How to Persuade Prospects to “Lean Forward” Using Cold Email

Most cold emails I receive include a call to action that sounds something like this:

“Josh, let’s schedule a 30 minute call so I can share these ideas with you.  What day next week works best for you?”

The problem?   Asking for someone’s time is a pretty big ask.  Especially if it’s the first date.  So here are a few cold email calls to action that make it easier for your prospects to say “yes”.

1.  Ask for permission to send content that helps your prospect do something better. For example:

“Josh, we recently came across some research that shows the specific words prospects say during demos that predict wins 92% of the time.  This can help you better predict which opportunities in your pipeline will close.  If you’d like me to forward the research to you, let me know and I’ll gladly send it over.”


2. Link to content that challenges your prospect’s status quo – (no opt in required).  In other words, educate the prospect on the problem not your solution.  For example:

We recently created a book that shows you the 5 most common reasons demos don’t convert into revenue.  It also shows you a proven 7 step framework for how to elegantly lead your first sales conversation.  You can grab it here.

Using software like Quickmail or LeadCooker  can “track” which prospects clicked the link and automatically send a follow up email like this:

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for downloading {name of resource}.

Usually folks that grab this resource tell me one of three things:

  1. “Thanks for the resource Josh.  However, at this time I’m just educating myself on lead generation best practices.”
  2. “While I’m educating myself on lead generation best practices, I’m also open to learning more about ACME Inc.”
  3. “Please call as soon as possible. I’m looking at my lead generation strategy and would like to take a look at what ACME Inc. has to offer.”

Which one of these buckets do you fall into, Lisa?

Your response will allow me to better gauge your interest, so that I can help you be more awesome.



3. A “higher touch” personalized offer that helps your prospect do something better.  For example, if your product helps people attract talent, perhaps you can write a job description. If you’re a website developer, you can offer to create a home page.   Brainstorm what this could be for you.  Reserve this offer for your “most wanted” prospects since it requires more time.

Here’s an example:

In order to demonstrate how we might be able to help, I’d love the opportunity to do some talent attraction work for you completely gratis.  If our work helps you attract superstar Account Executives and you have some paid projects down the road that would be fab, but I’d be happy to network and see if we’re a fit.  I’m sure you have a job or two you’re trying to fill but haven’t had time to focus on yet; let me help you.


4.  1 to 1 educational briefing that challenges the status quo.  This is similar to #2 above but rather than downloading the content, the prospect needs to chat with you. For example:

We recently created a 15 minute educational program that  shows you the 5 most common reasons demos don’t convert into revenue.  If you’d like me to walk you through it, please click here to schedule a time that works best.  (“Click here” is a link to Calendly).

5. Gauge your prospects  level of interest.  For example:

Josh, feel to say no but does this sound interesting? (only requires a yes or no response).

6. Ask to have a conversation via email.  For example:

 Josh, would you be open to exploring this via email so you can determine if a broader conversation makes sense?  
Option 2
Would you like see a one minute video showing it in action?”



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