I love the science behind prospecting. There are so many things that can impact whether you get responses or not. Whether it’s what accounts you go after, if the contact you picked at that account is the right person, or maybe you just wrote bad email copy, anything can go wrong - impacting your response rates.
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Stop Introducing Yourself in Cold Emails

When you write a cold email, the average prospect decides if they will read your email in 3 seconds, so why are you going to waste space explaining who you are in the first sentence? Most sales reps do this at the beginning of their email since an introduction is almost always the beginning of other things in life. I mean, what do you see first when you watch Star Wars, right? Everything has an introduction. But in the sales world, when a prospect receives an email with an immediate introduction, their brain tells them it's a sales email, and in return, the prospect is no longer interested. 

The problem with introducing yourself in your emails is that it’s redundant. When you write a good cold email, you should explain who you are, but in one or two sentences tops. The best cold emails let their email signatures explain the real meat of who they are, and instead use the one sentence in their email to align a potential value proposition with their prospect.

A poor Cold email attempt

Imagine if I wrote a bad email like some of the pitches I see how there with redundant info.

Be Mindful of Spacing in Cold Emails

Since we're on the subject of bad cold emails, keep in mind that spacing is precious on a cold email. In the email above, the opportunity costs of using the first sentence in my cold email to introduce myself is HUGE. I just blew my first impression sharing things that they could have seen in my email signature.

Take a look at all the redundancies of my signature to the introduction - for those wanting to see the different ways these things match up:

Redundant cold emailYou can see I matched up different aspects of the email the prospect could have discovered just by poking around my signature.

Some of you are probably thinking, “I don’t even look at email signatures when I get emails from prospectors.” Next time you get an email that interests you, watch where your mouse and eyes go after you finish reading the email. If copy compels someone enough, they always dig into the email more. They’ll click the links, google the company, poke around, etc. We all have curiosity in us.

'Me First' Email

Introducing yourself in a cold email is the easiest way to accidentally turn your cold email into a “ME FIRST EMAIL."

The structure of a cold email is super important, and when you are writing your hearts out to win a prospect’s love, it’s very easy to slip into a giant wall of text that focuses on you and your company, as opposed to your prospect and why they are special to you. You need to make the email about the prospect, not yourself and your company. 

Try and write a cold email right now where you introduce yourself and then not talk about your company's services. It's almost impossible to create a smooth flow that's easy to read. Emails that focus just on your company's product or service are bad and only work 3.5% of the time. If you want to start seeing response rates go up, skip the introduction next time you write your cold email. You want to make sure your emails are more fun, mainly about your prospects, and most of all, human

"Personalization is key. Keep it short, keep it sharp. Make it about the problem you can help them solve and don't talk about you." 

-Luigi Prestinenzi, Co-Founder & Head of Growth at Sales IQ Group.

Example of a Selfless Email That Worked:

Recently, I followed up with people I talked with at Saastr a few weeks back and was trying to follow up with one of my favorite sites on the web, Quora. Since they launched many years ago, I’ve been a Quora user and was pumped to finally meet their sales team. They recently started selling ad space on their Q&A site, which excites me because users visiting their site have more intent than other platforms. We had a really quick stop and chat, but I had to think of way to get their attention with the flood of Saastr follows they likely are getting.

Rather than send a “let me introduce myself again” type email… I decided to have some fun with them. This was the cold email I wrote:

Good Cold Email ExampleAs you can see, I made the email mainly about the prospect. I swapped out the HTML in a Quora question I answered once with text about the prospect, then took a screenshot.

And of course, I got a reply:

Cold Email Response


Since I didn’t make the email about me and didn't waste space introducing myself to the prospect, we got the meeting. Introducing yourself in an email is a death sentence to your cold email. Make your emails about prospects, and remember space is precious!

Posted by Ryan O'Hara
Ryan O'Hara
Ryan O'Hara has been an early employee at several startups helping them with marketing and prospecting tactics, including Dyn who was acquired by Oracle for $600+ million in 2016. He's had prospecting campaigns featured in Fortune, Mashable, and TheNextWeb. Ryan specializes in branding, business development, prospecting, and coaching people on how to make good digital first impressions. He also mentors two accelerators, The Iron Yard and The Alpha Loft, and hosts The Prospecting

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