Using Cold Email to Land Meetings

cold emails to busy people

Are you one of those people having doubts about cold email as a business-generation tactic? Perhaps you’ve even heard some cynics say that cold email is “a waste of time”. Let me assure you, cold email can be an amazing way to grow your business.

Cold email can help you win great publicity, promote your articles, scale your startup, or even earn you some new powerful friends. In this article, we’ll cover why cold emails are a great way to land crucial meetings.

Can cold email work for you?

Cold email is a strategy that works, that’s a fact. But it only works when you do it right. If you do it wrong, you are bound to face a lot of bad results. Many people have chosen to dive straight into cold emailing without learning how to do it first. A lot of these people are now out there spreading the myth that “cold emailing cannot work”.

Let’s face reality for a second here: it’s a fact that important people are very busy. Most of these people will not return your call or reply to your email. Also, even once you get them to respond, it might just fizzle out and go nowhere.

Cold Emailing is a skill that grows

The better you get at cold emails, the better your success rate will become. But it will be a numbers game, just like everything else in running a business. Your success rates will be unimpressive at first, but apply some of our best tips, and it will all improve.

You have just 3 seconds to make an impact

Perhaps you have heard about the 3-second rule. This rule states that each person decides whether to respond, ignore, read, or delete a received email in 3 seconds.

Now, you can find suggestions for the best subject line, the best day to send your cold email, and how to get people interested. You can experiment with different ways to get attention. Let me just warn you, there’s no need to overdo it. You don’t have to test every single idea that comes to mind. Just stick to mastering the fundamentals revealed in this article, and you will do well.

Try the Waterfall Strategy for getting meetings

One cool trick is Bryan Kreuzberger’s Waterfall Technique. In this approach, you actually go to the top of an organization first and trickle down the hierarchy. This is a strategy that was invented to fix some problems inherent in a more traditional approach.

In a traditional approach, you start out by sending an email to a lower-ranked employee. Then you ask this employee to connect you with a decision-maker. And then you try to pitch the decision-maker on getting a meeting.

waterfall cold email technique

The waterfall strategy flips the whole thing on its head

You actually start from the top down. Email the highest ranking person you can find in a company, and ask them who would be the appropriate person for a potential meeting.

Here’s how the logic behind this trick works. Let’s say that you email the CTO and ask them who’s in charge of IT purchases. You actually prime the whole thing from the start by assuming that a meeting will happen. You are merely trying to find the person to have the meeting with, and you want to find out what is a good time for them to meet up with you.

If the CTO forwards your email to the appropriate manager, it carries more weight. The manager is effectively getting a delegated task from the CTO. They will be automatically primed to answer your meeting request.

Here’s the best part. You didn’t actually ask the CTO for a meeting, you asked them for something much more modest. You asked them to simply direct you to the person in charge of making that decision. So both the CTO and the manager are more likely to act on your request.

Tips for better cold emails

Whether you choose to use the “waterfall” strategy or another approach, you still need some tips on how to craft the actual emails. While there are no universal rules, here are some general guidelines.

Keep it short, but useful

You probably know that no one likes to read long emails. But if there is something really relevant, you can always include it as an attachment. You don’t have to go in-depth inside of the email itself. Just attach a slideshow presentation, video, screenshot or a one-page sales letter.

Or even better yet, do the modern version and link to the file instead of attaching it. Host the file somewhere and link to it, instead of bundling it inside the email. If the recipient wants to see this extra content, they will open that link.

Also, you can add links to your company blog, Facebook fan page, personal blog, LinkedIn or Twitter. This gives the recipient an opportunity to get to know who they’re dealing with.

Be direct

Don’t waste anyone’s time. The people you’re emailing are very busy people, they will not write you back about something they’re not interested in. If you are direct and quickly summarize what you get from them and what they get from you, you’ll have a much better chance of getting a meeting.

straightforward cold emails

The best way to do this is to have a well-crafted “elevator pitch” inside your cold email. How does your company help businesses like the one you’re contacting? Make it a key part of your email, but keep it short and sweet. And again, if there’s something that is important but won’t fit in the short pitch, link to it.

Be specific

Do you want to add the feeling that the email you’re sending is special and directed just to that one recipient? Then specify why you need to meet with them at this specific moment.

This topic can warrant a book on its own so I can’t cover it in full here. But I will give you a very useful example to get you started. Let’s say that you own a web design company and want to exchange clients with an internet marketing company. Let us also say that a large chunk of your clients are in California.

You might say something like “we have a lot of clients in California that we can send your way if you’re interested in exchanging leads.” You’re specific about why you’re contacting them (location), and you’re clear on the benefit (they get clients from you). You are also upfront about what’s in it for you.

Explain why now is the right time to meet up

Establishing the need for urgency is another way to be specific. It won’t apply to all situations, but when it does, you will definitely want to do this.

A lot of the time you can find something very time-specific about your offer. Let’s go with the earlier example. You’re looking to exchange leads with someone in California. Feel free to mention that you have a deadline to find a partner business by the end of this week. The implication here is that if they don’t act quick, you will end up sharing leads with their competitor. 

cold email scarcity

Scarcity is one of the most powerful psychological tricks in marketing. There is no reason to be afraid of using it in your cold emails.

Another example would be the introduction of a new feature. Let’s say that everybody in your industry is raving about the usefulness of a new trendy feature. Let’s also say that all your competitors are racing to introduce this feature.

If you’re cold emailing a prospect, feel free to mention that you’ve just implemented this feature. Also be sure to mention that you’re in midst of promoting this new feature, so the first few to jump on board will be getting the promotional pricing.

You can find many different ways to introduce time-sensitivity and urgency into your cold emails. If you do it right, the recipient will be in a hurry to meet up.

Make sure you have a great website

This is something you must have. It is very common that your recipient says yes to having a meeting but then cancels after they see your unprofessional website. You must make sure that your brand appears professional and real. So, if your website isn’t well-taken care of, you shouldn’t even start to send cold emails. Go and work on it first.

Don’t give up

If you don’t get a response the first time you try it, you can always send a second or third email. Send the second email a few days after the first one and explain why that meeting would be so valuable. Wait at least a week before sending a third email. This is very important if you’re emailing busy people who maybe didn’t have time to read your first email.

But we’re not playing baseball; this isn’t “three strikes and you’re out.” Until a lead responds with a reason to give up on them, keep reaching out at reasonable intervals. Until this person converts or tells you why they’re not interested, they’re still an opportunity.


Cold emailing is a skill. Becoming a master means regular, real-world practice to hone your craft. It’s the same for cold calling or any other aspect of your business. And just like any other aspect of business, you can outsource this. If you are getting overwhelmed at the idea of doing cold contacting, we have some good news: DemandZEN can set those introductory meetings for you. Contact us today to learn about how our services can strengthen your sales team.

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