Winter is the perfect time of the year for some cold emails.
Not because it’s cold outside (unlike Brazil) but because it’s a good period to warm up your potential clients with some good emails for 2019.
Hit them with all you’ve got. They’ll be setting up their budgets, and planning for the year to come. A carefully crafted email from you sent at the right moment would be the same as your friend from Brazil sending you a postcard of him sunbathing on a beach with a few brazilian super models. It would warm my heart out.
But what if you don’t have anything to hit them with?
No worries, not all direktors have everything.
Luckily, I have something that worked miracles for me in the past 4 years.
It’s a simple 5 step process of making the best cold email and getting a response back.
How does the process look?
First, you need some basic skills before you even consider doing this process. Those skills are:
- Story Telling
- Have No Expectations
Skill: Story Telling
You don’t have to be Tommy Wiseau to write a good email. You just need to know how a good story narrative goes that will make your email content readable and bearable in this cold weather.
The basic structure a story should follow is this one:
- A character – The client is the hero.
- Has a problem – Successful companies attend to the inner frustrations.
- And meets a guide – The clients are looking for a guide.
- Who has a plan – Clients trust a guide who has a plan.
- And calls them to action – Clients are challenged to take action.
- That helps them avoid failure – Everyone is trying to avoid tragic ending.
- And ends in a success – This part shows people how the product can positively influence their lives.
Or in one sentence:
“A CHARACTER who wants something encounters a PROBLEM before they can get it. At the peak of their despair, a GUIDE steps into their lives, gives them a PLAN, and CALLS THEM TO ACTION. That action helps them avoid FAILURE and ends in a SUCCESS.”
I’ve used this exact aproach in the pitch at the end of this article and it worked.
If you want to learn more about this skill and how you can use it to improve your pitching and cold emailing, get “Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen” by Donald Miller. He helped me build my own website in 30 minutes and if you want, he can help you build yours.
Don’t be Columbus thinking you reached India. Be Tommy Wiseau knowing you made a movie regadless of what the critics say.
You need to know your way around and be a great researcher. All great direktors are. Think of Steve Jobs, Bil Gates, Churchill, Toma Zdravkovich.
What’s the purpose? With a good research you can:
- Find a target that has a dire need for your service
- Uncover something that your target is passionate about and you can use that in your pitch to hook them emotionally
Skill: Have No Expectations
Probably the most important skill that exists. You might argue that it’s not a skill rather than a mindset – It is a skill. You can only become a person with no expectations only if you’ve had 5+ years of experience in cold emailing and knows that you shouldn’t expect a positive result like gettting that client.
Expecting on getting the client is the same as relying on outside circumstances to allign for your success and happiness. Not gonna happen because you have no control outside of yourself and your gmail account.
What you shoul expect is that you’ll give your best in trying to make the process better every time. Because the client will come one way or the other.
How to get this skill?
Practice.Write emails, send emails, get rejected as much as possible. The more no’s you get, the better. Analyze the results, find patterns and extract lessons that you can use to put as content in your next email. Refine the story narrative even further. Don’t focus on making it perfect just focus on making it better with actionable feedback.
Now for the actuall 5 step storified pitching paradigm process.
My usuall process of trying to make the best cold email is the following:
- Find a target that requires a certain service you can offer
- Research the target throughout
- Gather all inteligence and create the first draft with the story structure in mind
- Pitch the client
- Follow up like crazy
It’s very simple and here’s how I used it in the following cold email.
Implementing The Process
A bit of backround first.
I found the client by looking through my linkedin newsfeed. One of my connections had commented on a post of his, where the client was preparing to expand his team of developers.
What the client was selling:
- WooCommerce automation tools that enabled users to replace manual tasks such as orders and testings with pre-templated scripts. Basically they saved a ton of time and made a process more efficient and streamlined than ever and offered it to sellers and store managers that were doing this manually or with other tools and services.
What he was looking for:
- Full Stack developer to build these tools.
Sounds interesting and something that we could’ve done for them. Back then I was doing IT outsourcing where we’d pair up clients with their perfect team of delopers – we built a cool looking google plex kinda office where we’d employ devs to work for clients remotely.
And we had the perfect developer for this client. But I needed the emotional hook.
So I went to the clients website to explore some more. Didn’t take me long to find what I was looking for
I found out that they actually have their own comic book. Strange combo (developers and comic books) but after researching a bit more it turned out that all founders were avid comic book fans, creators and writers. They’ve created their own comic book as a side thing and have already shelled out a few editions.
I visited their profiles, (fb and twitter) and the majority of their posts were about comic books and heroes.
There it was. I found the emotional hook. I knew that if I spin the content in a comic book kinda way – I’d at least get noticed.
After I gathered all my intel I wrote the pitch. Being a direktor, I didn’t need to redraft it. It was perfect the way it was. (hint: No Expectations)
I pitched the client, and luckily I got a response within hours.
And that was it. The following is the actuall pitch. I changed the names of the client and the developer so that you don’t spam them.
It took me 20 minutes to go through all the 5 steps.
Disclaimer: Before you read on, this is an extreme email that worked like a charm because of the circumstances I mentioned above. Adjust the story narrative towards the type of client and what he is passionatte about. Don’t go about writing stories for every client.
The Cold Email
Subject: Let me tell you a story about a girl named Erika…
… she was born in a land not so far away, called Macedonia. The land was ruled by 7 Turkish rulers who lived far away from one another. It was a time where people were still walking to get to places. To make matters even worse, for the people (farmers, artisans) to get anything done (establish a new store, process an order or whatever), they needed to personally go to each ruler and get an aprovall letter for this to happen.
“It will take forever” – that is what every person thought to himself and most of them stopped before they even tried to get the approvals.
To make matters even worse, the rulers THOUGHT that their aproach with the aprovalls was the best, and that is what the common people liked and loved.
The people were in despair. Something needed to change. Nobody had the guts nor skills to do it so they went to In, their oracle, to ask for guidance.
“Oh Great In, how can we get out of this dreadfull and painfull situation?”
“There is an easy solution. The ancients spoke of a red haired girl apearing in our era that will help us get rid of the manual process of getting aprovalls, and at the same time help our rulers see what we really want and need.
“She will be called Erika – the red haired BackEnd developer.” (her cv)
“But why her? Why not someone else?”
“Because I am the In and you came to me for advice, that’s why. Otherwise go. “
“Ok so when is she going to come and help us? Where was she born?”
“That depends entirely up to you. Are you ready for this change to happen? Do you feel confident that you want this to happen?”.
The people were confident and ready and they set out to contact the one who will save them.
“One more thing before you go, You might first have to talk to the bbdirector, the bald one. He will introduce her to you.”
END OF PART 1. (the following is also part of the pitch)
That’s Erika, she is my coworker and I wanted to refer her for your project. For the second part of this story, well, you need to get in touch with her and let her help you 🙂
Thank you for reading through this story, hopefully we can at least hop on call together and talk. I know I did not really follow your instructions, because I felt that a story could go much further.
You need superheroes. She needs a superhero team.
😀 😀 😀 😀 Thank you bbdirector. Let’s set up a call and talk.
And that was it. 20 minutes of following a simple process, and getting a response back almost imediatelly.
BONUS COLD EMAIL
This is an email I made for a friend that wanted to apply for a job online. I wanted to share it here because it also follows the same 5 step process and wanted to show you that you can use it when applying for jobs or projects.
What was the job post about
- The job was about a project management/content writing position for an online travel agency
- It specifically wanted to know about the best experience the job aplicant had while on a summer holiday
- The job post asked that each aplicant include the word coconut in the pitch so that the company would know the job aplicant actually read the post before applying.
It was too easy. No need to actually go and do any research. Why? Because:
- Project Management position – It means you gotta be organized and what better way to show you’re organized by sending a structured email
- Content writting – You’d have to know abit about story telling to be a content writter
- Coconut and summer travel experience – What else do you need to write a good story?
The structure of the pitch
First I intro’d my friend. Always use “!” to show your enthusiasm.
Then I did the following to show his project management experience. Gave her a brief summary of what the application contained. Similar to when you read a good book, you’d want to know what’s gonna happen down the road.
A summary of the content of this application:
- Project management and writting experience
- A feel of my writting style
- Additonal experience that will surely come in handy on the long term
- Best summer experience (must read: involves coconut)
- Warm regards from Macedonia
Then I went into giving more info about each of the 5 sections in the content keeping the experience for last.
I’ll skip to the 4th part – the story.
Regarding the best vacation experience:
The first time I tasted coconut.
I was 16 and regularly visiting Greece during the summer.
A staple food during my visits in Greece – the pork gyro. Every day. Sometimes twice a day. Very basic soul food that I loved alot. You could say the gyro was my summer love that I returned to every year without fail.
But then at 16 something happened. Something that changed my life forever.
I was eating my third gyro of the day. It was night time. The street in front of the gyro place was almost empty. I was enjoying it fully.
Then, I raised my head to take a breath from all the munching, and saw her. My jaw stopped moving, my eyes fixed, my sense of smell totally hijacked.
I just dropped the gyro, stood up and went towards her. She noticed me. Smiled. I smiled. Had ketchup on my white shirt.
“I just… Had to come and ask you…hope you don’t mind…” I asked her with the alpha male gaze in my eyes, that I normally have.
She smiled and said:
“Go ahead ketchup boy…ask.”
It was one of those moments in life where your ego strips, your true self rises to the surface and you grab destiny in the moment.
She leaned on the streetlight pole. I put my hand above her head and took my usuall alpha stance. Looked her straight in the eyes. Enrique Iglesias was playing in the background. Then, destiny spoke out of my mouth, with a gentle and quiet voice:
“What in gods name is that soul ripping, heart filling ice cream made of, baby?”
After she told me it was bounty, I have lived happily ever after and started eating bounty ice cream after every gyro. No exeptions.
Needless to say my friend got the interview.
So what’s it going to be? You gonna be Tommy and make your own movie regardless what the criticism is or be Columbus and think you landed in India?