Paul Castain's Blog

A Line By Line Review Of 3 Ineffective Cold Emails

Posted December 16, 2018

There seems to be an overabundance of “sales experts” outing sales reps who approached them “incorrectly”lately.

I’m not a fan of that, (especially when they go over the top and call the rep out by name), but sometimes, I just can’t hold my tongue.

I’m going to remove the name of the rep (and company) and share 3 emails and explain, line by line, how they crashed and burned.

I think there’s an opportunity for us ALL to learn from it.

Here’s the email;

Subject Line: There wasn’t any.

That’s mistake number one and before you say “Duh”, let me explain why.

It’s because they contacted me via my “contact us” button on my website.

This was particularly lazy considering my email is listed all over my website.

They also missed an opportunity to capture my attention at the subject line.

Extra bonus points were scored in the “lazy department”, by contacting me 2 more times via the “contact us” button.

Here’s the opening:

Hi Paul,

For 23 years we’ve been helping companies large and small with a comprehensive suite of business solutions.

Time Out! You lost me! How?

But starting the email off with something about your company.

I don’t give a sh*t about you or your company at this point.

I just stopped what I was doing, and this is how you attempt to keep my attention?

Also, whenever I read things like “comprehensive suite of business solutions” it reeks of “marketingspeak”.

Note: The same thing goes for ridiculous phrases like “we’re a full service” “we offer end to end” etc. Who talks that way?

And while we’re at it, don’t use words like “robust” because it makes me think of something smelly or “penetrate” because, quite frankly, my inner sixth grader has a field day with that one.

A better approach, would have been to lead with something about me, my company, my industry, my competitors etc.

I tend to give more of a sh*t about those things but, then again, I’m silly like that. A quick trip to Google would have helped!

Also, don’t speak to me like the marketing department is whispering things for you to say to me. Reminds me of that scene in role models when Paul Rudd is leaving a message for his ex girlfriend and his geeky friend tells him to use the phrase “Whispering eye”.

A better approach would have been to write in a more conversational manner.

Great job on telling me that you’ve been in business for 23 years, I would have mentioned it AFTER you lead with something about the recipient.

I’m not going to bore you with the rest of the email because I would only be rehashing everything I’ve written thus far.

So instead, let me tell you about their second email;

They forwarded the same, exact email to me with the following:

Hi Paul,

I know things can get missed in a sea of emails, so I wanted to reach back out to get your thoughts, on my email below.

To me, a forwarded email, especially when we’ve never communicated, says “How about a response dumb ass”

It’s also incredibly lazy.

And it’s a dumb move. Why?

Because if I didn’t respond to your first email, why wouldn’t you give me something different to read?

It’s also incredibly lazy (yes, I know I said that already) but it’s lazy for a different reason;

If they had taken a moment to visit my website, they would have noticed;

My phone number, in plain sight, on my homepage. They could have called.

If they had taken a moment to visit my website, they would have seen (again in plain sight) two of my social networking profiles (LinkedIn and Twitter).

They could have accidentally “bumped into” me there.

They would have also learned quite a few things about my style, my personality etc.

The third email was the same email they sent me two other times (within one week I might add)

They attached this note:

Hi Paul,

3rd time’s a charm?

I wanted to follow up one last time on my other two emails.

Have I mentioned that this is incredibly lazy yet?

Have I mentioned that a forwarded message (that you had the balls to forward twice) has a way of saying “How about a response dumb ass?”

Also, why would you EVER back yourself into a corner by saying, in essence “This is the last time I’m going to follow up”.

If you’re going to threaten someone, go all in, and tell someone you’re going let the air out of their tires or unfriend them on Facebook.

Oh, and it’s a whole week in to your attempted “courtship” and you’re ready to call it quits?

Your competitors must love you!

Sadly, because they’ve sent me the same email, on numerous occasions, they’ve now conditioned me to to disregard and delete their message.

Oh, and why are they continuing to reach out, via the same platform?

The last time I checked;

There’s snail mail

There’s FedEx

There’s this really cool thing called a phone

There are social networks

There are creative things you can do to get someone’s attention.

They could have checked LinkedIn, looked for a mutual contact and asked them for a warm intro.

But instead . . .

They sent me the same repackaged email;

3 times! Actually twice but it felt like 7.

And by the way, the third time was, in fact a charm;

I asked them to remove me from their list.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to knock someone who, like me, is trying to pay the bills;

I’m just trying to point out that many of you, aren’t earning what you deserve, because you’re failing to map your communication properly!

Something to consider;

I have over 70 ACTIONABLE tips and 50 really effective email templates for you ready to be downloaded!

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  • 30 ways to find potential clients who are 400% more likely to buy NOW!
  • 4 ways to get email addresses WITHOUT spending a dime on email lists.
  • 50 different types of emails that I’m personally using to get results for my business. Oh, and I’m also going to send you the templates so you can begin using them immediately!
  • 12 subject line mistakes that you need to avoid. Keep making them and you’re hosed!
  • 12 BETTER subject lines that get your email read.
  • 12 ways to head off skepticism, doubt and objections.
  • One EPIC mistake, just about every sales rep makes, in the first 3 sentences of an email.
  • A really simple, 4 step messaging framework that gets results.
  • 2 Psychological techniques that work like a charm!
  • How to dramatically increase your response rate


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