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Sales Consulting
June 29, 2020

5 steps to write cold emails that get replies

Kyle Vamvouris
CEO, Vouris

Cold emails are one of the best ways to connect with prospects - but they can be tricky to write.

Use our step-by-step process to create cold emails that will get read and get replies. 

Step 1: Start your email with a great hook.

A good hook is all about grabbing someone's attention and getting them to read on.

You can build "attention-grabbers" using elements like personalization, relevant topics, and clear value propositions.

Here's a formula you can use to grab attention while clearly introducing yourself and what you do:

Hi [Name],

I’m reaching out because we help [business type] achieve [result].


Hi Amy,
I’m reaching out because we help [business type] achieve [result].

Bonus points:

If you mention results in your hook, make sure to make them:

  • Specific.
  • Relevant.
  • Impressive. 
  • Realistic.
  • True.


Bad: We help people with sales.
Good: We help SaaS companies increase their sales by 50% in 30 days.

Step 2: Show off a strong example with a case study sentence.

Your case study sentence should be specific, relevant, and demonstrate clear value you’ve provided to other companies. You can:

  • Outline how you solved a problem they might be having.
    Example: We recently helped a B2B SaaS company grow their sales team from 2 people to 17 people in just 6 months.

  • Mention a few impressive clients you’ve worked with in the same space.
    Example: We helped Tesla, Audi, and BMW solve the same problem you’re facing.

  • Mention impressive numbers.
    Example: We’ve grown to over 25,000 users and our podcast gets 500,000 listens/month.

Here's a formula you can use to write a case study sentence:

We recently helped a [case study sentence].


--> We recently helped a food + bev software company acquire 7,000 restaurant clients in California.
--> Our average client sees at least 3X ROI in their first 6 months.
--> Our users include Crossfit, Gold’s Gym, and Crunch Fitness gym owners.

Step 3: Clearly state your solution(s).

Make sure you list your services clearly and directly.

You’d be surprised at how many cold emails we see that talk about great results….and then forget to explain how you can actually get started working together. 

That's why you’ve got to follow a great hook + intro with a clear “how we work” or "our services" section.

Make it simple to read and easy to understand.

Here's the formula you can use to present your solutions effectively:

We can help you:

  • [Solution]
  • [Solution]
  • [Solution]


We can help you:
-> Monitor a project’s profitability in real-time.
->Lower your churn with automated email reminders.
-> Improve your pricing with our AI.

Step 4: Ask for a clear action.

Now that you've introduced yourself clearly and offered something attractive, it's time to ask the reader for a specific action!

Here's a formula you can use to build your call to action (CTA):

If this resonates and you’d like to set up a time to chat, what day will work best for you?



Bonus points if you keep experimenting with your CTA. You can test:

  • Which day works best.
  • What time of day works best.
  • Whether or not to ask for a call at all.
  • Whether or not to include a calendar/scheduler link.

The more emails you send - and more responses you get - the faster you will start to figure out what works best for your audience.

Step 4: Subject Lines

Let’s get this out of the way - there is no perfect subject line formula. Subject lines need some creativity and experimentation.

One of the best ways to “uncover” great subject lines is to write out a list of 20+ ideas. You’ll find that it’s really easy to come up with the first 10 ideas, but you’ll start stretching for new ideas after that. 

Once you’re done with your list, take a quick break and come back to it - what stands out to you? Which idea grabs your attention?

Here are a few examples:


Example: Fishing in Savannah and increasing your sales.
Why it’s good: It’s location-specific and links a hobby to a professional goal.

Example: USC squished us and productivity improvement.
Why it’s good: “Squished” will stand out in an inbox because it’s a weird, funny word! Remember, this is about experimentation.

Example: Never drop the ball on marketing leads.
Why it’s good: It lines up with a goal your prospect probably shares.

Example: Doubled sales in three months.
Why it’s good: It’s specific, goal-oriented, and implies that you’re about to share a case study or some other form of “proof”.

Example: Sales Team.
Why it’s good: It’s simple, direct, and non-salesy. 

Step 5: Follow Up

Cold outreach doesn’t stop with the first touch, right? 

See the video above for a “bump” email idea I’ve used successfully. It’s a one liner that gets great reply rates.

But, like I keep saying in the video - this is probably a tactic that won’t survive for very long, especially if everyone else starts doing the same thing. 

So, here’s a bigger takeaway that you can apply to your follow up emails that’ll help get responses:

Build your follow up emails around different value props!

Instead of hammering the prospect with multiple emails about the same value prop, over and over, give them other reasons to book a meeting with you. 

For example, if you’re selling project management software to roofing companies, don’t do this:

  • Email 1: This tool will save you time. 
  • Email 2: This tool will save you time. 
  • Email 3: This tool will save you time. 
  • Email 4: This tool will save you time. 
  • Email 5: This tool will save you time. 

Instead, try doing something like this:

  • Email 1: This tool will save you time.
  • Email 2: This tool will save you money.
  • Email 3: Here’s how the top 3 US roofing companies use our tool.
  • Email 4: This tool will get you more reviews.
  • Email 5: This tool helps you get more repeat customers.

By doing this, you’ll create a more complete story about how your product/service can help the prospect. This’ll lead to more bookings and better conversations!

Here's a template you can use right away:

Subject: Sales team missing quota?

Hi Amy,

If less than 80% of your sales people hit quota, we should talk.

We recently helped a startup in San Francisco do more with two sales people than they were doing with a full team of six people.

We also helped a 300-person sales organisation go from 67% quota attainment to 88% in 5 months. 

Some areas we help with:
-> Automated lead qualification
-> Pre-validating lead quality
-> Streamlining AE follow up
-> And the list goes on…

I know we can deliver great results by tightening up your operations.

If this resonates with you and you’d like to set up a time to chat, what day would work best for you?



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