"I have nothing to sell you"
How to write highly effective cold emails as a founder
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Let’s be real. Here is what an average cold email looks like ⤵️
Whether as an investor or a customer, we’ve all been at the receiving end of such ridiculous cold emails from pushy founders.
Most people are turned off by these. They are highly ineffective and outright dumb but why do so many founders still write sh*tty cold emails.
Perhaps because most founders operate from a place of desperation and not intentionality when it comes to sales. That means they execute the ‘spray and pray’ technique without reflecting on how it might come across and how effective it’s actually being.
I struggled with this too.
Until I came across a workshop by Josh Spector where I learned to never pitch anymore. I decided I am not going to ask for anything. I’ll operate from a higher point of leverage .. which is that I’ll only just ‘offer’ an opportunity for the recipients to check out the product and see if it delivers value to them. Combined with 100% willingness to move on if it’s not a good fit without coercing anyone. I recently discovered Alex Hormozi and have enjoyed his worldview on sales very much. See his mantra as his Twitter banner below:
How to do it better:
Over the years, I’ve tried various experiments — here’s the distillation of all my suggestions into one template below.
The ultimate cold email / DM ingredients:
Note: You don’t have to leverage all these ingredients but pick a few and use them to craft a powerful email/ DM.
1. Open with 1-2 lines of something that makes sure the potential client likes you
Offer an earnest compliment a specific part of their work — either their recent milestone or the quality of their work. But don’t overdo it. Listing all of their social media recent activity is a step too far.
Note: Skip the customary greeting. You don’t need to say “Hey KP, hope this email finds you well.” etc. In stead try: “I know you’re busy, so I’ll be brief.” Or just get to the point straight away.
2. Why him/her? Show relevance and fit to their current goals and priorities
Make an effort to take a guess at what their goal could be (this will get better as you talk to many clients)
Note: 99% of the time, your offer tanks because it’s not relevant to the recipient’s top priorities. So take your time to get this bit right.
3. Highlight the clear BENEFIT to the client - make it super super obvious
Broadly speaking, people are looking to make money, gain time back or boost their reputation/status.
4. Show your “social proof” or testimonials of others they respect and view as peers
De-risk your offer by signaling how others like the recipient have found benefit from your solution
5. Present your ask clearly. Then offer an easy exit door too. (No strings attached).
This is super important. A lot of founders take a leap and ask for outrageous things like “can we jump on a 30min Zoom call so I can show you how our tool works?” What??!! No busy adult has a free 30min just laying around .. so they can be pitched by sales reps or founders. Be mindful in your ask.
6. Remove friction to act, make it easy to get started — add a super simple next step. Offer to help them get started yourself.
Show how you are ready to go an extra mile to help the client get started. Most people are lazy or busy so they fall behind on signing up even when they are interested in the service/product.. so just offer to help if they want it.
7. Raise the stakes - if they don’t accept the offer, what will they potentially miss out on?
Create urgency (offer any limited edition time-sensitive deal etc)
8. Thank them
Close strong by thanking them in advance and end on a high /warm note
The order of the above components is also up to you. Sometimes, I do 1, 5, 2 and so on. Mix it up and learn as you go! Test it with friends and peers. Ask for feedback and iterate accordingly. All the best ✨
Cold Email: a simple format that received a lot of positive responses
Shoutouts and Sponsors
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And that’s a wrap for now!
Thank you for giving your attention and checking this edition out.
Would really appreciate it if you can take 5 seconds and pay it forward to help someone else leverage these tips by sharing this article on Twitter/Linkedin and tag me (@thisiskp_). Feel free to DM me for cross-promotions or ad sponsorships.
And lastly, let me know if you have any other cold email resources that I can add to my collection and share with everyone :)
With that said, may have always embody Alex’s mantra of having nothing to see anyone either!
Love this topic of cold email. I use email outreach a lot at work; I try to never think of it as "cold email", but rather "a personal email to somebody I'm not acquainted with yet"... I try to remember that they need 1) a compelling reason to get back to me (what's in it for them?) and 2) to believe I authentically care and they're not just a name on a list