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How to Write a Cold-Call Email to Attract Customers

Updated on September 26, 2014

For Sha

My friend Sha (Bravewarrior on HubPages) asked a question, and from that question comes an article. Here’s the question that started it all:

“I found this very helpful, Bill. Can you give us an example of the emails that landed you clients? Although I have no trouble writing good content, I seem to fall short when I'm introducing myself and offering my services. Am I too pushy? Am I tooting my own horn?

I've read that the best way to land clients is to show them a problem they're having and offer the solution. That way you don't come off as "please hire me; I need the money" but rather as a problem solver. I think this is where I get hung up.”

Sha is referring to an article I wrote last week about building your client base, and in that article I mentioned that I had sent cold-call emails to a number of real estate companies in my area, offering to ghostwrite their real estate blogs for them. From these emails I gathered in some nice business.

My experience is that Sha is not alone. Writers tend to be solitary people. Going out in public is, at times, painful for a writer. Face-to-face interaction with business people is like a trip to the dentist for many writers. I’m not sure why that is, but I do know it is true for many.

Thus, the cold-call email.

Cold-calling does have its drawbacks, but we aren’t here today to talk in negatives. Let’s instead discuss the positives of cold-calling, and then I’ll show you how to do it.

Contact customers from your writing desk
Contact customers from your writing desk | Source

Advantages of Cold-call Emails

The first advantage, and one that should appeal to many freelance writers, is that you never have to leave your home to contact customers. For those who have transportation problems, or who break out in a cold sweat when forced to go out in public, the cold-call email is the only way to go.

Cold-call emails can be tailored for the individual you are sending it to, and in fact it is advised that this be done.

Cold-call emails are not intrusive, or at least they are much less intrusive than a face-to face meeting. Customers can read your email at their leisure, when they have time, and this means there is less of a chance that they will be hostile towards you and your message.

Business owners are busy people
Business owners are busy people | Source

Key Sections of a Cold-call Email

Now let’s talk about what should be included in your email.

  • Begin with the recipient’s name. It is vitally important that you personalize your communication with a prospective customer. Open with the customer’s name and include it in the subject line of your email.
  • Build rapport in your first sentence. Try to find a commonality with the customer. Perhaps you went to the same school, or perhaps you belong to the same organization. Finding something in common means your message won’t be coming from a complete stranger.
  • Use a personal tone. Nobody likes receiving an impersonal, generic message from someone. Remember that clients are people too, so try to speak as though you are friends and not simply a stranger looking for business.
  • Point out the benefits of your service. Tell your contact how you can help their business. Remember, your writing is your product, so how can your product benefit your client. This might be helping them to make more money, or solving a business problem; whatever the case may be, point it out to them and don’t be afraid to state the obvious.
  • Short but sweet will win the day. Business owners and managers are busy. Follow the K.I.S.S. Principle. Keep it short and sweet; no longer than one page.
  • Tie the message to their needs. Clients don’t want to read about you and your company. Keep the focus on their needs and not yours. How are you going to help them?
  • Finish with a request. Always leave the door open for a future meeting or conversation. You want the prospect to take some kind of action after reading your email, so end with a request. Can we meet in the next week to discuss this opportunity? Can I give you a call tomorrow? Be specific with your demands.

An Example

Now let’s take a look at a good cold-call email. For this example, I’ll use a template that I used last year when contacting local real estate companies in my area.

Hello Bob!

I was discussing the market with an associate of yours, Dale Hubbard at ABC Realty, and he suggested I get in touch with you. He and I collaborated on some work for his website, and he thought my services would be advantageous for you as well.

Here’s the thing, Bob: you are a professional real estate broker, and judging from your track record, you are very good at what you do. My neighbor, Alan Jeffries, purchased a home through you, and he has nothing but good things to say about your professionalism. You obviously understand the market and you use that knowledge to help your business and your customers.

I do the same thing, Bob. I am a professional freelance writer, and my job is to make your website flash “success” to those who see it. My words, and my search engine optimization expertise, will bring customers to you, and your expertise in sales will deliver the goods. It is a perfect partnership, and I would love to discuss it further with you next week. How about I give you a call next Monday and we can talk about various approaches that will put you in position for further success?

Sincerely,

Bill Holland

Professional Writing Services

360-878-1757

A successful email conveys who I am
A successful email conveys who I am | Source

Let’s Review the Letter

Was it short? Yes!

What it personal and friendly? Yes!

Did I point out how I could help him with his needs? Yes!

Did I finish with a request? Yes!

Did I establish a rapport? Yes!

Mission accomplished!

Of course, this template will have to be adjusted depending on the type of business you are contacting, but you are all professionals and I have no doubt you can do it without further help from me.

I hope that’s helped you. If you have further questions, feel free to contact me and we’ll find a solution to your individual needs.

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Thanx, Bill. This is what I was looking for. Last night I attended another networking event sponsored by my city. I hooked up with a local business owner who seemed to show some real interest in what I had to offer. We began discussing his product - LED lighting - and the fact that it's a green product. Of course, that inspired me right there. Then we talked about his website and the fact he feels it's lacking something. I offered some suggestions. He also mentioned he's very busy selling and doesn't have time to keep up with the site. Bingo! I told him I'd look at his website today and give him a call to set up a time to go over what we can do to improve his site. While reviewing his site I also plan to look at competitor sites, compare Alexa rankings, etc. That way I'll have something concrete to share with him. I also offered a free consultation. Hopefully, I've created enough trust that this could end up being my first private client. We'll see!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      Bill, thank you so much, because always appreciate advice on how to cold call prospective customers and probably don't do this enough, because I never know if I am going to quite say the right thing. So, I truly appreciate Sha's question and your answer today. Happy Friday and enjoy your weekend, too!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, if this helped then fantastic. Thank you for always being here, and Happy Friday to you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Sha, the comment showed up....congrats on the new business...little steps lead to huge steps...hopefully. :)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      It's not new business, yet. Time will tell.....

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      This is perfect and practical; great for people like me who hate cold calling, as you say.

      Our (personal) version of K.I.S.S. is 'Keep it Simple, Stupid!' Not so polite but more direct I feel! Don't worry, I shan't be using that in my cold-call email.

      At the end of an excellent week, I'm looking forward to a sunny weekend with a load of bikers (lucky me!) and then home on Tuesday.

      Have a great Friday and a superb weekend, bill.

      Ann

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      Whether or not I plan to utilize your advice, I always appreciate it!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It will come, Sha!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      We say that too, Ann, but I thought I'd leave out the stupid...thanks for including it. LOL

      I start a part-time job this weekend, so we'll see how that goes.

      Have a wonderful, relaxing weekend my friend, and thank you.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      And breakfastpop, I appreciate you. Thank you and have a great weekend.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 2 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Great tips Bill on this Friday morning. I just sent my first cold-email last week - no response yet - but that it alright. I used many of your tips so I hope that puts me on the right track. However, I can see where I can make adjustments in the future that will make the email "pop." Great advice. Keep it coming. Have a good weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Michelle, and good luck with that cold-calling. Enjoy the heck out of your weekend.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very cool stuff. It seems like if you just follow this that it will work.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 2 years ago from West By God

      I bookmarked this one. I do not usually use e-mails for this but I am going to share it in case others do.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      A very good letter, Bill, I'm sure it will help many writers. You know that Writer's Digest charges about $200 for this same advice you've just given away. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...of course, Eric. It's just that easy! NOT! But we can hope, buddy, and I thank you for the laugh this morning.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Debra. Thank you!

    • Zainab Tarawali profile image

      Musu Bangura 2 years ago from Nation's Capital

      Happy Friday, Bill. Thanks for providing a detailed "template" on cold emails. Other articles I've read on them didn't make much sense to me, so this hub really helps. Voting up.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      All this AND a part-time job?!! Where does all your energy come from?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, I am embracing my vow of poverty and giving this for free. LOL Thank you and have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Zainab, I'm very happy this helps you. Thank you for that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, it's not energy...it's the realization that I'm running out of years to accomplish things. :)

      bill

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      That was the most personalized business letter I have ever read. Who wouldn't want to do business with you after reading a letter like that. I like the tips that you shared here. Very helpful, especially the tip about keeping things short and simple.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I'm sure you have plenty left but then it's keeping busy that keeps the body and mind going, so more power to your elbow! LOL

      Ann

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      I love the way you out yourself into that. The more personal, the more attention it gets!

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      That is great! I hated cold-calling (with a phone or showing up unannounced in my last business). This is so much better!

    • goatfury profile image

      Andrew Smith 2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      I love the concept of answering a question with a Hub. That's what this community is all about.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Marlene! I think short and simple is appreciated by business owners, who are always busy. Have a great weekend my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I believe in that, Ann. I feel young and I want to keep feeling young. :) It's worked well for me so far, so no reason to change.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I think so, Michelle. Always try to connect on a personal level with a customer.

      Thank you for always being here.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Iris, I think most writers hate it, so you are not alone. :) Have a great weekend and thank you.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      A superb article and an especially useful example. You really do help us "spread our wings and fly." Thanks, again, for sharing this great advise! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I believe it is, goatfury. Glad you like it as well. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill. I'll be over to see your latest soon.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Another great how-to-hub. I always learn from you. Thank's..

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, you are always so gracious and supportive about articles that are really not important to you. Thank you my friend, and have a peaceful and enjoyable weekend.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great advice Bill. This will come in handy at some point. Thanks as always for showing us the way. Have a great weekend

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Bill, and have a fantastic weekend my friend.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Terrific job in how you broke it down then provided an example. I'm sure twill be helpful for those looking to do cold calling.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Flourish! Hopefully it will help some people. Have a great weekend!

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 2 years ago from New Jersey

      This is so concise! I think this can easily help anyone looking to write this type of letter or any type of cover letter. Some people forget how important it is to focus on the other person's needs, and how you can help, instead of the other way around! Great job!

    • profile image

      Sparklea 2 years ago

      Your sample was excellent and a great way to conclude this excellent hub. I have, for years, known the importance of keeping queries down to one page. So glad you emphasized this regarding cold call emails. Also the KISS rule. I never realized so much could be written about the subject of writing. Most books regarding writing state the common basics but your hubs are much more interesting and personable. God bless and I continue to love reading your sincere advice from your heart. You are such a good person and I so admire yours and Bev's enthusiasm with your urban life and wonderful 'family.' Sincerely Sparklea.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      impressive! You know how to get my attention. I learned lots from this hub.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Social Thoughts! There is an art to these letters, and you are right, focusing on the other person's needs is key.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Works for cold snail mail, too! Actually, this is very timely. I'm working on a cold snail mail package for a new service I'm offering. Interestingly, I was already following pretty much the same formula.

      So why did I choose snail mail over email? Well, I don't currently have these particular folks' emails for one. But even if I did, I like using a combination of both physical and virtual communications, especially for outreach efforts to see who responds and how.

      Voted up and sharing! Happy Weekend!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Good template and good advice for cold-call letters. I like it.

      Theresa

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 2 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      This is an excellent reference, Bill, and one that touches on a subject that is very much in the marketing manager's mind lately. That is, how to invite new prospects to do business with you in a way that they welcome. Many managers are looking to focus emails in a triggered, segmented way focused on prospect and customer behavior. I will be using this as a resource. :)

    • MsBizPro profile image

      Anna Green 2 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank you for writing this; it's something I've been thinking about a lot lately. I'm trying to think of the best way to adapt it to offer businesses employee assistance/specialized training programs.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Another very good lesson. You give very wise advice concerning the key sections of the email. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

    • snerfu profile image

      Vivian Sudhir 2 years ago from Madurai, India

      Great stuff, voted up of course. Selling is an art that lies just beyond my horizon. However, I do love to read about how it all comes together. Great going.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lea, thank you! I think it's all those years of teaching, and having to whittle down a lengthy lesson into forty minute sound bites...one learns to be concise.

      I think our little urban farm is just about ready for winter. Splitting wood is all that is left to do.

      blessings my friend

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you DDE. I guess I'm an attention-seeker. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, it's always good to hear your perspective, from the marketing background. Thank you, and very interesting to hear your thoughts about snail mail.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Theresa!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      So glad to hear it, Paula! There is an art to wording the perfect cold-call letter...many a business has lost out because they couldn't write a letter such as this. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MsBizPro, best wishes on that. I'm sure you'll come up with the perfect angle in time. Thanks for the visit.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dora. I'll be by to visit your new article shortly.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      snerfu, selling is not a favorite for more writers. I'm trying to push them in the right direction. Thanks for stopping by.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 2 years ago from Hawaii

      I never knew about Cold Call Emails, so thanks for telling me about this. Maybe I'll give it a go.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      If you do, vkwok, then best wishes to you. Thanks for being here.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      As soon as I figure out where I'll do best I will certainly take your sage advice. Who else can show the way like you do? So much to learn and absorb.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I'm just drawing up a road map. There are many routes to take, but this is the one that worked for me. I hope you enjoy the scenery along the way. Thanks for travelling my road, and now I'm done with the metaphor. LOL

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is great advice, Bill. I would find introducing myself and my services in a written form much easier than doing the same things in person. Thanks for the tips.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      wow this was extremely helpful good.. no great question and great reply.. awesome my friend

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alicia, you are not alone. Most writers I know are private, solitary people who dislike cold-calling in person. Glad this helped you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Frank!

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 2 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      I would have never thought to email people in my area and offer to help them. This is excellent advice. Thank you for sharing!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Jeannie. You are very welcome, and I hope you see results.

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 2 years ago

      Bill!

      My gosh you are sure to have so many writers "flying in the air" of success that we will have to remember who helped us get our flying abilities! Really enjoyed and took notes of your suggestions. Thank you so very much! By the way, yes..getting face to face with business people is more than a trip to the dentist chair. It is almost like getting stuck in quick sand. I guess, some of us (myself) feel that the writing isn't "good enough" and we are wasting their time. I think it has to do with self confidence. I am sure we can stop by here to help us with that issue.

      Shared, up and tweeted!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, without a doubt it has to do with confidence. Most of us are insecure by nature....big surprise there. LOL We'll help each other, okay? :)

      blessings my friend

      bill

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      Your construction of this post was unique and well done. I especially value the email example. Thank you for the lesson!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad you found it helpful, Dianna. Thank you!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      That was a very powerful, yet non-obtrusive letter. It would rue interest me, and I am hard to reach on a lot of things. Good work on a winning letter.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Deb! It's good to know my business background is good for something. :)

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Bill...I know you think I'm the Paula from HP.....but I just borrowed her profile info. I'm the "Paula" from your novel, "Resurrecting Tobias."

      Anyway....I just thought I'd tell you that I've never found it necessary to call or email my clients. One time I did have to borrow the ticket wheel from the meat market downtown......It was the busy season, so my clients had to take a number.

      Oh...and really, I only did cold calls during the winter months. Thanks for the tips though. You're a Pal.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, scary is the first word that comes to mind. :) The second word.....loveit. I know, that's two words, but I'm a writer and we call that creative license.

      You have way too much time on your hands, Sis! May I suggest knitting? Somehow, I can't picture you knitting. Tell me I'm wrong.

      and of course, thank you for the chuckles...oh, hell I laughed.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Me....Knitting? Now that IS a scary thought.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I thought so too, Sis! :)

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

      Wow! I can't imagine ever getting the nerve up to write a letter like that and your example of the realtor was awesome. But it definitely makes so much sense, especially helping them with a problem instead of just hire me because I need a job. Great hub!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, most writers do not like doing this. Truth be told, I hate it, but I love eating, and I have to pay for the food, so, alas, I do it. :)

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