How can we change this cold-call email?

As you know, good communication is at the heart of what I do. I want businesses to relate more and engage with their prospects and customers.

Today, I want to talk to you about relating to prospects. I received this email yesterday and I put my head in my hands and shook my head. This person has spent time (not money!) on this email and hoped to get a response. And he may had one…but with a few tweaks, he could have easily got a much higher response rate.

I need your help – but first here is the email (names have been changed to preserve dignity!)

Subject line: XX Company/ meeting request

Hi Denise,

I have recently taken over the XX Company and would like to meet with you to discuss your plans for the next 12 months and explore whether we can be of assistance to Achieve Marketing.

We have been providing Computer Services & Support to small & medium sized companies for over 10 years. We specialise in ensuring technology is supporting client’s businesses and ensure value for money by providing cost effective support services.

We have just launched an “xx Helpdesk” Service, which I think will be of interest to you.

If you are free, I would like to suggest this coming Thursday @ 09:30 in your office. Alternatively, please let me know when you are available.


I’ve written him a response – but would love to hear from other small business owners:

1. How would you respond to this email?

2. What changes could you suggest to him?

3. Anything else to add?

A rising tide raises all ships – so if we can help one another, then we’re all sure to growth and thrive.

About the Author

Denise FayI'm Denise Fay, an international marketing communications advisor. For over 16 years, I've been helping corporations and business owners to promote themselves by communicating the right message with the right audience. They achieve clarity, leads and sales. I'm also an award-winning author, engaging speaker, entrepreneur, business owner and mum of two, I have written copy that has won awards, won clients and most importantly, built relationships. Because at the end of the day, it all comes down to how we relate to others. And writing great copy that engages with your reader is well worth its weight in gold. You too can find wealth in your relationships. I can guide and help you find your words, create an engaging message and build a relationship that results in repeat sales with your customers & leads. Contact me today to get started. Come find me on Google+View all posts by Denise Fay →

  1. Juliet JonesJuliet Jones09-08-2011

    Denise –

    Too often I get emails like this. People don’t take the time to understand who their customers or future customers are. It’ frustrates me as a sales person.

    If I were to suggest anything, I would put a bit more belief or passion into the email. IT can be sexy (can I use that word here?) but there was nothing there to inspire me to pick up the phone. I assume there was a number if you wanted to cancel??

    Oh – I’d bin it.

  2. John TimmonsJohn Timmons09-08-2011

    Hi Denise

    I’m not sure any form of cold-calling works any more. I think it’s much better to use your website , blog and social media to leave a digital footprint and build up credibility in your industry sector.

    Then if you use business networking to make that initial contact, the track record exists on the Internet for potential contacts to see.

    I refuse to take cold-calls and delete ALL unsolicited emails without reading, so I’m very unlikely to see the wording. Also everyone has been on the sales courses or read the books and everyone uses the same format for these letters/emails.

    You need to do something different to jolt/shock/intrigue people before they will open one of these emails. They have already lost it at the Subject line.

  3. FredFred09-08-2011

    Hi Denise,

    Loads of things to touch on. I’ll say this for now as a HUGE starting point: focus on others before asking for something. You can’t build business relationships by showing out of the blue one day and saying “we have 20 years of experience, let’s see how we can work together”. I simply don’t believe in that approach. There are many books that phenomenally explain this point but here are the two best: “Linchpin” by Seth Godin and “Launch” by Mike Stelzner

    Sorry for not answering the questions you asked. I simply think that is not an business opportunity at all. It’s a cold-call in the shape of an email, looking to just convert a sale…

  4. Alistair WheateAlistair Wheate09-08-2011

    Cold-calling/emailing does still work. I use this approach occasionally and I have won good sized deals from some global brands using this ‘cold’ approach.

    The key to a good ‘cold’ approach, and what this email is missing, is to have something specific that is related to the target company. What I think doesn’t work so well is cold calling with a generic pitch, because then you are just playing a numbers game. Far better to research your present, try to understand what they are trying to achieve and give them some specific reasons why you think you can help.

    For example, I work as a consultant helping large business communicate online – so if I see a company that has a particularly poor online newsroom I might contact them to offer our services. Particularly if their competitors are way ahead of them or if we already work with companies in their sector.

    So what Gareth needs to show in his email is why is he contacting YOU as opposed to someone else. Otherwise it just looks like they are hitting companies in a list. If I get a cold call and I can see that the person calling me has spent some time researching my businesses and finding out what I’m interested in I’m more likely to hear them out.

  5. Denise FayDenise Fay09-08-2011

    Hi Juliet,

    Thanks for taking the time to let me know your thoughts. I was thinking that too – there is no emotion, no passion, no reason why I should call them.

    I’m with you – I’d hit the delete button…,in fact, I’d probably hit the delete button with the subject line.

    Take care,

    PS You can say it was sexy…I know exactly what you mean.

  6. Denise FayDenise Fay09-08-2011

    Hi John,

    I’m with you – they would have lost me with the subject line (if I wasn’t so curious about the content). I have never met them before. We are members of the same networking really, I was a pure cold call email.

    It’s interesting what you say about never taking unsolicted emails. My husband received a cold call email, not too disimilar to this, and he considered it spam. He thought it was unsolicited and therefore spam.

    I agree that something intriguing or challenging or controversial is needed – people rarely consider the subject line and yet it is so important.

    Thanks for your thoughts and time.
    Take care,

  7. LornaLorna09-09-2011

    I agree with Alistair, that I would have needed to have been convinced that he had looked at my website, done a little bit of research and found something personal to my business that he could help me with – otherwise, I hit the delete button.
    I think using Linked In as introductions is the best way. If I were to receive an email from a contact asking could they introduce me to X, I wouldn’t say no. However, I’m tired of getting requests from people claiming to be friends because we both happen to be on a similar group and I have never heard of them before.

  8. Denise FayDenise Fay09-09-2011

    Hi Fred,

    Thanks for your invaluable advice. I’m definitely with you…there was no connection. I didn’t get a sense that this guy knew who I was and what my needs were. One thing, among many, that irked me was the sentence about ‘helpdesk that I think will be of interest to you‘….That was a big assumption and these days, you can’t afford to make assumptions.

    Thanks for your comments.

  9. Denise FayDenise Fay09-09-2011

    Hi Alistair,

    These days I do tend to listen to cold calls and emails if I feel that people are making an effort to get to know me and my services and obviously my problems.

    You make a very valid point that Gareth missed – he isn’t targeting me; he’s targeting me as part of a collective, a list. And that doesn’t make me feel special, it doesn’t address my needs and it certainly doesn’t help me solve a problem.

    I’ll be doing some research into cold call/cold emailing in the near future so I can hope I can contact you to hear about your positive experiences. I like what you’re doing – identifying a problem and offering a solution. With that approach, you deserve to win.


  10. Denise FayDenise Fay09-09-2011

    Hi Lorna,

    Absolutely – I agree with Alistair aswell. Juliet mentioned it first aswell – there was no connection, nothing personal. I was just part of a list, wasn’t I?

    Like you, I get so many requests on Linkedin – “because you are a friend”. Their definition and my definition of ‘friendship’ is very different. People have all sorts of connection policies on Linkedin but I’d like to have first met the person because that way, then if someone does ask for introduction, at least you know both parties.

    An excellent alternative to the cold call email. Thanks Lorna,

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