5 Elements of a Cold Pitch That Converts

We’ve all had times where we receive terrible cold pitches–whether via a phone call, email, or letter–that makes us wonder what made that person even think doing that would work. Because of that, the idea of you sending a cold pitch to someone may leave a sour taste in your mouth, making you worry that you’ll be “that guy” who sends the sleazy pitch that immediately makes the recipient put it in the trash.

However, when done correctly, a cold pitch can actually move the needle on your lead generation and help you to attract potential clients and customers outside of social media that you would love to work with–and if you received even one new client from doing this, wouldn’t that be worth it?

I’d say so.

A company recently pitched me to use their software, and although I don’t need what they’re offering, their pitch actually made me stop and read it instead of deleting it like I normally would because I thought it was that good. So although I may not be the right fit for them, I can absolutely see how this specific pitch increased conversions for the company. See what I mean below.

Screenshot of a pitch that was received via email

Awesome, right? If you want to know how to write a cold pitch that works, I’m going to break down this pitch, in the order of the numbered sections, to point out what exactly worked so you can use it as guidance for crafting your own future pitches, helping you to develop a well-rounded marketing strategy.

Use an Immediate Attention Grabber

We all know that the subject line in an email is the first thing that grabs a recipient’s attention because they immediately see it while in their inbox. Don’t just focus on the subject line, though–take the first 1-2 sentences of the email itself, not including the greeting, into consideration, as that will also show as a “preview” of the email in the recipient’s inbox.

What grabbed my attention here? A few things.

Subject Line

The sender included my first name right off the bat. You’d be surprised how many times people spell my name incorrectly, don’t even address me by my name, call me “sir,” or even call me the wrong name. Yikes! Using my first name already showed to me that this sender did their research.

The subject line also included how they found me, which already qualified them a bit more. We’re all usually hesitant to open emails from people we don’t know, so learning that they found me in an article I was featured in gave some perspective. Plus, I actually wasn’t sure which article they were referring to, so reading that alone made me want to open the email so I could find out which article they were talking about.

Preview Text

When in my inbox itself, without actually clicking on the email yet, one of the first things I saw in the preview text was the first sentence of the email: “Sliding into your inbox to see if I can bribe you with your fave lunch this week?”

Now that hooked me because who doesn’t love free lunch?! I started thinking about my favorites and what I would order if I took this person up on their offer: a pizza, a steak and cheese sub, a Greek salad with chicken… my mouth was watering at that thought alone!

Now I was curious to see what this free lunch offer was all about, so I opened the email.

Offer Something

This goes in line with the preview text, but in order to be successful with a cold pitch, you need to offer the recipient something immediately. The recipient is going to ask themselves, “What’s in it for me?” so if that isn’t obvious to them right away, they’re going to exit out of your email and discard it in the trash.

This person offered me lunch, which is definitely a generous offer, but you don’t necessarily have to give something that will cost you money. An offer can even include:

  • A free call
  • A free resource
  • An introduction to someone

Or anything else that you deem to be valuable and relevant. If this person is potentially going to be spending money on your product or service, they need to know what they’ll get out of it.

Make It Relatable

Introduce yourself and find common ground! The recipient doesn’t know who you are, so if you don’t give a little insight into yourself, your interests, your personality, etc.–without making the email too much about you–they’re not going to see the point in reading an email from someone they don’t know. Plus, sharing some background gives you a little bit of credibility and can help you relate to the person.

The sender indicated a few characteristics about herself:

  • Feminist
  • Single mom
  • Mom of 6-year-old twins
  • Female in a male-dominated industry

For anyone who receives this email and also identifies with one (or more) of these characteristics, that immediately builds a little bit of trust. You want to make the recipient feel like they can relate to you in some way before you get into the pitch, helping them to warm up to you more. A similar approach would be to give a specific compliment to the recipient.

Dive into the Pain Points

Now we get to the meat of the email: the pain points followed by the pitch. Here’s where you really need to know the recipient and what they’re struggling with, as mentioning those problems before you provide your pitch is what will make them see how valuable your product or service really is with solving those problems once you get to the pitch itself.

For some background information, I’m being pitched a digital advertising platform for agencies in this email. The sender goes on to share a few big pain points that I may be experiencing as an agency owner, so anyone who is also receiving this email and reading these struggles will say to themselves, “Yup, I can relate.”

Once you hook someone in by making them realize what holes they might be experiencing, you can then include the pitch, as you’ve already pushed them further into thinking that they need what you have to offer.

Recap and Remind Them of the Offer

The very last sentence should be a very brief recap of the pitch itself to tie everything together. Share what you want from them (in this case, it was the opportunity to have a call with me for 30 minutes to learn more about their digital advertising platform) and then remind them of what you’d be giving them in return for their time (gift card to buy myself lunch).

Make the “ask” short and direct by sharing exactly what you’re looking for and restate what’s in it for them so they know what they need to do to take action.

Be Consistent and Adjust as Needed

Now here’s some advice for you: be consistent and adjust your pitches as needed. You’re not going to see results right away, and the one pitch you write won’t work on everyone, so it’s important to find ways to step up your game.

Consistency in cold pitching happens in two forms:

  1. Send cold pitches consistently, as doing so will only help you improve. Whether you choose to send a certain amount of pitches daily or weekly, make it a recurring task for you to stay on top of reaching out to potential leads.
  2. Follow up if you don’t hear back from the recipient, always. At the time I’m writing this, I haven’t received a follow-up email from the sender yet (it’s only been two days, after all!), but I expect that I will by next week since I haven’t responded. It’s crucial that you also follow up 1-2 times if you don’t hear back from people, as there are a variety of reasons why they might not have answered the first time that aren’t related to them not being interested in your pitch: they’re busy and forgot to respond, your first email landed in their spam, they needed to consult with their colleagues before taking you up on your offer, etc. So, don’t always take no response as a “no” because it actually could be a “yes” that just hasn’t happened yet!

You’ll also want to pay attention to whether or not your pitch is working. You would obviously know your pitch is working if the recipient took you up on your offer (taking the free lunch, downloading the resource, scheduling a call, etc.), but your pitch can work even if the person doesn’t take you up on your offer.

What do I mean by that?

If I were to respond to that email I received and said, “Hey, I’m actually not in need of this software but wanted to say that I really liked your email!” then that’s important to know, too. It shows that your pitch still accomplished the goal that you had but you just didn’t quite reach the best person, which shows that you’re on the right track.

Practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. And if the idea of pitching makes you feel icky, remember that your product or service is directly solving the problems people are facing in their lives or business, and that’s pretty powerful.

How do you feel about cold pitching? Have you had success with it?

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