Do you avoid the dreaded ‘cold call’ at all costs? What if the person hangs up on me? you think. Or worse yet, What if they don’t hang up on me? Email feels like the less intimidating option for many people, but crafting an effective email to someone you don’t know can be tricky. The goal is to introduce yourself and ask for a response or action that is easy for the person to take. So how do you successfully ‘cold call’ someone via email? Try these easy steps…
WHY. Explain why you are reaching out as well as how you may be connected. Perhaps you were at the same conference, but didn’t get a chance to meet. Most importantly –explain why they should care.
HOW. Next share how what you are asking for will impact them – WIIFT (what’s in it for them.) This is a benefit statement you customize for the person you are contacting. You can also offer something up that would be of interest to them like an article, upcoming conference, invite or webinar.
WHAT. End with a call to action. What do you want them to do? You may say something like, “I saw a posting for a job I’m interested in at your company. Could I buy you a cup of coffee and ask some questions about the company?” If you are selling something, you may request a meeting. Keep the email brief and to the point and make your request easy to fulfill. If it is making a call – provide a phone number. If you want a meeting, give some time options.
OPT OUT. Lastly, provide an alternative to your request; a smaller favor or ask if you should contact a different person. You may even give them an excuse to say “no.” For example, “If you are too busy…” You do this because it is uncomfortable for people to say “no” and you don’t want to hurt the relationship. Make it ok for them to opt out of your request and you may get another opportunity down the road.
Now that you know how to structure your email, let’s quickly go over how to write your subject line to ensure your email gets opened. A condensed version of how you are connected is your best bet. For example, ‘Amy Smith suggested I contact you,’ or ‘conference follow up.” Mentioning something or someone you have in common significantly increases the odds that your email will be read… and that you will get a response.
Still stuck? Post your question here and we can work through it together.