Cold email template guide: How to interrupt gracefully

cold email template

Time to read: 2.5 minutes. You’ve gotta be provocative to get replies. But before provocation comes interruption. Interrupting with email is an art and science. It ain’t easy. But when a seller masters sparking discussions with total strangers? Look out. They churn through prospecting lists—booking qualified appointments, faster.

When a seller discovers how to interrupt gracefully everything changes.

However, interrupting with email requires more than a cut-and-paste. Right? (Right)

Cold email templates don’t work unless they’re formulaic and flexible. They must interrupt—and immediately provoke prospects—by proving you’ve done homework.

This helps you interrupt gracefully, yet provocatively.

Below is a cold email template guide I use when coaching sales teams. It will help you … guide you to create email templates that interrupt gracefully and provoke response. Here we go …

Umm, cold email templates don’t work

Everyone needs an effective cold email template. Me too. An approach that works over-and-over. Subject line and message copy are critical. You know that. But…

Tough love: Stop Googlin’ around. Cold email templates found online don’t work. Because they’re being seen by so many, they’re being applied in mass! They may have worked in the mid-1990s but not today.

They’re flawed.

Most Google-sourced cold email templates encourage sales people to sabotage themselves.  For example, your cold email should never:

  1. request a meeting (don’t rush it!)
  2. present a clear opportunity (they don’t want it)
  3. list your benefits (don’t sell)
  4. provide links or attachments (don’t distract)
  5. ask for a referral (don’t look lazy)

These “best practices” aren’t. Yet I see cold email coaches providing sellers with templates that do many of these big no-nos!

Instead, create a provocative message formula. A methodology. A way to provoke response. Consistently.

Write in a style your buyers have never seen before.

Are these “effective ways of writing” template-able? Yes. But they require a small bit of customization. Then, experimentation. They’re flexible. This is the advantage of a template-able communications method that sparks curiosity in buyers.

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Does your prospecting email template do this?

prospecting email template

Time to read: 2.5 minutes. Is your sales prospecting email template helping the prospect feel an urge to open-up and “just talk?” If not, try it. It works.

I’ll give you one of my best prospecting email templates to try. (see below)

Effectively reaching decision-makers using email means being brief, blunt and basic. But are you giving potential buyers reason to start talking about themselves? Brevity helps provoke a quick response. But helping the prospect feel an urge to open-up and “just talk” is key.

Helping them find an irresistible reason to hit reply and quickly share their pain, fear, worry or ambition helps customers qualify (or disqualify) themselves as buyers of what you’re selling.


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Don’t invest in social selling training without knowing this


Time to read: 3.5 minutes. Jumping-in head first? Beware: Most social selling training investments failed to increase sales in 2015. Let’s quickly understand why most small, medium-sized and large corporations see poor results when investing in social selling training… and tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator. This way you’re more likely to thrive in 2016.

I’ve learned 3 reasons why most social selling and Navigator strategies fail:

  1. Inappropriate training: Sales training focuses on technical know-how—overlooking effective communications methodology. (using the platform to spark conversations with buyers)
  2. Experimentation with InMail: Sellers use InMail as a message testing ground—rather than testing in a less costly & restricted environment. (standard email)
  3. Misguided content/messaging: Sellers use inappropriate message structure and follow-up cadence—rather than sparking replies by planting questions in minds of potential buyers.

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How to make a sales appointment via email

how to make a sales appointment via email

Time to read: 2.5 minutes. I was stunned. Happy and stunned. Because I had figured out how to make a sales appointment via email. Yet it happened in a really weird way. I avoided asking for the appointment. Seriously. You should too. Instead, help the prospect self-qualify the appointment.

Through a quick exchange of short emails, prospects will become curious about your solution to their problem or goal. Curious enough to ultimately ask YOU for the appointment.

The more my clients and I practice this, the more appointments set. Can’t argue with that!

The short version

Success at making sales appointments via email is mostly about:

  1. not saying “too much, too fast” about you and NOT asking for the appointment;
  2. getting the prospect to tell you what is most important right now and
  3. sparking the buyers’ curiosity about how you might help them (not your solution).

Here’s the gist of what works: Reply to the prospect’s invitation (to talk about your “scratch to their itch”) by resisting the urge to talk about your product. Instead, help the buyer reveal “the conversation already going on” in their head.

Their real concern.

The best cold email templates I know (an example)

Here is a real life example and a proven cold email template.

(Bye the way, I give a handful of my best cold email templates to my coaching clients. I provide a few free to blog readers here.)

Ok. One reader of this blog named Connor took advice from me and turned it into a response. I love when that happens.

Connor emailed me saying, “Your technique for getting permission to have a longer conversation is working great. What I would like to know is what angle I should take once permission is given… or the curiosity has sparked a response.”

Here is the exact first touch / cold email template Connor used to earn the first response. 

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Can improving your LinkedIn SSI be harmful?

improving linkedin social selling index

Time to read: 3.5 minutes. Should you improve your LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI)? Should you be measuring your sales team’s effectiveness using it?

I say no. Because a sellers’ broad use of LinkedIn matters less than productivity with it.

Unfortunately, LinkedIn is falling short with its SSI—placing more focus on a seller’s “raw activity” versus results. Beware: The SSI is largely a vanity metric.

“I imagine you can have a high Social Selling Index score and not sell a darn thing,” observes sales copywriter, Jeff Simmons of Jeff is right!

Here’s what I mean in more detail … and how to exploit the Social Selling Index wisely.

The dangers of LinkedIn’s SSI

Forget about how experienced you are with LinkedIn. As a seller, you only invest time in what matters most—setting more appointments and bringing leads to close, faster. Right? Thus, you want to avoid wasting time with vanity metrics.

LinkedIn’s SSI is one of these dangerous metrics.

Because the SSI encourages sellers to behave in ways most customers don’t respond well to.

One of my clients sums it up nicely. He said, “Is the noise sellers make on LinkedIn helping them set more appointments? As a buyer myself I cannot imagine it is. Yet I see my manager rewarding all the noise-making!”

“The SSI plays on the psychology that people want to compare themselves to others for belonging and get an ego boost out of it,” warns Colin Daymude, Director of Sales at Frontline Selling.

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Cold email prospecting: Cutting through the B.S.

cold email prospecting

Time to read: 3 minutes. The Web is littered with HORRIBLE advice on cold email prospecting tips and strategy. Templates? Even worse. So here’s what I’ve learned works. No theory, just my (and my customers’) experience. A practical way to quickly fix your cold email templates.

Why your cold email isn’t working

Your cold email (first touch message template) is probably saying too much, too fast.

Remember, your goal is NOT to book a meeting when making first contact with a prospect. Using InMail? Standard email? Connecting on LinkedIn first?

Be warned: Asking for what you want, right away, will fail.

Here’s how to frame what may be plaguing your email prospecting technique:

  1. This is a first date. The meeting will come. Trust in it. Don’t rush.
    ATTRACT the meeting/demo to you. This way you …
  2. Let customers qualify themselves—so you don’t have to!
    This is the point of email prospecting. Scale-ability.
  3. You are irrelevant. ALL discussion about you is forbidden in email #1.

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Lead nurturing on LinkedIn: Why it’s not working for you

lead nurturing linkedin

Time to read: 3 minutes. Sharing valuable content on LinkedIn—wondering where the sales leads are? Don’t feel bad. Most sellers are in the same position. A majority are sharing-and-sharing-and-sharing only to earn likes and shares. Yes, a good content marketing strategy includes sharing videos, white papers, articles and other helpful tidbits. However, constantly feeding … staying in front of customers is not an effective content marketing / social selling strategy.

Generating leads takes more. Enticing clients you’re nurturing to contact you takes more than showing up with knowledge they already have. This is a mediocre marketing strategy—not an effective LinkedIn social selling strategy.

Here’s why most sellers fail to spark leads when sharing content—and what to do instead when nurturing leads on LinkedIn.

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How to use Facebook to generate leads

How to use Facebook to generate leads

Time to read: 3 minutes. Tired of struggling with how to use Facebook to generate leads? Drive prospects to your page and get them talking about themselves. First, grab customers’ attention and “ethically bribe” them to visit your Facebook page. Sure, use a contest … BUT … make sure you provide an incentive for prospects to talk about themselves.

Do what Amanda Kinsella of residential HVAC provider, Logan Services, has been doing for years now. She’s using Facebook to generate leads and tracking ROI to the penny.

So can you. I’ll show you how. 

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The 1 way to always get appointments on LinkedIn

linkedin sales navigator training

Time to read: 3.5 minutes. Your success depends on being able to get appointments set faster. Knowing how to navigate Sales Navigator is not enough. Make sure your LinkedIn Sales Navigator training help reps get appointments set faster by:

  • teaching your team an effective communications process
  • showing them a copy-able, repeatable way to spark customers' curiosity in the seller

Many LinkedIn trainers teach outdated approaches--InMail templates that aren't effective.

Avoid asking for an appointment too soon

Example: Did you know the best way to get more appointments, faster, is NOT asking for the appointment in your first email? 

You'll get better response rates by using the first message to earn permission for a discussion.

Then, conduct the conversation (via email) in a way that creates an urge in the prospect to ask you for the appointment. Why? 

Because this helps you qualify leads faster.​

Sound crazy? Stick with me. I’ll even give you a template to make it easy. This is what I've learned while coaching my Sales Navigator customers.

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