7 Tips for More Effective Cold-Call Emails

This post originally appeared on my other site, yet a colleague encouraged me to copy it over to RE-J because it may be useful to brokers, lenders, and developers seeking out new business.  So while not specifically real estate related, I hope you get some value out of it.

Enter original post:

Remember back in the day when you jumped online and the AOL guy said “you’ve got mail“? (I may be dating myself here) If you were like me you were probably thrilled to receive an email–today, not so much! A recent study showed that the average American worker sends and receives 105 emails per day and spends 28 percent of their workday communicating via email.  WHOA!

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As an entrepreneur, email is a vital communications tool for your venture.  If you are just starting out or looking to grow your business, cold-call emails are one way to reach new customers, partners, and contacts.  But it can also be a HUGE time-suck. While not extensive by any stretch of the imagination, here are seven tips for more effective cold-call emails.

-It’s about them (not you). If you’re cold calling via email, you’re likely selling something…selling a product, service, your skills, encyclopedias (dating myself again). If you type up the first draft of your email and there are more “I’s” than”You’s” then it’s probably time to restructure your approach.

Selling is not about you (probably a topic for a different day). It’s all about the person/company at the other end of the table (computer screen/phone/iPad in this case).  At its basic level, your product or service is about helping them and adding value to their life. In a cold-call email, it should also be all about them, not you.

-Length–make it short and snappy.  I get it, you have a revolutionary product or service and need 3,000 words to fully explain its benefit and value to mankind.  The problem is, if you email a novel, most people aren’t going to read past the second line. So you’re shooting yourself in the foot right away. Structure your email with brevity in mind and consolidate as much as possible. Similar to a resume, make every single word earn its place on your page.  If your product or service truly adds value, explain the A, B, and C benefits in brief fashion, then offer to elaborate over coffee, via Skype, or in a face-to-face meeting.

-Diction–write like you talk.  There are times when you should be overly proper in your diction (cover letter, wedding invite, letter to the president) yet we almost never talk to each other like that every day. Instead of stressing over whether to use Dear Sir or To Whom it May Concernopt for what seems natural and comfortable to you. As humans, we like to interact with each other on a personal level.  I’ve found a simple Hi Mark or Mark, to be much more engaging salutations than more formal methods.  The body of the email should also seem natural and comfortable as you write it.

-Clear intentions and means of action.  Ok, so you’ve effectively communicated your potential value to the person you’re emailing–now what? Put a call to action in your email to declare what the next steps would look like. “I’m available next week to discuss further.” “I’ve got a flexible schedule and will work around yours, but would like to set something up for Thursday or Friday.” Since they don’t know you, make it very clear what your intention is and what the next steps are (assuming they are interested).

-Follow up. As noted above, we are inundated with emails from every walk of life.  (I’ve been guilty of clicking a cute cat link from a friend too…they’re just so damn cute!) Because of this flood of emails, we all miss some that get pushed down our inbox and/or forgotten about.  Don’t fret if you send your email into the big black box that is the internet and don’t get a response right away.  Simply wait a reasonable amount of time (several days, maybe a week) and follow up with a new email.

One trick to try: Mention your previous email (maybe forward the original email with a note saying “see original message below”) and plainly state that you are following up.  I’ve tested this over time and found the follow up email to get close to a 75 percent response rate with nothing fancier than “Hi Mark, I wanted to follow up from an email sent earlier in the week. See below and let me know what you think.”

-Don’t spam. This tip goes hand-in-hand with following up.  While it is important to keep in touch over time, don’t spam. Think about the emails you get from some people and wish there was an unsubscribe link because they simply won’t stop emailing you. Respect peoples’ time and keep your follow-ups tasteful and effective.

-Don’t freak out.  Cold emailing is tough because you are trying to generate a professional relationship out of thin air.  Don’t freak out if you aren’t getting results. Start small and test.

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