Welcome to Sales Sunday.

I’ve personally ideated, written, and sent 5000+ cold emails this year.

Some results of those emails:

  • A VC-backed startup got 110+ booked conversations
  • A bootstrapped startup got 6+ meetings in 2 days
  • Fireshow Media booked 50+ meetings in 60 days

Last year, we neither had the skills nor systems to do that.

We had to learn what didn’t work, before actually getting good at it.

Today, I’m sharing why most cold email sucks. These will help you understand:

  1. What makes 90% lead just copy-paste BS
  2. The messages that do NOT work
  3. Why they don’t work
  4. Why Lead Gen = Relationships
  5. How to start relationships

Now, let’s dive in.

#1 90% of Cold Email is copy-paste BS

Earlier this year, a boot-strapped startup CEO reached out after spending $5400/month on a well-reputed lead gen agency.

As a result of working with a prior company for 3 months, he got a grand total of…

0 meetings.

Yes. His investment of $16,000+ got him 0 meetings.

This “lead gen” agency was sending the same message to 1000s of people every week, just hoping that they would get a 0.5% meeting rate.

Most emails designed to “book meetings” follow the same exact template, have 0 personalization, and are sent 100,000+ times per day.

They’re boring.
They’re spammy.
They’re so darn formulaic it’s hilarious.

#2 The Following Messages Do NOT Work

(and you’ve probably received them today)


Hey {name},

Found you and {company} on LinkedIn. Great stuff!

We do {value prop} for companies just like yours, and help them get {benefit}.

Do you have time for a 15-min conversation?

LinkedIn Connection Message:

Hey {name},

Saw we’re connected to some of the same people.

I hope we can connect, and provide some value to each other!

LinkedIn Follow-Up Message:

Hey {name},

Thanks for connecting!

We do {value prop} for companies just like yours, and help them get {benefit}.

Open to a 15-min conversation to see how we can add value to each other?

#3 7 Reasons They Don’t Work

If you’re sending messages like this on any platform, then you’re among 100+ messages that very day. You can’t stand out.

Here’s why:

  1. They’re written for scale
  2. They have 0 personalization
  3. Everyone is sending these messages
  4. Everyone is getting these messages
  5. They’re written for any person
  6. They scream “buy from me!”
  7. They are not focused on building trust

4 Successful Outbound = Start a Relationship

Let’s take a step back.

60% of prospects will NEVER buy from you.
3% of them are ready to buy.
7% are very open to buying.
30% are interested but not right now.

You cannot reach out to 100% of prospects with the intention to “close” them right away.

The intention of lead gen through email must be to start a relationship, book meetings, and deepen it to the point where they come to the decision to buy from you or not.

If they buy from you, that’s great. You have a customer.

If they don’t buy from you, that’s cool. You have a life-long relationship.

Most business is built on business relationships, whether it’s through in-person connecting, or at scale with content, email, and ads.

#5 How to Start a Biz Relationship with a Stranger

You cannot force a relationship.
You cannot push a relationship to form.
You cannot annoy someone into a relationship.

The only thing you can do is to offer them something of value, and let them decide to take you up on the offer.

For example; for a client during SXSW, we offered 600+ official SXSW speakers a chance to come into a studio for an interview. 200+ of them said yes.

This company now has relationships with 200+ of their potential users.

For a consulting company, we offered Fortune50 VPs a chance to contribute to an eBook about the shortage of technical talent in their industries.

15 of them said yes, and now have a relationship with this client.

Here are some ideas for you. In every case, this has worked for Fireshow Media or a client:

  • Invite to a private event
  • Invite to a special program
  • Invite to meet others like them
  • Invite to an exclusive Happy Hour
  • Invite to an interview for an eBook
  • Invite to an interview on a podcast
  • Invite to an interview for a blog post

Next week, expect an in-depth breakdown of WHAT to say in a cold email.

See you Sunday.