Anton Van Rhyn, Cold Email, Email Prospecting

TSE 1218: How To Write A Cold Email Your Prospect Will Open And Reply To

Anton Van Rhyn, Cold Email, Email ProspectingThe cold email has been part of the sales process for a very long time but how do you actually write a cold email that your prospect will open and reply to?

Anton van Rhyn is the CEO and founder of the company Wavo,  a cold email platform that helps salespeople automate email outreach and follow-up. He also built Huron, a company for outbound prospecting and service. Anton has used both his software development experience and sales development experience to fine-tune the email automation platform. 

A cold email automation platform 

Anton built a cold email automation platform in order to assist sales representatives to relieve them of these more mundane tasks. The platform creates a sequence for the machine to follow. It can reach out to prospects and follow up in a way that looks like human effort. The tool is very efficient in that it focuses on making initial contacts while it frees up sales reps to focus on their demos and talking to people. 

Anton’s company has been utilizing email for three and a half years. Their previous experience came from being a prospecting service where they used emails to contact different verticals and industries. regardless of company size. 

Email makes it easy to prospect because most people today already use email. It is reminiscent of the cold calls used in the past. Cold calling was effective because most people were already sitting at their desks and ready to pick up a phone call. Today, very few people own office phones. Businesses have resorted to using emails to reach their clients. It’s become one of the most powerful channels to engage with prospects. 

Emails that don’t work 

Using a template in making cold emails is one of the reasons why this strategy often fails. In the U.S. alone, the phrase cold email template is searched for around 200,000 times a month in Google. Mail servers create a hashing algorithm to identify email content and using these algorithms, servers can quickly identify these emails as spam. 

The other reason why cold emails are failing is that some people in the email list aren’t interested and just flag your email as spam. 

When you’re using the cold email templates, it’s very easy for emails to go straight to spam. 

Over time, Anton’s company developed a framework in using cold email, calling it the 1-2 punch. It’s a series of emails to address a topic. After some time, another mail is sent to revisit the topic sent two emails ago. It’s important to give the recipient a break. 

Use a good subject

It’s important to use a good subject when creating a cold email so it seems you are really writing to someone. A subject line that looks like a headline from an ad stands out to people. Even when the email isn’t flagged as spam, or ends up in the Promotions Tab, the receiver will still likely not open it because nobody likes being sold to. An ad is off-putting.

Google and Gmail Suite are also getting smarter by the day. They check your inbox and look at how people engage with your emails. A sender who gets replies gets a higher score than sanders whose emails don’t get opened and responded to. 

As a salesperson who is using emails to reach their clients, find smart ways to get them to reply. One trick Anton suggests is to include a way for people to unsubscribe. For example, “Hey, if you don’t want to hear from me again, please reply to this email with your request to unsubscribe,” or some other variation.  

Anton’s clients have seen how using this trick improved their engagement rate. While there are some who reply unsubscribe, they also see positive responses coming back as well.

At the end of the day, your goal is to make your cold emails sound more human to get the other person to respond. 

When you write a cold email that your prospect will open, the three word-subject line works well. You can email your list with no more than a three-word subject line and talk about the value proposition. 

Talk about the quarter’s results or related subject clients may find interesting. 

A quick question subject line is the most overused subject there is but it has 40-60% open rates. This shows just how effective a short subject line is.

The body of the email

You can write a cold email that your prospect will open by building a series of two emails. The first email shouldn’t be longer than three sentences. Salespeople often make the mistake of putting everything in their mail. They try to explain every value proposition and all the information about what they’re selling. 

Explain the most important things in three lines: 

  • Who you are
  • Why you’re reaching out
  • The relevance of your product/services to your prospect 

Anton observed that trying to get the conversation started is what matters. It’s equally important to give the prospect of breathing room regardless if they respond or not. After two days, send them another email as a reminder. You can also add some social proof in your second email to tell them who you’ve worked with and how the partnership produced good results. Build on that sequence and wait another week to create an additional one-two punch email. 

If there is no reply then give it another week or two to give the prospect breathing room and time to forget. You can then start the process again. 

You can continue this sequence as long as you deem effective. 

Scheduling effectively 

Google has implemented many ways in detecting cold email these days as the use of cold email starts to proliferate. In the early days, using cold email was very effective when sent by batch before and after office hours. It let people do their jobs in the middle of the day and then emails were sent before they got into the office after they left. 

In the last months, this strategy hasn’t been performing very well. This is due to the spike of activities during the 6:00 AM – 9:00 AM and 5:00 AM-9:00 PM window. People tend to get busy in those times and end up not doing much during the day. 

Anton’s team is changing its approach and adapting to peoples’ activities. It’s counterintuitive to what they’ve done in the past but it’s proving to be effective today. Sending the emails by batch in the times when people aren’t too busy has become their automating signature. They rewrote the scheduler in a way that emails are sent consistently throughout the hours between 9:00 AM-5:00 PM, rather than sending all the emails as quickly as possible in just one time. 

This has proven a preferable schedule for delivery. 

When sending cold emails, remember these few things:

  • Introduce yourself, your reason for mailing, and state why this is relevant to them 
  • Keep the email short
  • Have a very quick call to action
  • Your goal is to start a conversation

Scheduling tools such as Calendly are also helpful especially if you get a reply showing interest. This is the perfect time to send your Calendly link. 

“How To Write A Cold Email Your Prospect Will Open And Reply To” episode resources

Contact Anton Van Rhyn via his mail anton@wavo.co. They are also giving out PDFS of their frameworks at wavo.co/tse. 

You can also reach out to Donald via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for any sales concerns. 

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077. 

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About the Author The Sales Evangelist

Donald is the host of the popular sales podcast,"The Sales Evangelist". He is the founder of The Sales Evangelist Consulting Firm where he helps small companies develop killer sales process to scale their business and increase growth.Donald is also an award-winning speaker, sales trainer, and coach. He's a big fan of traveling, South Florida staycations and high-quality family time. Donald has a belief that “anyone” can sell if they have the desire and receives the proper training.

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