6. The Cold Email

Most cold emails fail. However, that doesn’t mean cold emails aren’t a reasonable cold prospecting method and that we shouldn’t write cold emails.

If one person out of ten responds to our cold email, we have a halfway decent set-up for acquiring leads.

However, in order for 1 in 10 people to respond to the cold acquisition email in the first place, the email must be addressed to the right person and then specifically tailored to that customer and target audience.

The more precisely we address the needs and problems of the specific customer group and get to the heart of our concern, the higher our success rate.

However, before we can send a cold email, we firstly need one, or better a lot of, email addresses.

Finding an Email Address

The first step is to find the email addresses of our decision makers. The slowest and accordingly most expensive way to get the email addresses of specific decision makers is to find them out manually on your own. At the same time, this way has the highest quality and actuality.

To find email addresses, we can use the following methods.

On the Website and via Google

Almost obvious but rarely used. On the company’s website, more often than you think, you can find the email addresses of the appropriate decision maker.

Every so often, there is even a dedicated page there with an overview of all contacts in the company. On the “About Us” page, you can sometimes find the contact details of the most important executives. Press releases or blog articles also frequently list contact persons and their contact details.

Press releases are also often published via other platforms on the Internet, which can be found via a Google search:

  • Press Release Company
  • press release first name last name
  • Email First Name Last Name Company

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Call and Ask

Another way to very reliably get the correct email address of a certain decision maker is, ironically, to call and ask.

You simply call the company’s headquarters and ask for the correct email address:

Hello, Ms. Clark! My name is Marius Schober from the company XYZ.
I bet you can help me. The best way to reach Mr. Meyer is by phone or e-mail?

Mr. Meyer is always on the road a lot (laugh), the best way is to write him an e-mail.

Pity, I almost thought so (laugh). Can you please give me his email address? I’ll then get in touch with him directly by mail.

Clearly, his e-mail address is hg.meyer@xyz.com

Super, thank you, Mrs. Clark!

It may happen that the receptionist does not want to give out the e-mail address, but insists that you e-mail her, which she in turn forwards to the person.

To this, you can reply:

Mrs. Clark, I understand that you don’t like to give out the e-mail to complete strangers. Now, the fact is that the topic is very personal (/confidential), which is why I am really very reluctant to send it to a general e-mail address or to a person unknown to me.

As a rule, this is a reliable and quick way to get the e-mail address of the relevant decision-maker.

Critical here is also the right tonality, which we also use in the cold call. We need to make an enthusiastic, lightning-quick impression on the switchboard in the first few seconds. That way, the person knows they can give us the email address with a clear conscience.


LinkedIn is another way to track down the email address.

If a person has made their profile public, we often find his business email address on the profile without being connected to him on LinkedIn.

If one is connected, the e-mail address is usually visible in the profile. On LinkedIn, you can find it directly under the name under the “Contact info” tab.


Of course, you can also try the most common email formats, hoping that one of the combinations will work.

The most common ones are:

  • firstname.lastname@company.com
  • f.lastname@company.com
  • flastname@company.com
  • lastname@company.com
  • firstname@company.com (Popular with startups)
  • lastname.firstname@company.com
  • lastnamef@company.com

If you already know the e-mail address of another person in the company, you can transfer the e-mail format of this e-mail address to the contact person.

Other Ways

Other ways to get email addresses are:

  • Buying lists from specialized vendors
  • Web scraping tools such as browser extensions, scripts, etc.
  • Outsourced lead generation, e.g., via a freelancer who collects email addresses manually based on your criteria.

The Email Subject

Let’s say we have now figured out the email address and created a lead list in our CRM tool.

The most important thing to get our email opened in the first place is the email subject!

Based on the subject, people decide whether to open the email at all, ignore it, or delete it directly.

My personal approach is to make the email subject as specific as possible, for example:

  • Success with [TOPIC]
  • [TOPIC]

You can also experiment with question marks, for example:

  • Project [TOPIC]?
  • Contact person for [TOPIC]?

However, since I haven’t collected statistically significant data, I can’t make an explicit recommendation as to which subject works most reliably.

However, my method is to be honest and get to the point.

Because from my experience, if I receive a cold call email with a misleading or lying subject line, I may very well open the email, but as soon as I realize I’ve been fooled, the person and company is down with me. I will certainly never buy anything from that person or do business with that company.

Well-known examples are:

  • “Re: Topic “, where the Re: is meant to imply that it is a reply to a previous email we sent, which it is not.
  • “Bad News” or “I’m disappointed”
    and other bogus email scams.

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The Cold Email

Once we’ve formulated a snappy subject line so that our email gets opened, we obviously want our email to actually be read, and we want a response to it.

Not every email that is opened is actually read, let alone responded to.

To this end, my biggest learning from the past few years is:

Shorter > Longer.

The email needs to be as relevant as possible in as few words as possible.

In short, the email must get to the point. A short email, which gets to the point, respects the recipient’s time and is “smartphone friendly”.

I used to write countless emails that were very specific about the person, the company, and the company’s products. In long sentences, I introduced my company and the product. I ended up sending a really damn good and personal, but way too long email.

The emails were relevant to the max, but usually far too long and not really effective as a result.

To really get someone to read AND respond to your email, keep the email as short as possible and get to the point right away.

A short email, which gets to the point, is also smartphone-friendly. Short emails can already be read at a glance – ideally already in the preview on the smartphone, convey the relevance of the email and lead to a quick response thanks to a clear call-to-action.

For example:

Subject: Contact person for [TOPIC]?
_Dear Mr. Meyer,
_As a German technology company, we specialize in [TOPIC].
_With our software, we help companies to [BIG ADVANTAGE].
_Does that sound interesting?

_If you are the right person for this, what does your calendar look like? If not, who do you think would be the best person for me to talk to?


After writing a cold call email, it can help tremendously to read the email aloud once. Is the email understandable and to the point? Is there a clear “call-to-action”? Reading your email out loud is the quickest way to see what’s wrong.

The Email Signature

There are two approaches to the email signature: A large signature with images, links, icons and more or an email signature consisting purely of text.

The HTML email signature offers the chance to link to external content, such as a blog article. Adding a personal image to the signature is also exciting from a psychological perspective. Icons and links to social media profiles or links to videos, webinars, events, etc. can also be included. Many salespeople swear by such an extensive signature.

It’s just that today we live in a world where email software (especially Outlook and Gmail) as well as enterprise-wide, anti-spam and anti-phishing software remove all links and images from emails and mark them with a big, bold, red “WARNING” or “CAUTION” if suspicious. The bigger the company, the more likely your email will be flagged this way.

So in these cases, you can score with plain text emails, no HTML, no links, and no images. Plain text emails are very likely to get through the email filter without big red warnings.

I use a minimalist HTML email signature with no code and no images, but with a few select links – for example, to one or two selected blog articles, a Calendly link, and a video if applicable.

Sample Emails

If you search online for cold email templates, you will find hundreds of different templates, all of which are per se not bad. You can use template you find online and experiment with them.

The important thing is that you customize each email template and cater them to the individual and the company. For example, in the template you find below, you should describe how your company can specifically help the prospect, as well as mention a major benefit specific to that contact.

The people you are targeting receive dozens or hundreds of these emails every day, and you need to stand out from the noise by getting to the heart of the added value for that person.

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Cold Email Template

Subject: Topic.
Dear Mr. [SURNAME],

As a German software company, we specialize in [XYZ].

We help companies to [WHERE WE HELP].

I am confident that our software can help your company [A BIG ADVANTAGE].

Does that sound interesting?

When is it convenient for you next week for a 20-minute meeting where I can introduce our solution and address your specific needs and questions?

Yours sincerely,


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