What’s the Best Way to Conduct a Cold Reach-Out?

Look, I get it. You need clients. We’ve all been there. But I’m constantly shaking my head at the cold reach-outs I receive that miss the mark.

Cold reach-outs are — how do you say it? — my jam. I love online networking, especially on LinkedIn. There is a certain rush that comes with forging a new professional connection, and it doesn’t hurt when that connection turns into a new client.

How do I do it? What are my secrets? Here they are, in no particular order.

1. Get Personal

Seriously, guys … enough with batch-emailing a sales pitch. It really is true that when you’re attempting to speak to everyone, you’re really speaking to no one.

I genuinely shake my head when I get a cold pitch about website services, business coaching, or marketing help. It’s clear the person who sent it sent the identical message to 99 other people, which is a huge turn-off. I suppose that works for some people (does it, really?) but it’s not a method I employ.

Instead, take a look at who you’re pitching and speak to that person when you send a message. I recently spoke about this on Natalie Eckdahl‘s BizChix podcast:

Whenever I cold reach out to people the No. 1 thing is that it needs to be a mutually beneficial relationship. Not everybody’s going to respond, but the big thing that I do is talk about the person; they can tell that I’ve read their profile, they can tell that I see a true benefit in connecting.

2. Truly Get Excited

When I sat back to think about why cold reach-outs work for me, this was a huge one. I have a very specific profile of my ideal client in mind, so when I find someone who fits that profile, I get really excited.

For real.

I have two specific “avatars” I work with: professional athletes and passionate, business-to-business entrepreneurs. The two avatars have a lot in common: both have small businesses (ideally 1-5 people), personal brands, and are passionate about helping others through their businesses.

When I find someone who fits that profile, my energy rises, which translates into whatever action I take: sending a personal message, a connection request, or simply tagging that person as a lead.

Know your ideal client (get really specific) and get excited when you find someone who fits that mold!

3. Use Your Gut

This may come easier to some, but it’s important to really think about the best plan of action when conducting a cold reach-out. Ask yourself whether reaching out would come across as intrusive or disingenuous. If it would, simply take note of the person and comment on his or her posts for awhile (“lurk,” as they say).

If you notice that you have a lot in common with a potential lead that truly justifies a personal note right away, go for it. The point is to hold back when it’s important to hold back and lean in when it’s important to lean in.

Don’t be scared to reach out, but don’t be sloppy with your reach outs, either. You only have one chance to make a good first impression.

4. Don’t (Always) Go for the Sale

There are exceptions to this rule, but it’s typically best to wait to ask for a sale.

Think about it this way: what do you think of people who corner you on the street with a flyer, asking you to purchase something on the spot? I’m guessing you either mumble a “no thank you” or give in out of guilt.

Individuals have to know, like, and trust you in order to purchase. That happens over time. A cold reach-out is the initial point of contact. You have to be patient when it comes to converting a sale … this is a long-term play!

Start with a relationship. Ideally, that person will turn into a client. If not, maybe you can get a referral. “Worst” case, you expand your network and that person thinks of you when a friend or colleague is looking for someone who does what you do.

You really can’t lose.

5. Have Fun

Yes, that’s right … enjoy it! There is nothing quite like networking and lead generation. I love “the hunt” — seeking out other professionals to collaborate with is one of my favorite things about being an entrepreneur.

What do you think about cold reach-outs? Do you engage in them or do you shy away? Do they work for you or are you struggling?

Leave your comments below!

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