May 4, 2017 by Ashwini Murthy

Let’s say you are against spam. And you found the exact reason why you should send an unsolicited prospecting email to an unsuspecting, busy, tired, stress-afflicted VP type. And I will give it to you that, the email has the right intentions and the recipient is going to thank you for sending the email.

In short, let’s say the stars have aligned. Now what?

We talked about subject lines in our previous post.

What about the next careful step to not spook the human on the other side? The body of your prospecting email? The first line of your answer to “why am I writing to you” can get you 2% response rate or 15%. This can be your game changer. And to quote a certain somebody, this matters “bigly”.

We all know the basics of a good sales email and anatomy (If you don’t, you can find it here). This article is about how to embrace the human on the other side when you send a cold email.

The hook

So, starting off, a salutation is good but not necessary. You can jump right to the ’hook’, because, surprise, humans chat often these days and are social media savvy. They made their peace with no salutation. I checked!

Our co-founder recently reached out to a prospective client with a fun fact about how the company had the most per capita Zs on their founding team. It practically had nothing to do with the sales pitch. But it got them hooked.

Move away from congratulating them on their recent funding. It’s long overdone. Try finding other links. Even weak links are good enough. Something like “I read your article on __ and then stumbled upon your website and I had to write!”. Building familiarity is a way of saying that ‘You are not bad and not out to flick her purse’. Assuage the fear that humans have for stranger humans!

The body

After the hook, move on to the body. Spoiler alert: People prefer talking to humans who actually talk like *spoiler alert* HUMANS! Go for a human-style conversation. Shed the whole formal “The purpose of this email is..”. Keep it conversational like “So, here’s why I’m writing to you…”

Your recipient probably receives a dozen cold emails from people like you. Answering the “why” to the point, without any room for misinterpretation can give you an edge over the others. Inducing even the slightest bit of FOMO is going to keep them hooked. So, how do we induce that? Drop a peer event. “We work with xxx who is like you and they are kicking ass doing this (and of course, we are the one helping them do that)”


Saying “This isn’t a sales pitch” and going ahead with the actual sales pitch is old school. Disarm them by saying “I don’t mean to interrupt your work like an annoying sales guy, but I just had to do exactly that. I hope you don’t mind :)”

If somehow the recipient opens a sales email, they’ll expect a lot of fluff and fanciness. What they won’t expect is honesty. Disarm them by acknowledging how the email actually is a sales pitch. Self-deprecation is always endearing, ain’t it?


The call-to-action should be crisp and warm. You’re not selling straight away. You’re just crossing the zone of unfamiliarity. Something along the lines of “So, #name, what’s the best time to get on a call with you? I am available all of this week in the evenings.” would do the trick.

For brownie points, you can add a “PS: your *insert whatever you like about their company* really rocks!”. Don’t overdo this or don’t be disingenuous. Nobody is so insecure to fish for a compliment from a stranger. Do it from your heart, if you can!

And, of course, the signature. Keep it short. Don’t stuff it with links, badges, images or icons. Your name, a link to your website and maybe a social channel would do.

Keep the bear hugs and hi-fives for later! Build familiarity with warmth and restraint – turns out, humans have a thing for these!


Ashwini Murthy

Content marketer @ PipeCandy

A writer by day. Illustrator by night. Currently trying to conquer the B2B marketing world one baby step at a time. Loves everything outside her comfort zone.