mistake #4: Not talking about problems
We’ve all heard about how talking about benefits is better than talking about your product features. Take it a step further and talk about problems instead of talking about benefits. Show them how your offering solves their problems. That is a way more powerful motivator.
For example, VPs of sales care most about their pipelines. A low pipeline can be their biggest challenge. Can you help them solve this? If yes, how? Have you helped other similar customers? Highlight that.
It is not easy to get this correct and needs hard work. I’ve struggled with this myself. However, when you get this right, you can expect your emails to give you exceptional results.
Remember: Solutions to Problems > Benefits > Features
Mistaking #5: Trying to generate interest
Let’s get this clear. Your goal while prospecting is to generate curiosity and not interest. The sooner you realize that, the better it is for you.
You need to make the prospect curious enough to get on a call and want to learn more about you. Before you hit the send button, read your email out loud and see if it evokes that feeling.
It is impossible for someone to be interested in your product based on your email alone. Stop setting that expectation for yourself and others. The goal of your cold email is to secure a meeting with the prospect. Period.
Mistake #6: Being self-centered
We generally reach out to people only when we need a favor. Our intent is self-serving and our message as well.
But cold emails are so much more than that. Look at the prospect’s profile, and you’ll find multiple reach-out moments that you may have missed.
Reach out to them when they receive an award or get promoted or change jobs. Reach out with the sole intention of celebrating their achievement and congratulating them.
No ask for business, no request for a meeting. Just a genuine compliment and a minor conversation. They will remember you.
I’ve had prospects respond to these congratulatory messages by wanting to know more about me and what I did. Yes, they gave me a meeting without me asking for it.
Mistake #7: Forgetting to follow up
You are busy; your prospects are busy; everyone in this world is busy. People miss emails. It’s not a big deal. The fact that someone didn’t respond to your email doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve dumped you. It just means that your email got lost in their email land.
So follow up and help yourself by helping them discover that lost email. Don’t give up after the first email.
When you follow up, don’t just check-in. Share something valuable with them (a resource or an article). I have received responses on my 5th follow up. That 5th or 6th follow up could very well be the one responsible for you achieving your quota. Do not underestimate its importance.
However, you do need to eventually let go if someone doesn’t respond to your emails even after multiple attempts. Determine that threshold and move on to the next prospect when you get there and still haven’t heard back. There is a myriad of tools available to help you automate the followups. Check them out.
If done correctly, cold emails have the ability to transform your sales pipeline and help you crush your goals. It needs a strong understanding of your recipient and articulating what is in it for them.