Cold Emailing Is a Necessary Skill
A couple years ago, I wrote a piece on why you should think of cold emailing as an opportunity, not a chore. The post was a response to a piece Hunter Walk had written on the topic, and it got me thinking about how we perceive the practice of cold emailing. So instead of discussing today how you should go about cold emailing, I think it’s first important to take a step back and discuss how you should go about thinking about cold emailing.
I’ve sent thousands of cold emails — to investors, to artists, to other founders — and what I’ve found is that it doesn’t really matter what industry you’re in. In the end, the lesson is always the same.
In every industry, cold emailing is a fact of life to some extent. Whether you’re in tech, pharmaceuticals, law enforcement, law, real estate, etc., you will send some type of cold email at some point for some aspect of your job. Normally the goal of a cold email is to make a sale; to get some potential client to purchase something. But even in professions where your end goal isn’t to sell a product or service, you will undoubtedly need to reach out to someone you don’t initially know at some point.
Why Your Perception of Cold Emailing Matters
The reason that changing your perception about cold emailing can and will make you a better networker is because it changes how you perceive and meet obstacles. Look at cold emailing as another arrow in your networking quiver, and especially as one of the ones you may need to rely on to start building your minimum viable network. Though warm, double-opt in introductions are obviously preferred, cold emailing/messaging is still be an invaluable skill.
Not knowing someone — not having a prior meeting with them and/or not having someone to make an introduction for you — is a major obstacle in life. It will keep you from making that important sale which could sink or save your company. Sometimes the only way to reach that person is to take a stab and take your chances with an unintroduced email.
Instead of fixating on the fact that it’s a cold email and you have no history with the person, however, focus on how you can state creating a rapport with them. Do not think about it as you giving them a chance they otherwise wouldn’t have — rarely do cold emails with phrases like “I don’t want you to miss out” or “you’ll kick yourself if you don’t buy/invest” work. Those are just annoying, and reek of desperation.
Be Positive and Opportunistic, Not Desperate
Your goal in any cold email is not to project desperation, it’s to project opportunity. It’s about letting the other person know that you’re genuinely interested in creating a rapport with them, and possibly starting a longer-term relationship. At the end of the day, the cold emails which emphasize a long-term relationship tone over a short-term sale win almost every time. They are opportunistic and serendipitous — this in turn is magnetic to the reader.
Change how you think about cold emailing and you will change the responses you get to cold emails. This in turn will help you build out a network that perceives you as positive and magnetic. That — maybe more than anything — is what will draw people to your network.