If you’re like me, you own a business, could always use more customers and spend way too much time and money on marketing. You likely also hate the idea of cold call emailing and it gives you the chills to even think about using such a thing. I want to give you a cold call emailing system I use to bring in solid revenues VERY quickly without spending a dime.
What You Will Learn
- How to create a single ice breaker email script that you can use over and over again
- How to create digital attachments that will ensure your email gets read
- How to set up ZohoCRM to track leads, contacts and prospects
- How to research using Google for prospects you can reach out to
- How to document leads you find efficiently and keep track of emails, follow up etc
- How to bulk import your leads into ZohoCRM to save time
- How to set follow up reminders in ZohoCRM
- Basic Guidelines for USA and Canada Anti-Spam laws
The Tools We Will Use
There are a number of tools I used to make this process not only organized, but also a breeze. Chances are you already have access to all of these tools (SCORE!).
- Google Search
- Microsoft Excel
- Adobe PhotoShop / InDesign (Microsoft Publisher works good enough)
So before I tell you how I used a cold call email to increase sales by $7,000 in one month, I’d like to tell you some background on why I went the cold email route as you may be able to relate to the context.
One of my businesses is a local service business. Summer is our busiest season followed by Spring and Fall. During the winter we often check our phones to make sure they are working. It’s that slow! Last year I knew we were entering the slow season and sales would be slow so I decided to try something new.
In first few years our business model focused on “high margin / low volume” and we avoided the “high volume / low margin” niches because in this particular industry at least, this added volume comes with a long list of potential problems. Also, being a cash startup, we relied on customers to pay quickly and couldn’t carry large receivables.
Our high margin volume drops dramatically during the winter months and we needed steady cash flow to help keep the lights on and everybody working.
Our goals in the project were to:
- Add between $5k-$10k/month to our revenues during the slow months
- Use a low-cost method to reach our target audience (as we didn’t have much cash)
So which method did we do? We chose cold call emailing to seek out companies in a previously-ignored segment who were a good fit for our business and were one of the following:
- Frustrated with their existing service
- Never knew professional service of our kind existed
- Were open to trying a new service
- Were in the market for a the service our company offered
Why cold emailing? Using cold emailing would allow us to give prospects a feel for our business before they ever met or spoke with us. We hoped we could craft an email that would weed out the companies we wouldn’t want to work with, saving us the time and headaches that would come dealing with them.
Importance of Organization
We had a lot of emails going out all at once. We needed a place to store all of this information so we could stay organized, take notes, remind ourselves to send follow-up emails, and then set appointments if we got any responses.
We used ZohoCRM for this since it was free and ironically, better than the paid version at the time! When we initially did this process, the paid version (which allows emailing directly from ZohoCRM) lacked the ability to keep a copy of your sent emails. So basically once you hit send, you had no way to reference those copies, whereas sending them directly from your inbox you at least had your sent folder to reference.
Today though, the paid version of ZohoCRM has full email integration now pulls emails from your inbox to keep with your lead/contact. Awesome stuff!
Of course, you can totally do this with the free version by just using your email service to send emails, then copy/paste the email into a note attached to a particular lead in ZohoCRM. This is what we did and it worked pretty darn good for free! We’ll show you how to do this later.
How to Set Up ZohoCRM For Your Cold Email Campaign
Since these emails were sent to prospects, or some might call them suspects, and hadn’t in any way requested information or service from us, we were going to track them as leads in the software.
When someone responded AND we felt were a good fit for us to do business with, we moved them to an account with a contact.
Those who responded but didn’t worked out for one reason or another, we just closed the lead. This is helpful since closed leads can still be very valuable down the road so the information isn’t lost, it’s just stored in a different area.
How to Set Up Your Lead Detail Screen
In order to get the most out of ZohoCRM you’ll want to customize a few things in a couple screens.
First, you’ll want to customize a few field “pick lists” so that you can sort your leads properly. We were targeting a certain type of client that we wanted to keep separate from all of our other prospects so this was critical. We set up a custom item in the “industry pick list” for this niche. This is important since we will be using the industry to set up the leads dashboard later.
Set this up by clicking Setup (upper right corner) > Customization > Fields and select “Leads” from the Modules List. Now you are presented with the fields used in the Leads screen. Edit the Industry and add the industry(ies) you want to target.
We also added a few custom items to the lead status list so our list is as follows:
- Attempted to contact
- Contact in future
- Junk lead
- Lost lead
- Not contacted
- Pre qualified
Last, you’ll want to add a custom item “Web Research” to the Lead Source pick list.
How to Set Up Your Leads Dashboard
Because you will want to quickly sort out these leads from other contacts you might have, you will want to set up a couple custom view. This will show you the proper contacts based on a couple criteria:
- Custom view #1: The niche you are targeting + not contacted
- Custom view #2: The niche you are targeting + attempted to contact
Create these by going to your Leads dashboard and in the upper left next to the large drop down click “Create View”. Name the views as per above. In the “Selected Columns” choose
- First Name
- Last Name
- Last Activity time
In “Specify Criteria” choose Industry > Contains > The custom industry you set up earlier.
Now you’ll have a view which shows only those leads.
Then, create one more view that is for leads that haven’t been contacted. Save yourself a little time by selecting the view we just created and instead of clicking “Create View” click “Clone View” and in the edit screen add one more criteria.
Click the + button to the right of the industry criteria line and use this string
AND > Lead Status > Is > Not Contacted | Now Click save
Researching Who to Contact and How to Reach Them
We didn’t want to pick up the phone book and start calling as we knew this niche usually has a front desk and we’d get likely never get past the gatekeeper. We also knew this niche usually published email address for the owner or decision maker on their websites. Primarily, this was so new prospects for their service or existing customers could contact them. We wanted to use this to our advantage.
We started with a website search using the primary keyword we knew would bring up results for their business + the local area they served. For example “Business type + City and state”.
Given our revenue goal, we knew this would likely mean adding 3-5 clients total based on our knowledge of the average customer and the amount of services they used.
How did come to this number?
We used data and knowledge we had from working with similar clients in the past, information we gathered about their units from their websites such as square footage, and made rough predictions based on what we thought their business looked like.
For example, we know a single, owner operator, could handle about 50-80 units. We guessed on their turnover rates and came up with a rough approximation of the potential revenue available. For larger companies we relied on their websites to give us an idea of the number, size and location of units they managed.
You’ll want to keep a note of your prospects in the lead detail screen so you can decide how to prioritize who you contact. We went for the big fish first. Making and recording these predictions as you go along helps you sort this out easily later once you’re ready to start emailing.
Gathering Your Prospects
Spending sufficient time on research will help you keep organized. Do the research once, and do it well. Don’t email each lead as you find them. Rather, spend a few hours finding and logging prospects.
Now you can get to work using Google to find prospects. Don’t be a jerk and click on any ads you see while doing this. If you see an ad for a company you want to contact just type in their URL directly.
Log the following information:
- Lead Name
- Lead Source
- Lead Status (set to “Not Contacted”)
- Annual revenue
- Zip Code
- Log notes here that would be helpful when writing your first paragraph in your email like their business size, locations, time with the business, hobbies and just about anything else you discover as you do your research. This helps to personalize each email ever so slightly. We’ll talk more about this later.
TIP: Document all of the information in an Excel sheet using the above fields exactly as the header row and when you’re done upload it direct into ZohoCRM by clicking the “Import Leads” button on the Leads dashboard
Tips for Writing a Brilliant Cold Call Email
I won’t lie, you can read blogs all day on the subject, but there is no formula for what makes a perfect icebreaker email. However, here are a few things we think helped our cold call email have success.
1. Create Your Email in Template Form
To make this process extra efficient use a template so you can start with a basic skeleton, then customize it ever so slightly for each recipient.
Use a software like Microsoft word to create your email. Use the advanced features like hyperlinking text and images. If you use gmail as your default email program, you should be able to copy and paste directly out of MS Word to an email draft and it will retain all of the code embedded in your template. Pretty cool!
Outgoing Email Info
Your outgoing email info should be correct. We recommend your personal name followed by Company Name. For example “Jesse Stafford from EatSuccess”. This one detail will make or break your entire campaign. From: firstname.lastname@example.org just won’t get the same open rate. If you try to go incognito here, then plan on getting your email sent straight to the garbage with all the other promo emails.
Create a well-written and very descriptive subject line so they don’t instantly mark your email as spam.
We recommend something like “We haven’t met before, I’m Jesse from EatSuccess.com. We do XX in YOUR CITY”. Don’t shortcut the YOUR CITY or what you do part. That shows them it’s not spam or vague and not worth their time.
Opening paragraph must get their attention and entice them to keep reading
Example:“We haven’t met before, but I see you are the manager at Acme Company. I’m not sure if you are the correct person to contact. I was hoping to introduce my company EatSuccess.com. We are a blog dedicated to sharing real world case studies, tools and proven strategies to help entrepreneurs do what they do better! We provide actionable solutions to real problems business owners face which hold them and their business back from reaching their full potential. I’ve created a couple tools I think will help you right away, but I’ll get to those in a moment.”
The following points should be true of the body copy:
Be straight to the point and be personal
Example: ‘I’m sure you already have more than your share of digital clutter in your life. I know I sure do! The last thing you need is more of the same. I’d like to find out about your business, what roadblocks you’re having and what tools you wish you had. I’d love the opportunity to demonstrate how our blog has helped thousands of businesses solve problems you’re probably having right now.”
Be informative and show you are knowledgeable/experienced in your field
Example: “We have 15,000 subscribers from the XX area and are recommended by XX blogs like LIST PEOPLE WHO REFER YOU HERE. We have worked with reputable firms such as LIST YOUR BIG NAME CLIENTS. Our focus on creating actionable content has attracted these successful people and we’d like to show you how our way of doing business/product/service can help you too!”
Create added value
Example: “As I promised earlier you’ll find attached a .pdf of our most popular blog posts which address the most common problems like motivating employees, keeping focused, increasing sales and more. Also we developed a worksheet that will show you how to harness the power of icebreaker emails and how they can give you a low cost way of meeting new clients and adding needed cash flow to your business.”
Your conclusion should be very specific with a strong call to action, as well as set an expectation. Depending on how you see yourself following up you could do something like one of the following.
“I’d love to get your feedback on the worksheet and see how our team can help your business. I’m sure you’re busy so I’ll give you a call next week on Tuesday around 10:00am and only need about 15 minutes of your time. If you’re busy then just let me know a better time.
I have your best contact number as 555-1212. If there is a better number to reach you just let me know and I’ll update my notes. If you want to talk sooner just give me a call at 777-1111 extension 6 or shoot me an email.”
Signature is just as critical as it will show you are put together and professional or a mess.
I use a digitized version of my first name and last initial. Like this
Next List the following:
- Your logo, small. Perhaps 30px by 100px.
- Your full name
- Your job title
- Company name
- Contact number
- Direct number
- Social media pages
- Short list of your services
- Any awards / recognitions you have received
Much Overlooked Opportunity: The P.S.
Here you could go crazy with imagination. Perhaps you have a work sample, portfolio or something you’d like to show off. In my case I chose to build a survey to try and get some data from people so I built a free survey with SurveyGizmo and put the link in this text. Surprisingly I actually got a few responses! Take what you can get right?!
P.S. Please take our quick surveyso we can learn how to serve you better
2. Building Creative to Add Value and Increase Response Rates
Use your imagination here. This isn’t a place to just attach something you have laying around your desktop. Don’t use your ego either. Just because you think your brochure is really sexy doesn’t mean it adds any value to the customer.
Think about what this EXACT prospect would need that will help them and create THAT! Having strong brand, strong colors and great visuals will be helpful here. People love pictures.
I developed a full color, two-sided, digital .pdf that unlike our normal creative, targeted only this customer’s needs. Also, I created a pretty powerful yet simple to operate worksheet that showed this potential customer something they likely didn’t know about their business. This was done VERY visually so that any idiot could see why our service was highly valuable and could save them a lot of money over hiring a cheap company. Notice I showed them how spending more money with US can help them save money. Nice right? ADD VALUE FOLKS!
3. Proofread Your Email, Then Proofread Again
Do your due diligence before sending any emails. Read your email script several times. Have someone else read it. Then, send a full copy to yourself with all your creative attached, links, embedded features etc. Make sure your links work. Double and triple check your contact info. Make sure phone numbers, emails, websites are correct. It doesn’t hurt to take the time to hyperlink your logo, but that’s just getting a little OCD.
Sending Your Emails
Now it’s time to pull the trigger. Have you decided if you’ll use ZohoCRM to send emails or are you going to do it via your default email program? Choose one.
Copy and paste the email directly from your template and then edit it in the draft. If you’re working in ZohoCRM to send emails, you’ll need to add your logo manually to the signature as it won’t let you copy and paste that from MS Word.
Don’t edit your template with the customer info in MS Word as this can lead to BIG mistakes like forgetting to change names etc. HUGE problem. Add the customer info while in the draft.
Things you’ll want to edit:
- Recipient email
- Recipient name
- First paragraph to be more personalized as best as you can.
- Appointment time to call (might want to change the time for each so you have time between calls)
Logging Your Activity in ZohoCRM
If you sent your email from ZohoCRM there isn’t a lot to log! You’re pretty much done except for one thing: you need to update the lead status to “Attempted to Contact”. That way, they don’t show up in the “Need to Contact” dashboard and risk getting another email sent to them.
If you sent your emails via an email software you’ll want to paste a copy of the email into the notes for that lead in ZohoCRM so that you can refer back to it in the future. Just copy and paste in the note field.
Setting Reminders to Follow Up on Prospects
Now you need to KEEP YOUR APPOINTMENT! If you’ve done the previous steps really well, then don’t do what many companies do and flake out. Those who keep those appointments will have far greater success than those who just send emails and never follow up.
If you’re using ZohoCRM, go into the lead detail screen. On the right you’ll see the “Quick Actions” list. Choose “Add a New Task”.
Fill in all the details and be sure to set a reminder here using the reminder options.
Just Following Up Like You Promised Will Likely Win You a Customer
I can’t speak for every industry, but in nearly all of those that I’ve worked with, keeping promises just doesn’t happen. As I’m writing this, I’m waiting to hear from an electrician who was supposed to call me this week, but hasn’t. I’m waiting for some rugs I sent out for repair a month ago and should have been returned in 2 weeks, but haven’t been. I’m waiting for license plates we ordered a 6 weeks ago, but haven’t ever arrived. Get my point? Do what you say you’ll do and that alone will blow people away.
What To Expect From This Cold Call Email Campaign
Everyone wants some sort of guarantee before they take risk. However, without risk there is no reward. Here is what I experienced after employing this system.
Timing Is Everything
Timing is likely to affect the outcome more than just about everything. That is assuming you follow the basic guidelines above completely.
Why? Because if the fish aren’t hungry, they don’t bite much. That said, if the fish are hungry and you’re the one dropping the lure in front of them then you’re likely to get a catch! So while you may send 50 emails or 1000, timing from the customers’ perspective will play a major role in whether they respond or not.
In my experience, the people who responded were already thinking of switching or recently had a need for a service like ours, but hadn’t had an opportunity to go looking. We just fell in their lap. Did we do something genius? Not really. Just great timing.
Be Happy If You Get a “Trial Period”
If you craft your email in a genuine, non sales way and let your personality and values show in how you write, punctuate, articulate etc the right people will be attracted to you.
We had one such response that was unlike all the others and it was someone who liked our way of doing business, our brand and everything about how we operate, but had bad experiences with companies in the past. They were willing to give us a try even though they had staff in place to see if we could outperform their existing systems. Let’s just say we cut their turn around time in half and reduced expense by 20%. All we needed was a chance.
Expect a Chase
People are busy. They are also unreliable. We had a couple responses that were super eager to get started at first but then were impossible to get together with. I can say that persistence paid off. The magic bullet that brought these customers in was coffee. A small price to pay for a new customer! I took an hour one day and brought coffee to one prospect in particular who was a no show for two of our scheduled meetings. I just sat in her reception area and patiently waited until she had time to meet. It worked!
Cold Call Email Resources:
Don’t SPAM people
Use your head. Be smart. Know the laws where you live and abide by them
Other guides to writing good cold call emails
- Sam from Datanyze talks about how research, consultative approaches and humor are factors he responds to when receiving cold emails
- Learn how Devesh does “pre-work” and gets nearly a 100% open rate and landed his first 3 customers from his first 3 emails
- See how Mike Allton uses cold connecting via LinkedIn and see it as he would any networking opp. It’s not cold emailing, but many of the same principles apply equally.
- Aircall discusses best practices for cold calling in general which can all be used to enhance any cold emailing campaign
- 8 Steps to making your cold calling a success from Entreprenuer.com Great tips like push face-to-face meetings, get to know your prospects
Congratulations, you made it to the end! I’d give you an award if I had one! But don’t forget that you STILL have to send those cold emails! I know, what a spirit crusher.
If you’re like me, you’re scared to death of cold call emailing people. My experience was quite the opposite of what I expected and the thousands of dollars of revenue brought in from the customers we acquired via cold emailing helped us catch up on several past due accounts, helped us pay off some equipment early and even take a 2 week vacation.
Looking back I wish I would have done it much sooner!
So if you put method of breaking the ice to practice in your business and give it your best effort I’m sure you’ll have great success!
What tips do you have for a successful cold call email template or what have you done in the past that has worked well for you? Please share below!
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