How to write a cold email that gets a response from even the busiest people


elon musk


Busy CEOs can't answer every email. Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk pictured.


Sending the right cold email could land you your next client, employee, or even job.

But, as you probably know from experience, trying to get in touch with someone you've never met, especially if they're quite busy, can be an exercise in futility.

Thankfully, though, there are proven tactics that will increase your odds of getting a response - and master networker Keith Ferrazzi, author of the bestselling career guide "Never Eat Alone," can tell you what's consistently worked for him.

When Ferrazzi first published his book in 2005, he had already been the youngest CMO at both Deloitte Consulting and Starwood Hotels and Resorts; the CEO of marketing startup Ya Ya Media; and the founder and CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight, a management consultant firm with major clients like General Motors and American Express. As he explains in "Never Eat Alone," updated in 2014, he credits his success from high school on to the power of relationships.


Here's how he recommends getting off on the right foot, via email.

1. Have a subject line that grabs their attention.

Regardless of what you write, your email isn't getting read if the subject line isn't compelling. "Focus on your strongest hook, either the contact you have in common or the specific value you have to offer," Ferrazzi writes.

2. Send it at the start or end of the day.

If you're contacting a busy person, they'll probably miss your message if you send it during their working hours. Send it first thing in the morning or as the work day ends, when they're probably checking their inbox.

3. Write a brief message.

Think about the way you process email. If you can't get to the point within a single screen's worth of text, the recipient is probably going to send it to the trash or forget it forever.

4. Give a call to action.

"Make you first request clear and easy," Ferrazzi wrote. Instead of writing something vague like "I'd love to get coffee sometime" or "get on the phone," give them some times and dates that work for you, and note how long they would take.


5. Proofread your email aloud.

Read through your email, aloud if possible (even if it's under your breath), to hear how you're coming across. The goal is to be clear and conversational.

6. Check your spelling and grammar.

Browsers have built in spell-checks - there's no excuse for coming across as sloppy and rushed by sending a message with typos or bad grammar.

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