Cold calls suck. Sales people hate them and buyers hate them. The hit rate is unsurprisingly low, and the process is demoralising. But if you have to, be smart about overcoming the common barriers by using a proven cold email template.

A buyer who has stuck their hand up will always be more valuable than one whose profile suggests they should have their hand up. So avoid cold calls if you can. Use referrals or shape your marketing to condition the market for you and flush out those who are ready for a proper discussion.

But if you can’t, I’ll show you how to be smart about overcoming the typical barriers by using the best cold email template.

Why cold calling will usually fail

Be aware of the big barriers:

  • You are interrupting them
  • You are not the only one (you’ll be assumed to be as bad as the rest and need to show that you are not)
  • They are not focused on what you want (They may not realise they have the issue you solve and probably aren’t looking for a solution right now)
  • Their gatekeeper is better than you are (Their gatekeeper receives more calls than you make, so are better at flicking than you are at bypassing)

7 steps to building a great cold email template

The 7 steps in more detail: 

  1. Do your homework on the company
    – Look at their owned media (Website, LI company page)
    – Check business press and bloggers
    – Find facts that suggest the presence of the problem you solve and an urgency to fix
  2. Identify who has the problem, not who has the budget because that person’s too late.
  3. Do homework on that person
    – Business press and bloggers
    – LinkedIn
    – Ask mutual contacts
    – Look for: new broom, record of fixing elsewhere, known likes and dislikes
  4. Identify the valid business reason for the meeting
    – ID the value propositions for the meeting, the ‘valid business reason’ for THAT PERSON for THIS MEETING
  5. Write a letter or email series that goes from interruption to action via urgency and credential
  6. Enlist the gatekeeper
    – Rather than bypassing him or her, get them in on the act
    – Ask if you can send a letter or the email via them and will they please show it to them
  7. Follow-up

Cold email template

1st paragraph:  It would seem that… (Lay out the situational facts).
2nd paragraph: This appears to be a priority for… (Playback their own data or otherwise argue why this issue now).
3rd paragraph: But as you know, it’s not that easy… (Introduce a twist that evidences an insight and creates a bias for you).
4th paragraph: I don’t know you but I do know… (Show that you know the issue and have experience solving it for similar companies).
5th paragraph: Maybe we should talk. (Argue the valid business reason – what they will get out of the meeting, include a link to your calendar)

Now if you are going to use email, make it a series that builds momentum.

Final thoughts

Cold emails are not your only tactic. In your Funnel Plan, map out the buyer’s journey and choose tactics for every stage from finding names to closing deals and everything in between. Design both the strategy and the tactics together – Sales, Marketing, Finance and Ops. Don’t have a Funnel Plan? Get a free one at


Lots more next week. Until then, may your funnel be full and always flowing.

Our thanks to:

  • You for watching this week’s show
  • Lisbeth Peña for blog production
  • John Ang for video production
  • Hugh Macfarlane for scripting and presenting this week’s show