The one cold email phrase you need to avoid at all costs

Sending cold emails may be an accepted part of doing business today, but this one phrase could be losing you more potential clients than winning them.

Like you, I receive my fair share of cold emails from companies hoping to do business with me, or make money from me in some way. And on the whole I don’t mind them. I appreciate that finding new clients is an important part of running a business, and cold emailing is one way to achieve that.

I don’t feel I owe cold emails a response

If I am not interested in, or don’t need the services of a company I generally ignore their cold emails. I didn’t ask them to contact me, so I don’t feel I owe them a response. Plus, they will send out dozens, if not hundreds of emails a week to businesses like mine, and will expect most to go unanswered.

Indeed, according to Backlinko study, bulk cold emails sent from the same email address actually improves reply rates by 93%. So the chances are, you haven’t been especially chosen for this communication.

Even if I was inclined to answer a cold email, the reality is that I don’t have time. I receive well over 100 emails a day, so to take a few minutes to respond to an uninvited business pitch just isn’t realistic.

One common cold email phrase is offensive and presumptuous

Some people cease emailing after one or two attempts to get a response. But others have a well-honed sequence of email templates that can last several weeks.

While persistent enquiries can get irritating after a time, there is one tactic that I find so offensive and presumptuous that, even if I was interested in a company’s services, I would never use them. This tactic is the use of a cold email phrase that goes something like this:

“At this point, I’d assume that getting more clients via your socials isn’t a priority this year.”

This is an exact quote from an email I received today, but I have had many more variants on this which all make the same gross and incorrect assumption:

Because I haven’t replied to your cold sales pitch, I don’t care about growing my business or making money.

How arrogant to assume that they alone hold all the answers that businesses like mine need. Actually, I do care about those things, but it may be that, right now, it’s not something I am looking for help with. Or, more likely, their templated emails have failed to impress me and, as a result, I am not interested in working with them on this.

Avoid using this phrase in your cold emails at all cost

As a copywriter, I fail to understand how anyone can think this presumptuous line could ever work. Or that it does their professional reputation or brand any good.

So if you’re currently using this line in your cold outreach emails – or any emails – I suggest you rethink it. The chances are it could be losing you far more potential business and goodwill than it may win you.

I tried a version of this approach once – and it failed spectacularly

While I haven’t used this exact line before, I have tried a version of this approach – and regretted it. Many years ago, someone shared a launch email sequence from a well-known writer in the USA who worked for some of the top coaches.

I was curious about this approach, so decided to try it for our next launch. It felt very different from my usual stye of writing, but I thought I had nothing to lose by trying it. However I was very wrong!

The first email in this sequence started out with an apology. It went something like this: “I am sorry you aren’t successful yet”. The rationale behind the emails, the famous copywriter explained, was to remind people of all they were failing at, and their lack of action to date. You had to ‘hold their feet to the fire’. The underlying intention, I felt, was to shame people into talking action.

This was very different to our usual approach which was, yes, to let people know about the cost of inactivity, but to support and encourage positive action with no undertone of shame. And to understand if this wasn’t right for them right now.

You can imagine how people felt receiving these new style emails. Quite a few replied to let me know their business was a success, thank you, or even to ask if our email account had been hacked! Several people let me know they’d be unsubscribing as they didn’t appreciate the tone, and I don’t blame them.

Unsurprisingly this launch was a complete failure – we had our worst results ever. And we reverted back to our usual style of emails after that. (With profuse apologies to everyone who contacted us.)

Think about how your emails will be received

The lesson here, is to think about how your emails will be received. Would you like to receive the message you are writing? Could it be taken badly, or even misinterpreted?

If you are going to intrude into someone’s inbox, whether you are invited via them opting into your mailing list or are cold contacting them, make sure that you are respectful. And never presume you know the position they may be in or their intentions. It’s a lesson I learned the hard way, and a mistake I don’t want to repeat!