Use automation, but don’t be a robot.

As you likely already know, I send out a ton of cold email campaigns. I know what’s effective and I know what tends to get the types of responses I desire from a variety of clients.

Sales Prospecting Cold Email

I’m also the recipient of a ton of cold email campaigns. I know what gets my attention and the type of interactions I prefer. It’s not enough to get your message into the inbox, you also need to get me interested.  Did you know, only 13% of customers actually believe a sales person can understand their needs?

If there’s one thing I hate more than the try-too-hard, overly-cute outreach campaign from the BDR who wants to be your BFF. It’s the outreach and subsequent interactions from professionals who assume that straight business has to be completely void of any personality.

The BDR who wants to be your BFF. #salesdevelopment Click To Tweet

Here’s an email that came off as trying too hard, and it went straight into my ‘don’t do this’ folder.  Now, this isn’t the worst email I’ve received.  I deleted most of them before I realized how often it was happening and that I wanted to write a post about it.  I’m all for personalization, but I see right through a message like this where you use my first name 3 times and since you didn’t have a company name you used a default ‘your firm’ and forgot to make it possessive (your firm’s).



It’s easy to get cute and fire off emails an automated manner because you have some protection from what the recipient’s response will be.  Imagine this playing out in the real world.  Let’s say I took a sample from the cheese steak guy at the mall and God forbid I don’t actually end up buying a cheesesteak.  How would you react if you took a bite then walked away and the man holding bite-sized sandwich pieces on an orange tray hollered out, “Hey, are you ignoring me?  I just ate a cheesesteak on my break and now I’m stuffed.   Can I tell you about how good it is?”


People like knowing that they are interacting with another human, so be human. In my experience, a more conversational tone and the correct amount of personal background has resulted in many more prospects being interested in having a conversation with me.  Here’s an example of my Out Of Office responder from a few weeks ago when I took a Friday off to focus on friends and family…not emails or demos.  

out of office responder

My prospects were ok with me not being available to take their calls and meetings right away and the result was a packed calendar for Monday and Tuesday after a fun filled weekend.  Can you guess the first question most of them asked during our call? (hint: How were the weddings?)  We broke the ice and proceeded to the task at hand…determining if there was a fit for our companies.

With that said, it’s important to keep all of these interactions about your prospect’s needs and recognize boundaries. We’re still going for the straight-line effect – derailing onto a conversation about your preferred airlines ranked by snack choices, or your shared respect for Kanye’s talent despite his extremely off-putting ego really isn’t relevant to either of your ultimate goals.

It’s great if a prospect really likes you, but that’s never why they should be buying from you. You want to create enough rapport to allow for a sales process where you can most effectively demonstrate the value of your product/service.  Don’t put your prospect on blast for not being that into you even though they read your groundbreaking white paper or eBook.  If you’re interested in generating more qualified leads for your business, check out our ebook.  I promise not to hound you after the download.

sales prospecting ebook linkedin leadsA final note. Being human isn’t a technique and if you try to make it one, you won’t be. Your ability to genuinely communicate with others is innate – try it.
Being human isn’t a technique and if you try to make it one, you won’t be. Click To Tweet
Oh, and if you’re one of the aforementioned sales professionals who have been, ‘trying to contact me in regards to the white paper you had forwarded in a previous message to be reviewed at my convenience’, Try this: Recognize the context, respect professional boundaries, have your goal in mind, and write a better message.

Have something to add?  Drop me a note to roddy { at } sellhack