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Mom always taught us not to talk to strangers, but in today’s digital age that policy seems to be fading, and fast. Cold outreach has become rampant on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, it’s even flooding our inboxes these days!

Reaching Out to Cold Leads: The Wrong Way

We’ve all gotten unsolicited messages though Facebook or LinkedIn and it’s almost as annoying as a telemarketer at dinner time. Typically the content is irrelevant to us and it’s the same, tired message pitching some product or solution that we just don’t care about!

Worse yet, is when a COMPETITOR reaches out to sell us something we offer to our own clients. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to be sold something I am already an expert at. This type of cold lead outreach is infuriating, for everyone and it is the WRONG way to engage cold leads, especially if you want them to warm up eventually.

What Cold Lead Outreach is Missing

Most prospecting and lead generation follows the “spray and pray” methodology. Just blast a bunch of canned messages out into the digital world and see if something sticks. If you believe in the 80-20 principal, this means that 20% of your messages might elicit a response and 20% of those may actually take it to the next step…that doesn’t mean you’ve closed a sale, it just means they’ll take a look at what you’re offering! If you were a door-to-door salesman, you’ve had the door slammed in your face 96 times at this point.

Cold lead outreach misses a key concept when it comes to sales, CONNECTION. Reaching out to a complete stranger and offering them a “solution” is like asking someone to marry you that you sat next to on the bus. You don’t know them, you have no connection with them, so no…they aren’t going to marry you.

Know Who You are Reaching Out To

Ok, the whole point of cold outreach is you don’t really know who you’re reaching out to…but you can do a little homework. Put in a little bit of time and effort into getting to know the person or business you are going to be reaching out to. Don’t assume they want your help just because you have a shiny solution to offer them. Find meaningful ways to make a connection with them before you EVER present your offering.

How to Reach Out to Cold Leads the Right Way

  1. Do Your Homework – A lot of social media profiles are public, so take a few minutes and get to know a little bit more about the person you’re going to be corresponding with.
  2. Consider if they ACTUALLY Need Your Offering – You can learn a lot from a person by perusing their profile and seeing what products and brands they like and interact with. Make sure your offering aligns with their needs before you reach out.
  3. Introduce Yourself – It’s important for people to know who you are, introduce yourself FIRST and give them the opportunity to learn about you and your business.
  4. Make the Connection – Humans really like emotional connection, this is why brands like Nike and Coca Cola have been so successful, they connect emotionally. Find a way to connect with the person you are reaching out to and make it about THEM, not about making the sale.
  5. Don’t Get Discouraged – Making cold outreach successful is really hard. But don’t get discouraged, it can be a great way to expand your network and keep your brand top of mind for prospects. The people you reach out to might say “no” today, but you’ve planted the seed of brand awareness, let it grow.

Make Your Cold Prospecting Outreach More Impactful

Having a strong brand, great resources and a stunning website can all make your cold outreach efforts more impactful. Share blog posts or free resources with those you’re reaching out to, something that adds value and benefits them. Direct them to your beautifully branded website to learn more about what you’re offering and let them make the decision at their own pace.

Reaching out to cold leads should be more about building relationships and generating brand awareness than a quick way to close a sale. Make people feel heard and understood, connect with them emotionally through a strong brand and empower them to learn more with an engaging website.

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