How to Write a Cold Email that Procurement and Business Professionals Will Respond to!

cold email

Cold Email Overload

If you are in procurement, you get so many cold emails from suppliers looking for business, it becomes very easy just to delete them all. It can become the bane of your existence.

Every once in a while though, I’ve come across some killer cold emails.  Enough so, that they’ve even had me responding (even if I didn’t have a need).

And I’ve been asked the question more than one time by the supplier side to explain what made me actually respond. So, I thought it would be useful to write a blog around writing a cold email that elicits a response.

Writing a Killer Cold Email


Rule #1 – Keep it short 

I’m sure you have the best product or service in the world. And I’m sure there is lots of information you’d like to tell me about this product. But, guess what?

I’m not going to read through an email (especially a cold one) that is as long as war and peace.  It’s just not going to happen. This is the digital age, and we all have attention spans of gnats. So for the love of sweet Jesus, keep it short and to the point. Otherwise, you can guarantee it ends up in the trash bin.


Rule #2 – Introduce yourself

We don’t know each other, so please don’t act as if we do (that’s annoying too). So please give yourself a brief introduction!

Have a link to your LinkedIn/YouTube/Twitter profile while you are at it. The more one knows about you, the more likely they are to respond to your emails.


Rule #3 – Have Personality / Be Relatable 

Love badminton? Planning to climb Mt. Everest? Then work it into your cold email (even if it’s at the end). Most people do business with others or give them a chance simply because they like them.

Or in the least, have something to have a common ground. I may not need your service now, but I may want to talk to you about running a marathon through Antarctica. Which can always lead back to other things.


Rule #4 – What’s in it for me? Offer me/give me something for free.

I’m ten times more likely to answer an email if there is something free for me (Think WIIFM).

If you have proprietary industry whitepaper or benchmark information you can give me – you will have my undivided attention. The possibilities are endless for free, valuable, yet non-tangible (and non-taxable) stuff that can get your foot in the door.


Rule #5 – Attach a video link/capabilities presentation

Do you know what I don’t have? A lot of time. Especially not enough to meet with every person who sends me a cold email.

But do you know what I do have? Time to take a quick look at a capabilities presentation, quick video, or short podcast. Because guess what is going to be the first question when I do answer your email.


Rule #6 – Tell me what differentiates you from your competition

If you have something that sets you apart from your competitors, tell me about it (and any potential benefits). It could be your golden ticket.


Rule #7 – Flattery works.

Mentioning my last blog, podcast, or speaking event always catches my attention. Even if you didn’t like it or didn’t agree with it.

Don’t have time a lot of time?  Then check out my weekly blog for #protips!

Cold-Emails Big No-Nos!

1. DO NOT, and I repeat, do not continue sending me over and over the previous email(s) you have sent me.  I saw them the first time and decided not to respond. By you highlighting this fact does nothing but validate why I didn’t want to talk to you in the first place.

2. Snarky or snotty tones for a lack of a response will elicit an immediate blocking. Especially if you say something to the effect of, “well since I haven’t heard back from my other 10 emails, this will be my final one.” Because yes, yes it is your final one.

3. Don’t expect me to be your messenger / figure out the right contact for you. If you’re not sure if I’m the right contact, then do some homework and figure out who is! PLEASE don’t ask me to forward it to the right person.

4.  Copy & Paste Emails. Just don’t do it. It’s transparent AND annoying. But it is funny when you copy and paste it with the last person’s name still in it!

5. Don’t call me, I’ll call you. Do you know what I hate even more than cold emails? That’s right, cold calls. It’s the reason why procurement professionals will never answer a phone call if they don’t know who is calling.

6. Ridiculous subject lines. Nothing screams “spam” and “delete me”, like an over-the-top subject line. Spend some time on it, and make it personal instead.

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