Declaring War On Boring Cold Outreach

Every day I’m blown away by all the incredible writing in this world. Stranger Things on Netflix, Mo Gawdat’s book Solve for Happy, this promotional video from Guy Bauer. Seems like everywhere you look you can read, hear or see examples or captivating writing.

Everywhere that is, except for most B2B cold outreach.

Most cold outreach I receive is jargon-filled, cookie-cutter copy probably lifted from one of these 101 cold templates you apparently use to close more deals. Which is probably why most cold outreach looks and sounds like this:

Hi {name},

My name is {name} with {Your Company}.

We help {specific company type} with {one liner}.

I wanted to learn how you handle {thing your company handles} at {Company Name} and show you what we’re working on.

Are you available for a brief call at {time options}?

We’re told to keep our cold emails no longer than 4 sentences and to follow up 10 times. But somewhere along the way, we forgot the golden rule of captivating copy – Show Me, Don’t Tell Me.

Cold outreach that tells (like the example above) feels like you’re being sold to. And whenever you feel like you’re being sold to, your guard goes up. That’s why you try not to make eye contact with the mall kiosk person who offers to rub cream on your hands. When you see kiosk guy approach you think,  “What’s the matter with this hand lotion, that you’re trying to sell it so hard?”

How to Shift From Telling to Showing

One of the ways to make the shift from telling to showing is to teach your prospect how to do something better without overtly touting your expertise. Think more teacher and less Mohamed Ali-style preaching about your skills.

Here’s an example from Amanda, a salesperson at Vidyard:

Why this works:

  • Amanda is genuine, charming and entertaining. (The bit about the alligator felt authentic and made me smile.)
  • The information is presented clearly. (Confusion causes people to zone out.)
  • Amanda teaches Taylor a new idea aimed at helping him do something better (more leads)
  • Amanda knows her stuff. By demonstrating her expertise she builds trust and stands out.
  • It’s relevant. Amanda shows Taylor’s website and even knows the tech stack he’s using (Pardot). (To identify tech stacks being used by your prospects check out siferty.com)

The “Hard Sell” is Becoming “Harder to Sell”

The “hard sell” is becoming “harder to sell” to your prospects.  Prospects are secretly begging for you to teach them something new rather than being pitched to. If you want to stand out, and earn your prospect’s attention, be a splash of color in an otherwise dull inbox. Teach, don’t preach.

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