Scott is a master at business development and one his most effective tools is cold email. Learn the dos and don’t of this powerful weapon to grow your own business.
→ Learn the dos and don’t of this power to grow your own business
→ What’s the big definition of a cold email as opposed to a warm email
→ Why is cold email an important strategy
→ How does he go out and get that piece of data, the email address to start this process
→ He’s a master at business development and one of his most effective tools is cold email
→ What kind of declarations should not putting those emails
→ And a whole lot more
Bronson: Welcome to another episode of Growth Hacker TV. I’m Bronson Taylor and today I have Scott Brinton with us. Scott, thanks for coming on the program.
Scott: Thanks for having me. And I’m fired up to be here.
Bronson: Yeah, we’re we’re fired up to have you for one of the reasons you were a part of $100 million exit a couple of years ago. So obviously, you have something to share. You were part of the team at single platform. That’s a big deal. And now you actually educate people through online courses. And the website where people can find your courses is lifelong learner tor.com and that’s life dash long learner econ. And what I want to do today is I just want to dig into one of the courses. The actual course, I think it’s about 6 hours long. So we’re just going to kind of scrape the surface and wet their appetite a little bit and still give them a good value. And if they want more, they can go to the source and, you know, get the whole course. But the course I picked out that I want to dove into is called cold emailing for startups. Sounds good to you.
Scott: It sounds great, man. That’s one of my favorite ones.
Bronson: As I looked at the course, I was like, I like that one. I’m a cold email guy myself. I know the value in it, so. But let’s start, brah. Let’s not dig into inside baseball yet. Sure. What’s the big definition of a cold email as opposed to a warm email?
Scott: Sure. So cold emails are very simple. You’re sending an email to somebody that you’ve never made a connection with before. So you might have heard about this person. You might have seen them on another website, but you’ve never had a dialog or interaction with that person prior.
Bronson: Gotcha. So, I mean, it’s pretty straightforward. You don’t know them. It’s cold. Now, why is cold email an important strategy? Why does this idea even matter? Because at first it’s like, all right, if I’ve never met them and I’m sending them an email, it can’t be that important. Right?
Scott: Well, here’s the thing, man. When you can write great cold emails, you’re literally one click away from anyone in the world. And you think about all the people out there, whether it’s specific individuals, companies, investors that can push you forward. Odds are that you don’t know all of them. So having the ability to connect with anyone through an email and start that dialog and potentially work out some type of relationship or connection that’s going to push you forward is an insanely valuable skill. So that’s why.
Bronson: I thought.
Scott: I find so much value in it. I mean, it’s it’s literally a superpower.
Bronson: Yeah, it sounds like a superpower because, you know, you think about the connections we have, the warm connections, and, you know, they’re very finite. I mean, hundreds, maybe thousands, but it’s not tens of thousands. But you think about the emails in the world. It’s anyone I mean, anyone who’s ever had an email address, they’re in a little black book now and you can reach out to them if you know how to. And that’s what I want to hopefully educate people with today, is knowing their email address and knowing what to do with it are two different things. And so we’ll dig into some of those details. First, though, give me an example. You were a part of some big exits. You’re a part of startups now. What’s an example where cold email has been a game changer for you? You did a cold email and it mattered. It made something different in your own business.
Scott: So I’ll give you three examples. So first first, my launch into startups and entrepreneurship started with a cold email. I was I was working for a sports agency that represented pro baseball players right out of college. Thought I wanted to be Jerry Maguire. Read the four hour workweek decided I want to be an entrepreneur and I was reading New York Times one day and some kid I went to college with who quite frankly, I wasn’t the biggest fan of before we actually developed a relationship. I saw that raise a million bucks from Peter Thiel and I was like, This is my shot. I have some type of relationship connection to this guy. I’m going to send him a cold email and I found this email on the media kit. We never really spoke before. I just knew who he was, and that resulted in me getting my first job at a startup and ultimately launching me down this path of entrepreneurship. So the whole reason that I’m doing this and probably not playing Excel like a keyboard is because of a cold email.
Bronson: That’s all right. Number two.
Scott: Yeah. And I guess like more in the lines of the actual business, business world and my career at Single Platform, which you talked about a little bit, had an awesome $100 million exit. One of my favorite deals that came through a cold email well was the company TomTom. So TomTom is a data provider that powers the nav systems and cars data behind the iPhone. So like iPhone maps, they have their own apps and different tools that they use where people are using local business data. And one of the things that I did at that company was build data relationships, where all of these different sources where people are finding information to whether it’s Yelp or Foursquare or Google Place or whatever it is, we were we were powering that. And that was the product that we sold to. Local businesses was. We’re going to give you one place to enter in all the information about your restaurants, boss, lunch, the menu, the address, the phone number, the pictures, whatever it is, and allow you to change that dynamically. And one of my favorite deals was from a cold email was TomTom. And so that that started off through a cold email. I ended up having to fly out to Amsterdam where the company is located, using another tactic that we might be able to dove into later. That was pretty awesome and ended up getting a major deal that put us, you know, from everywhere or from iPhones to cars just off of one email. So it just kind of just goes to show you the power that this has. And then in my own business today, which is educating people on a variety of subjects, they have allowed me to achieve progress in my life that I’m passionate about. One of the places that I host my courses is. You to me in addition to my own sites and applications or own membership sites that created and after I launch, after I launched one of my more recent products on there, and I think I got 3000, 2000 people signed up within the first two days. I sent I sent a cold email over to you, somebody on the Udemy marketing team that, hey, just want to let you know that I just launched this course. It seems like it’s doing really well. I might be a good fit to be featured, you know, within 24 hours the course is on the Give Me homepage, and I got to. Spike in track ethic and sales from that email. So these are just a few examples of how cold emailing has changed my life and hopefully kind of demonstrates how I can push you forward in a variety of ways.
Bronson: Now those are awesome examples. And just think, I mean that literally from I don’t know you, I’m going to send you an email and those kind of doors have opened up. Do you think it’s fair to say that if you’re in business development, that cold emailing should be one of your or maybe the primary tool that you use?
Scott: I think for somebody who hasn’t, somebody who’s new to the industry, even like even like 5 to 10 years, 5 to 10 years in cold emailing is going to be a huge part of it. It’s going to be absolutely critical because, again, odds are you don’t have every connection in the industry. In an ideal world, you have a huge Rolodex of a target you can call on and you never have to cold email or cold call somebody. But for most people, that’s that reality. It just doesn’t exist. And you’re going to have to go out there and knock on doors. And how I like to think about cold emails is you want to use the communication mechanism that this the person that you’re trying to get in touch with is comfortable with. And for most people, at most executives, people at larger companies, people at other tech companies, they operate on email, holding cold, calling their cell phone is probably not a good idea. So, you know, you want to calibrate it with your prospects and typically that is email. So I completely agree it’s a vital skill to have in business development and honestly, in the same goes for for marketers as well. And CEOs, I mean, some of them some of the biggest traffic spikes I’ve gotten on my site is called emailing owners of other sites to re syndicate my content. And if I didn’t know how to do that effectively, I wouldn’t be the traffic would grow, my email list wouldn’t do all those important things that marketers are trying to do.
Bronson: All right. So now that we know the importance of cold emailing, kind of the first question that comes to my mind is how do you select the right person in an organization to email? Because it seems like I go for the CEO because he’s a decision maker. I go for the low guy on the totem pole because maybe I can get through. Is it somewhere in the middle? What’s the psychology? What’s the reasoning of who do you actually contact when you decided to call or email somebody?
Scott: Sure. So I always like to try to go for the decision maker, the person who I think is particularly who’s who’s going to make the decision around whatever I’m trying to get them in touch with and and has that power. A lot of times people go below that person and it just it just is going to cost you extra steps. And it may it might just be you might get pushed down, but you should give yourself a chance of making the deal process, the relationship building process, whatever it is, as efficient as possible by going directly to the decision maker. So it depends upon the size of the company for start ups of like 1 to 10 people, it might make sense to go or even 20 people might make sense to go directly to the CEO and refer you when you start talking about larger corporations of like 100 to 1000, even bigger than that. Good to see you. I was probably getting 500 meals a day and getting there. Time is going to be more difficult and they might not even know the exact person for you to talk to. So at that point, you want to kind of get more granular.
Bronson: Yeah, you know, it makes a lot of sense. Is it smart to send the same emailed to multiple people? Well, let’s say, you know, everyone on that team in that part of the organization do is blast them all. And they oh, there’s ten people on the team. One of them’s going to get it and bring it up in their meeting or that, you know, not wise for some reason. How do you see that idea?
Scott: Sure. So I personally like to try to stay away from that. My goal when I email you is for you for it to seem like that. I know exactly who you are. I’ve done my homework. I’ve come up with a pitch that is or a talking point that is just what you want to hear. And I think that carpet bombing ten people, why they get their attention is not necessarily the best way to begin a relationship. So I try to avoid that. That’s not to say that can’t be an effective strategy when I don’t get a response from somebody or I can’t figure out who the decision maker is. There is a tactic that my friend Brian taught me from break through email, where you do email for different people who are like the library decision maker and try to determine which which would be the right person to talk to is how or I still think that. But again, these people are all talking. You’re flooding all of their inboxes. It’s best if you can isolate that person and reach them directly.
Bronson: Yeah, now makes sense. All right. So we know cold emailing is important. We. Now know the kind of person we should be finding. We know we should be finding one person, not multiple people. But now the next big question is you don’t have the email address, right? I mean, you’re going to want to get in touch with them all day long, but they have not emailed you their address. And so obviously, if it’s on the website, great, that’s an easy place to go get it. But tell me some of the tools of the trade when you’re at this point, how do you actually go out and get that piece of data, the email address to start this process?
Scott: Sure I’ll be able to talk about that. I also think it would be really cool to tell your audience just a few strategies to actually find who that decision maker is. Yeah, the first in the first place. Yeah. Because a lot of times, you know, there’s eight marketing directors. Mm hmm. Which one is give you the right person to talk to? I have no idea when the company has a thousand people. So the number one ways that I try to do that are using, like, a lot of the the most basic way is basically sometimes people drive very granular descriptions of what they’re actually responsible for or in a profile of their LinkedIn. So that’s a marketing director and then says so social media campaigns, SEO, whatever it is they do. Another place on a LinkedIn profile a lot of people don’t utilize is the Skills and Expertize section. So if you go down to the bottom of the profile, it’s basically shows what they’ve been endorsed for and. The odds are if somebody is in marketing, which is a lot of who a lot of like business development B sales people are trying to get in touch with. You don’t have like 15 endorsements on CEO, three on social media through an email marketing and like one or on PPC or something. Odds are, this person manages the SEO. Mm hmm. When you’re on LinkedIn, you want to make sure to also be seeing real mutual connections with to anybody at that company, and then email that person if they’re a good relationship and just ask them, Hey, it looks like you’re connected to somebody at this company. Have you done work with them in the past? Any chance you might know who good person or who the right person to talk to at X, Y, Z about is? Mm hmm. So use your data, use your network as recon. And, you know, a lot of a lot of times what I’ll do is I’ll just do an informational cold call. Mm hmm. So dirt people. People make a lot of mistakes with cold call. They don’t. They make the call without identifying the goal of the call. And at this point in the game, the goals. Find out who the decision maker is. So calling the number on a corporate website, which is usually available and just saying, let’s say you’re trying to get in touch with whoever manages social media saying, hey, I was hoping you might be able to help me out. Do you have any idea who manages social media initiatives at X, Y, Z Company? And they’ll just give you their name and like, that’s all you want. Because once you have their name, there’s a 99.9% chance you can find an email address. And again, we want to approach via email. So those are just a few of my favorite strategies to find out who that particular person is. I have a really long post written about that. Also, my course that you talked a little bit about, we go for a lot of different other ones you can use, but I find myself using those a lot.
Bronson: Yeah. And so where some of the tools actually find the email address now. I know you’ve listed a few of them that you go through in the course there.
Scott: Yeah. So my, my favorite manage report is on imported. It’s absolutely amazing. And I am. I’ve been on pins and needles since they’ve gotten bought in by LinkedIn, but they.
Bronson: Don’t want to stop, right?
Scott: Yeah. Yeah. I’m just like, don’t ever stop. They’re like, this is just as valuable as my LinkedIn. This is very it’s a very simple Gmail plugin that allows you to populates the social profile data available for a particular email address if it’s public on the right hand side of your email address. And basically, you can use this to populate to enter in popular emails in taxes. So like first dot last name at the company URL dot com. And in many instances it will show the social data only when you’ve get the right email address. Yeah, right. And this is a super valuable tactic. And what I why I like reporting so much is in addition to getting the actual email address, you also now have the ability to like see their Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn. All right there. So you can quickly gloss and hover over that and see what they were most recently talking about and tweeting about. And this kind of gives you maybe a touch point of connection that you bring up in the cold email or even when you actually get this person on the phone. Yeah. Another amazing tool is at email tester dot com. Mel Tester dot com is basically just a tool that looks like was built in 1991 that you type in you guess emails and taxes and it actually pings the server and sees that email address exists on that particular site. So again, first initial last name, just first name, first name, last name at whatever company dot com. All great things. There’s a couple of popular sites out there like data dot com or jigsaw dot com. That is a crowdsourced directory of contact information. And you can either pay or give out email addresses of other people to then search company directories. I recommend that when you use this, you always double check that email address that you get from there, any reporter or mail tester, because a lot of times people just populate false email addresses. Mm hmm. And one of my favorite newer ways I’ve learned to find email address is this tool called snapper dot org.
Bronson: Yeah, I haven’t heard this one yet. So. And this.
Scott: And this is great for trying to connect with people that use Twitter. So a lot of times you’ll see dialogs on Twitter where people will say, hey, I want to shoot you an email about something. And that person replies like, Oh, get back to me at X, Y, Z, spelled out. At 80 gmail.com or company name dot com. And what you can do is as snap bird searches it you can search the tweet history of anybody so you type in that person’s handle. You’re trying to get in touch with what you can find by Googling their name and then you type in the words gmail.com or company name dot com. And a lot of times you’ll be able to identify those specific instances where people were giving out their email address over their Twitter.
Bronson: And then you put that reported, make sure it’s legit and there you go, Patrick, hold him. Are ready to happen.
Scott: That’s it. And and I’ve I tell you, I’ve found the personal email addresses of some absolute business studs that were like that I would have never guessed that were so unique. Like their name four or five, seven, eight, 612 star at gmail.com using the strategy. And it’s resulted in meetings of people that I really look up to. So that’s a really, really cool strategy, especially for the hard to reach.
Bronson: Yeah. Now one question that comes to mind is what about LinkedIn messaging? Because I’ve heard, you know, different things on it. Do you think it’s a good idea to use their platform to send cold emails or should it be used for something different?
Scott: So I’m not going to say that it doesn’t work because it can work. But what I believe is that when you look at your LinkedIn messages recently, are they from your friends? Are they from the people that you know and they trust or are they from recruiters, people trying to sell you stuff, random people asking for your time that you don’t know.
Bronson: I gotcha. I see it.
Scott: I find I find most of the people that email me on LinkedIn are the latter. Now, compare that with email. That’s where my buddies are emailing me, my business contacts, my colleagues. So if possible, I want to put myself in that other bucket. And so I will always go and try to reach out somebody on email over a LinkedIn message. As I’m in absolute desperation, I will send somebody an email and like a LinkedIn message to try to connect to them. And it has worked for me. But again, I think it’s always best to approach start the relationship off at the absolute best point possible, which I believe is done a very.
Bronson: Much yeah, that’s great. So we know we should called email we know who to cold email we know where to cold email them at. But now the really big question, what are we called email? What’s in the actual email itself? Because this is when the art comes into it, everything up until now is kind of science like, here’s how you get the email address, here’s how did you find the decision maker? But now this is where we get into the form of art of crafting a great email. Is there a certain mindset you go into it with at a high level?
Scott: Absolutely. I take the copywriters mindset, and I think that one thing that has made me successful in giving me a little bit advantage among other people in sales and biz dev is a lot of people don’t study copywriting and they don’t understand that the goal of the subject line is to get somebody to open the email and the goal, the first sentence is to get somebody to read the second sentence goal. The second sentence is to get somebody read the third sense, right? And so you have to take this mindset of it’s a very the writing process is, you know, you give yourself a chance. You have to get them to read the email and then to read the email, you have to write in such a way that is going to effectively not only grab their attention, but communicate something that’s compelling enough for them to respond.
Bronson: Yeah, you know, I had that same mindset myself. When it comes to email. I think about it as a copywriting task. Even when I’m writing internal emails to employees or coworkers, I think like a copywriter because that’s what gets read and that’s what it gets remembered and acted upon. And so I think it’s just good for communication, period. Know how to be a copywriter?
Scott: Absolutely. I think it’s a it’s the biggest strategic advantage. Anybody who once again in the biz dev or sales can do because nobody else is doing it. Yeah, nobody else is reading books like breakthrough advertising, testing copy. Yeah. I will say you want to be careful. You always want to calibrate. There’s a lot of people that are quote unquote copywriters out there and they’re like too salesy and ridiculous and you feel like it’s slimy. You don’t want to be like that, but you do want to make sure you grab some media attention. Yeah. And I think the best way to do that is indicating early and often how you can provide value.
Bronson: Yeah. And that’s how you build a business seriously is just provide value, tell them that and then actually do it. No, you’re right. Those different camps of copywriters and different camps work for different kinds of products, different kinds of people. And so you really got to know, be empathetic with your audience. Absolutely. All right. So firm address. What’s a good form address? Should I send something from info of my company? Should it be my name and my company? Should it be my name at Gmail? Make it super low key, impersonal. What’s a good firm address to make them more likely to open it?
Scott: Company email address always. Whether that’s your first name or your first name, last name, their company email address, I don’t really think it matters. The syntax. Like I don’t think somebody goes, Oh, they have a big first and last name email address, must be a huge company. I don’t think that really makes that much of a difference. But you do want to include add company email address and just look at your own behavior, right? When somebody emails you from their company address, you’re not familiar with that company. What do you do? You go to the company website. Yeah, right. So you want to make it as easy as possible for that person to find information about you, which is why you email from your company email address.
Bronson: All right. What about the subject? Because like you just said, the subject, the only thing it has to do is get them to open it. It’s not a description of everything that’s going to be in the email. It’s not like the most important thing necessarily in the email. It’s something that’s going to open it. What makes people open something? What kinds of subject lines actually work?
Scott: Yeah, so I the way that I think about the mindset and other minds that I have about email, especially when I’m approaching people that are important and influential and busy, is that I am fighting for their inbox attention and every minute that I make somebody try to guess why I’m emailing them or what my emails about is an opportunity for me to use them. So I like to balance between being incredibly direct about why I am emailing them and also very compelling. So. Uh, why don’t you give me an example of a tour solution of somebody of why you why you might want to reach out, and I could come up with the subject line on the fly.
Bronson: All right. Growth, Agro TV. I want to email somebody to to come on the show and be a guest.
Scott: Okay. So how many are if you feel comfortable, how many people does growth occur to reach a month?
Bronson: Thousands. So.
Scott: I would I would literally write the email being like, Can we feature you in front of thousands of Grove hackers?
Bronson: Okay. Because then they know they’re going to be featured and they know it’s about something there and they know it’s a big enough number to matter to them to at least read the email. Is that the idea?
Scott: Right. So I just got to I just got a great email from this guy who wants to re syndicate one of my courses on the largest mail site in Australia. And he said the one the course specifically is sleep hacking and the email title was Sleep Hacking for 3.5 million Aussies.
Bronson: Of course you’re going to open that academy. I’m going to open it. Yeah.
Scott: I’m going to open that. So, I mean, those are the type of those are the type of subject lines that are amazing. And if you want a real quick talk about subject lines that are bad.
Scott: Boy. So one that I see a lot is presuming somebody somebody’s time. So something like coffee meeting or.
Scott: Like Skype call next week.
Bronson: It’s going away, right?
Scott: It’s like, dude, I don’t even know you, and you’re just assuming I’m going to give you my time. Like, you have to earn that. So never, never presume that somebody is going to give you their time. Those are bad ones. Ones that are in descriptive that don’t tell me like exactly what you’re reaching out about. So something maybe like. Boy. I don’t even know. Hey. Or. Solution for your business. Okay. Like, what’s. Like, tell me what. What type of like.
Bronson: Give me something you can.
Scott: You’re going to make me open this. Don’t. Don’t make it incredibly generic. You want to make it specific? You want somebody know exactly why. Remind them, you know.
Bronson: Like if you just do, like, kind of reverse psychology, like, think about the emails, like you said before, that you actually open it. But now when you go to open, think why? Why did I just open this one? If you just pause in your own email more often, you’ll start learning. All these things are actually hard to put into words that, you know, matter, you know, like the from address, like the subject line, all these little things. And if you just start reverse engineering your own actions, I think people are going to figure out there’s a certain kind of email that always gets opened and there’s other kinds and never will.
Scott: Yeah, exactly.
Bronson: Yeah, that’s good. So in the body itself, how long should email be? I’m not trying to write War and peace and cover everything that I have in my mind. Is it trying to be one sentence and just be like, I respect you so much. Here’s a sentence. Oh, what do you think?
Scott: Honestly, I am from no more than $0.04 for sentences. For sentences or less. I’ve seen ones that are one sentence incredibly flexible. What happens is, is when somebody opens their email that they don’t from somebody they don’t know. And it’s a Bill Shakespeare novel. Novel. And you’re emailing from any other company then Google.com like. I just won’t read it because I’m busy. I don’t know you. Life is already in a great place without before you reached out, so I’m pretty sure life will go on if I don’t respond to this email. So you don’t want you want to give off the vibe that you’re going to make somebody do a lot of work. Right. To read threat. And so I’d say that people might not. But, you know, the I think that a lot of where a lot of people fail is they think that the body of the email has the other whole story. And like what? And like all the features of the product, all these things or the goal of the email is just to start a dialog. And once you start a dialog, people are more likely to feel honest, to respond to you, and to continue that dialog. So make it super, super short, simple and easy for somebody to get back to you. And then you can eventually work in your grand master product strategy plan, whatever it is that’s going to help this person and help you.
Bronson: Yeah. So like before you said, don’t presume there time. Don’t just say, hey, let’s get coffee because that’s presuming they would do that and they have the time to do that and they want to do that. But you are saying the goal is to get a dialog going. So does that mean that your goal in those four sentence is to maybe ask an open ended question that they can respond to? Is it is it to get them to sign up for something small? Like what is the tangible, specific goal they’re usually trying to do? Just get them to reply with anything at all.
Scott: It depends. It depends what the product is. It depends what my goal is. When I was doing outbound emails for the last company and it was dev for a single platform, my goal was to get a meeting with them and a lot, and that would be a phone call with a screenwriter. So I would ask like, Do you have any time to connect next week? Do you have any time to meet next week for a Skype call? That was my goal. Now, there’s other times where I’ve and yet and there’s no one size fits all, you have to you have to try different things and see what’s your market. But I was just consulting with a friend. We trying to reach local businesses. And the question that I had that the strategy that we came up with that we found effective is building a chain of yeses. So it’s the first question is, hey, I’m the email is something like, hey, we’re working with some of the top physical therapy firms in the area to test out this new product. Are you guys currently at capacity? And of course, the Nordic capacity, no local business is ever at capacity. And then they’re going to respond like, oh, no, we’re actually not at capacity. We actually still have room. Great. Like we want to see if you guys were a good fit for our particular product. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions to see if you’re eligible for and then like. Yes. And now all of a sudden, like I’m six emails in with this person and they’re going to respond to whatever I say. And then that that that has actually been a much more effective strategy than asking somebody for a meeting right off the bat that isn’t tech savvy, that doesn’t get the screen share, that isn’t used to doing Skype calls with stranger like you have to you have to try to calibrate what’s intriguing to your audience. There are there are sophistication in terms of technology and the type of calls these get and also how many inbounds they’re getting. Yeah, right. So, you know, I might have to I might have to reverse engineer, I might have to approach somebody differently. That is, getting 50 people reaching out them today. That’s getting in five.
Bronson: Yeah. And you said something really important there that I want to keep an eye on for people. You said if I’m six emails in with them, they’re going to respond to whatever I say. I don’t think people realize that sometimes they think that it has to all happen in the first email or two. It’s okay if you have a bunch of emails back and forth that are sentences long, and that’s actually good sometimes because that’s like they’re on the hook and they’re going to ignore you after six little quick sentences back and forth. Now your text messaging each other like little, you know, girls were in middle school. Like now the dialog is flowing, right.
Scott: Exactly. Exactly that. That is that’s it. And people feel like a subconscious just desire to be consistent with their previous behavior of responding to you. That’s going to that’s going to make them respond. Yeah. And you you can use that to your advantage.
Bronson: That’s great. Now, one thing you see is try to avoid making declarations. What kind of declarations should we not putting those emails?
Scott: Oh, man, I love this so much. So. Once upon a time, a call to Guru. Email, email guru. Guru told me that your first ten should always be like telling somebody who you are and what you’re all about. And typically that reads High Prospect Name. My name is Scott Britton from lifelong learning dot com we’ve so we taught over 15,000 different students with our online courses and in featured in particular special publication things like News.com Australia whatever it is like nobody cares who you are, they care about how you can help them and, and, and that is what’s interesting to them. So when I say share the declaration, like anybody who is relatively sophisticated, if you link to your company in your email signature or any articles and you email from your company address and give a very brief description or on what you do or how you can help, this person is going to be able to figure it out, right? So that’s a huge waste of a sentence to me. And quite frankly, it’s a turn off first.
Bronson: It may be a no go after that.
Scott: Yeah. I mean, I think about like I think about how I interact with strangers at a bar. If somebody came up to me, he came up to me and was like, Hey, my name is this and this is how cool I am and this is all how I’ve accomplished and all these things. That was the first thing they said to me. I’d be like, Dude, your tool. But if somebody came up to me like, Hey, I noticed that. I noticed that you have like these really cool Nike’s on and my friend actually works for Nike and get everybody a discount who I referred to like, would you be interested? I’m also like, I don’t know who this guy is, but I want to talk to him.
Bronson: He made the conversation about you.
Scott: Yeah. You make it about the person you get about there. You make it about how you can help them and make their lives better, because that’s really what’s interesting to everybody. Well, unfortunately, we’re all ego driven beings, like and raw, raw out there to try to improve our own businesses. So you want to make it about how you can help them in their business.
Bronson: Now, what do you think about like exclamation points, smiley faces? Because I mean, I use those a lot, so I don’t know if you agree with that or not, but I put them in all the time, even when they don’t seem relevant. I don’t know why this feels like it works for me. I mean, you may totally disagree. I don’t know. What do you think?
Scott: No. No. So I think, again, it’s calibrating, right? So I’m. So if I’m talking to a guy who or somebody that I can just tell is like on and young, maybe they work at like a small tech company and they get it. I’m all for that because realistically most people are bored as all hell at their jobs. So any any time that you can inject delight into an email, you’re going to be more effective. Right. But if I’m e-mailing a 65 year old DP at a Fortune 500 company, I’m probably going to avoid the exclamation points and smiley faces until I know that that person would appreciate that type of dialog.
Scott: So I think, again, it’s all about calibrating with your target. And the other way to do that, at least in the initial cold email, is to do some homework, do some due diligence. Go check a person on LinkedIn. See if their profile says they like anything funny. See? Go on, go on their Twitter. Go on their Facebook. What is their personality seem like online? And then calibrate with that. And then once once I have started the email relationship, I am like and I get a sense that people like that kind of stuff. I mean, I’m full bore on making these emails as fun as possible. I’m attaching weird photos of me like.
Scott: I’m like taking pictures of, like the developers. And I’m like, I’m so, so happy. I don’t have to look at green code all day. Like, I’m doing like all kinds of stuff inside jokes because at that point I know that I’m in and that people are more willing to do things for people that they like. And it’s about really building the relationship and making money, making it a joy every single time they open my email.
Bronson: Yeah, no, I totally agree. Now, what do you think about the spacing in an email? In my mind, this is like a high art. Getting the spacing right to make somebody actually walk through the whole thing. So you’re working with about four sentences. Are you putting those together in a paragraph block? Are you breaking those up? One sentence per paragraph? What are you doing with those.
Scott: Most, most sentences next to each other at a time is to I want to, because it’s about it’s about making it easy to read and you want to make it appear easy to read. So spacing does that. If I see a giant chunk of text, I’m probably going to skim it. I’m probably going to say that looks like a lot. But if I see like three blocks that are like one or two lines long each, then I’m like, oh, like this is nothing. So take me look. Yeah. So I say it’s fine to go like you want to have used grammar conventions, right. And make logical transitions between spaces. But I think that the max number of sentences next to each other and initial coordinates should be two. Yeah. And it’s a.
Bronson: Real learn how to think that way. Like, because think like a copywriter is different than thinking like a high school English teacher, which is where you learn to write. Like we’re not looking for four sentences, the first one opening up what it is, the next two supporting it. And then a final conclusion sentence we’re looking for like it’s short, concise, value packed. I’m going to keep reading, keep my attention and barely hear kind of sentences, right?
Bronson: Yeah, that’s good. What about the signature? How do you close it out? You know, do you want a big block of. Here’s every way to get in touch with me? You want it to be super personal. Thanks, comma. Bronson. Like what? What do you think about the signature on stuff?
Scott: Yeah. So in terms of the like, sign off address, I again try to calibrate usually I just usually I’ll just put like if I don’t know this person, the standard is like best, best Scott. Just first name. Again, try to keep it. Try not to make it too formal. The actual your you should always include an email signature and more information about you. The important elements are your name, your position at whatever particular company, a link to your website and then phone number is always good. Sometimes people like to call you right back. And I also think if you actually if you have an address, press articles, put those in there. Because when I see somebody and it’s like, you know, as featured in The New York Times. TechCrunch and the Wall Street Journal. All my slow cruises to her. What’s this company? They must be important. So those are the ones that I think you should include. And you want to calibrate with what is important to your audience like. Nobody that I’m selling to cares about my Twitter handle right here about how important my company is. But if I’m a blogger and I’m asking people to come on my podcast and I have 50,000 Twitter followers, then maybe I should include my Twitter handle because they might click on that and I can signal that I’m a big deal there. So, you know, that’s that’s how I think about it. You want to you want to tailor that’s what’s important to your audience. And you want to want to include the information that they need to that’s going to make it enticing for them to get back to you.
Bronson: Yeah. So now we work through this whole process. We hit the send button and months or days, weeks, maybe months go by. Do we email them again or is that it one shot and then you move on or do you follow up? What do you think? Your smile. I don’t know what you. I know. I thought you got a follow up.
Scott: Oh, well, I like it. So I’d say that 50%. Your response rate? 50% of the responses come after the second time email somebody. Really? Yup. And I usually aim for a window of, like, 3 to 7 days. I haven’t heard back from somebody. I’ll respond. I’ll just. Actually, the best way to respond is to reply to the original email that you sent and just say, Hey, first name. I just wanted to see if you had a chance to look at my email below regarding how we might be able to help you with X. Mm hmm. Having time to chat, actually. Two senses, right. And the reason that I do the follow up by replying to the original is because I want to make it as easy as possible for that person to have context of who I am and why I’m reaching out to them. I don’t want to make them go to desperate emails, search their inbox, choose to. Yeah, they’re not going to. And it’s going to be a pain. So, you know, make it easy reply. Make it two sentences super short and I get it. Absolutely. Awesome response rate after that.
Bronson: All right. When do you stop responding? When there’s no response? Is it five emails? Is it three? Is it seven? Like when is it just like, all right, move on. This is a waste of time.
Scott: So my workflow and this is obviously just dependent upon the particular target. But after I sent you emails, I usually like to try to try another communication mechanism. So for somebody that’s in a big office, I’ll try a cold call. I’ll try to hit them up twice to cold calls. Second one, leave a voicemail. Then I’ll do an email after the voicemail asking if they got my message. That’s like five touchpoints. But if somebody is, you know, a tech entrepreneur and they don’t have their phone on their website or maybe their blog or something, maybe I would go to Twitter and say, just ask them and say, Hey, shot. You know, what about X? You have a chance to look at the email or maybe I would try LinkedIn if they don’t have a Twitter account. So I think that after you’ve tried two different channels and maybe even done like a another email that references that other channel, then I think it’s time for you to try to go in an alternate route. And that could be a different department, a different person at company. Try to try to figure out if they’re going to be at a conference or something and meet them in person or some type of event. But after that point, you don’t want to be a net. There’s a reason that they haven’t got back to you. They’re definitely seeing you. So you need to try something else.
Bronson: Yeah. You know, it’s crazy because it seems like the insight that business people know is that persistence matters a lot and people are not in business. They think, Oh, well, I sent the email. I tried, oh, I made the phone call. I tried. They don’t realize that this is like it’s a sport and you have to go at it with intensity for a prolonged time often. And then you get the payoff and you get you win. People don’t get how the world actually works when it comes to online communication, do they?
Scott: It’s a war of attrition, like who’s going to last the longest? It’s like I’m I’m I’m going to wear people down until I get the answer that I want. And I think a big just mindset shift a lot of people have to have is listen, the reason that they didn’t respond to you isn’t necessarily because they’re not interested. It could be because they didn’t see the email got lost in your inbox. They meant to get it back to you, and they forgot about it. Mm hmm. Somebody stole their car, and they just, like, declared to you email bankruptcy. It could be a cluster of reasons. So I just always assume with conviction that that they want to hear from me. And that’s the reason they didn’t get back to me, is not because they’re not interested. I assume it’s something.
Bronson: Else and that I have.
Scott: That allows me to be incredibly persistent.
Bronson: Yeah. They want to hear from me again. And when you actually believe that you’re going to make some sales and get some connections and do some business deals, it seems like business development and cold emailing specifically. If it’s something you really master, it can be a way to be a part of startups. Kind of like your initial intro into startups. Without being a technical person. Do you think that more people should consider that as a route like or cold emailing and then maybe that’s a good route into startup culture and startups themselves?
Scott: Absolutely. So the way that the way for people to get into startups is people like there’s a lot that are non-technical. You don’t really have a ton of skills. You’re going to have to rely on a personal relationship to get a non-technical job. That’s just the way it works. And the way to build powerful personal relationships is to add value to people, to start dialogs and meet people. And if you can get a couple powerful people, don’t relations have them in your corner like you will get a job if you impress them. So you can start that process off by cold emailing them and providing value. So I think it’s an absolute amazing skill. And you know, truthfully like again, you get this skill down, you can be one one click away from anybody that you want and that could be any job that you want, any, any type of investor or whatever it is. So it’s just super high leverage. And I think that. People. If you can get really good at cold emailing and copywriting and and honestly, it really just comes down to understanding people. Then you can get you can perform at a high level in business. I mean, even if all you do is actually source the meetings. Yeah. And then let somebody else come in there and kick the door down and close.
Bronson: Yeah. You know, if I can even speak to the other side of it for a second, you know, I myself am a designer. I’m a marketer. My brother, who I work with on my projects, is an engineer. Neither of us are really busy that people like. I get it, I value it, but it’s not what I do day in and day out. But the third got our team, Mike. He is in business. And I can honestly say I would not start another company without him or someone with his skill set because what they bring to the table, until you’ve had it as a part of your company, you don’t get how valuable it is. You know, there’s a culture of we all know engineers are important, right? And you even hear quotes like, oh, the ceiling for your company is the engineering. And there’s a lot of truth to that. But you never hear people talk that way about biz dev. But the fact is, you can write code until your hands fall off. But if you don’t got builder people making connections and doing the things they do, it makes growth and, you know, just income a lot more difficult.
Scott: Absolutely. And guess what? Like I the way that I look at companies is I sell products before I build anything. Mm hmm. And so I don’t even need an engineer to start having paying customers. And I do that with my info products like we did that the last company that I was a part of, we always pre-sell. So like, if you can start doing vapor sells and selling stuff before it exists in an ethical way, which is entirely possible, you put yourself in a pretty power position and as an.
Bronson: Entrepreneur you can hire the engineers to build the thing you already sold. And now you’re actually in the number one position, sourcing out the things you needed.
Scott: Absolutely. Absolutely. And that’s you know, there’s entire companies that teach people how to do that, like the foundation, how to resell before you read a line of code. I actually don’t think they let you write it, even if you wrote code yourself. I don’t think they let you build anything. So you have pain customers.
Bronson: Yeah, well, this has been awesome. Scott, I got one last question for you here. What’s the best advice you have for any startup that’s trying to grow? Is the question always in all the interviews with.
Scott: That’s advice for any startup that’s trying to grow. I would say understand your customer, understand your market and how they communicate. So just examples like a real life example of that. Somebody was trying to penetrate local businesses like restaurants, building inbound marketing right off the get go is like not smart because these guys are worried about making sure they’re the open signs turned, the glasses are clean and that their employees are showing up to work on time. They’re not worried about finding new marketing solutions. Right. So you’re going to have to penetrate their workflow and you’re going to have to probably do it over a cold call because a lot of them are more savvy now. Now, compare that with somebody who’s selling to a marketer. These people are online all day. They’re reading different publications. They’re trying to find ways to optimize their business. Then it might make sense to try to grow your business using something like inbound marketing and creating like a thought leadership content site. But the key is, is you just have to calibrate with what your market is receptive to and their communication mechanism and where where they are hanging out. Hanging out. And that’s going to put you in the best chance to be successful.
Bronson: Yeah, that’s also advice to end on. Scott, thank you again for coming on Growth After TV.
Scott: Thanks for having me on.
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