by Jeff Molander, Conversation Enablement Coach, Speaker & Founder at Communications Edge Inc

The best cold email sequences don't rely on templates, nor rigid timing of messages. Instead, focus on 'conversational cadence' to earn more response. 

Clients vanishing (going dark) on you? Timing of outreach messages is important. But when deciding on cadence (rhythm) avoid focusing only on timing of messages. Avoid canned (non-personalized) templates too.

Consider conversational cadence and slightly customized templates. This helps keep customers from vanishing... going dark or "radio silent."

Is your current message sequence combining to help buyers feel an urge to ask for a discussion... and then ask more questions? It should be.

Is the pacing and message content helping buyers address the status quo? This is what conversational cadence helps with. 

The best cold email sequences start slow

While conversational cadence is powerful cold email timing is important. However, our customers (collective) experience teaches us: The most effective cold email outreach sequence start slow. Especially in B2B outreach.

We recommend the following touch point model.

Here's the short version: Use timing of email & voicemails to express a growing sense of urgency. Starting slow, then pick up the pace.

Send your first message. Then wait after making your first (cold) attempt to follow up—for a longer period. Then shorten the time between follow-up touches. Apply a half-life rule with each subsequent email and/or phone attempt.

Most of our students follow variations on this cadence—and it works.

Here’s what this timing might look like. But remember, this is only an example of a broader concept. Your timing may require a different (more aggressive) approach.

  • First attempt: July 1
  • Second attempt: July 13 (12 days later)
  • Third attempt: July 19 (6 days later)
  • Fourth attempt: July 22 (three days later)
  • Fifth attempt: July 24 mid-day (1.5 days later)

In the above scenario prospects sense growing urgency in your follow-up. (yet won't feel you are pouncing on them out-of-the-gate)

But what about getting your series of email messages actually read, responded to and getting an appointment booked? 

Avoid cadence templates & canned messages

Proper timing and provocative, personalized message content help buyers feel an urge to reply. Not just once. Over-and-over... beyond the first reply... until they feel an urge to ask for a meeting. 

No urge? No spark of curiosity? No reply for you. No invitation to talk about helping.  

Even with excellent timing, template style (canned) outreach messages can sabotage even the best cold email sequence follow ups.

Also, if you're in inside sales don't rush the meeting. Templates asking for meetings, from cold, rarely work and can sabotage. Same for suggesting demos or trials early in the discussion. 

Here's why. These two trends are universal and cannot be ignored.

  1. Prospects value more what they ask for than what you offer. (push at them) 
  2. Customers value more what they conclude for themselves than what you tell them.

Thus, timing your messages helps provoke an initial discussion. Then, effective timing of your sales outreach emails helps prospects discover why, when and how they want to buy. 

Focusing on an issue-driven discussion (not the meeting) helps prospects get—and stay—curious.

Your cold email sequence is a filter

The power of a good email cadence (and the right timing of your cold email sequences) is obvious. But having a provocative conversational cadence creates more close-able conversations, faster.

Because it helps your prospects qualify or disqualify themselves—all while helping you keep the conversation alive.

Your outreach effort becomes a filterallowing leads to qualify (in and out).

Thus, once you've earned the first reply go S-L-O-W. Even when invited to don't talk about your solution. Avoid talking about yourself, your solution, your clients... you-you-you. Instead, put the client in charge. Allow them to self-qualify (or disqualify).

Making this happen is easy when using the Spark Selling communication technique our students practice.

Here's what the sequence looks like:

  1. Use email as a means to grab attention—spark curiosity.
  2. When the customer replies, asking for more details, give only enough detail to temporarily satisfy curiosity.
  3. This "give-and-take" can span 2 to 5 or even 7 emails.

Within this series of messages we create tension—wherein the customer is tempted to short-circuit the email exchange and request a meeting.

Thus, your exchange of emails is a faster way to qualify the customer. The potential buyer qualifies themselves… via email… rather than you wasting precious time on the phone.

Once you have the conversation started focus on:

  1. Guiding it, allowing prospects to drive the kind and pacing of contact
  2. Holding back information (sometimes against your instinct)
  3. Restarting discussion (when they go dark) … yet being at peace with lost leads
  4. Creating a set of useful responses based on issues/pains/worries/goals

Come and practice with us in the community! Strengthen your cold email sequence timing.


About the Author

Jeff Molander is the authority on starting conversations with busy people. As founder of Communications Edge Inc. he teaches a proven, effective technique to spark buyers curiosity in sales outreach & marketing messages. He's an accomplished entrepreneur, having co-founded the Google Affiliate Network and what is today the Performics division of Publicis Groupe. Jeff served as adjunct digital marketing faculty at Loyola University’s school of business. His book, Off The Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You, is first to offer businesses a clear, practical way to create leads and sales with technology platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogs.

Jeff Molander

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