Do You Take Part in the 7 ‘Worst Practices’ in Cold Email?

IKO System Lead Scoring Sales SolutionImagine you’re about to dive headfirst into a big new list of leads.  There’s a genuine sense of opportunity in the air. Writing cold emails requires that you succinctly position value for the reader while communicating that this email is personalized, just for them.   Your subject line is the gateway to all future conversions.  And the body of the email is responsible for moving the prospect towards becoming a buyer. But none of this matters if you’re using some standard-issue terrible email practices.   This post is about what you must absolutely not do when sending cold emails to your prospecting lists. If you recognize yourself using any of these ‘7 Worst Practices’ for approaching outbound leads, please, don’t despair.   Calmly remove your fingers from the keyboard, step away from your computer and go stare out a window.  Or at the nearest wall.  Stare and breathe for 21 seconds.  Next, repeat these simple but powerful word, “I promise to dedicate time and energy to becoming a better prospector.” Point is, stop using any of these techniques.  Some are outdated and some just plain make you unlikable.  All are a waste of good leads.  

The IKO System ‘Golden Rule’: Email unto others as you would have them email unto you.

#1 Don’t Play Tricks in the Subject Line

People don’t like being tricked, so when setting forth to establish a business relationship, be honest in your cold emails.  Luring prospects in with false, ‘open-bait’ subject headers will tarnish your credibility from the outset.   Who cares if your prospect opens the email?  They’ll likely never buy from you once they realize you’ve deceived them.  Being anything less than forthright is a waste of a prospective buyer.  Your emails must be opened, yes. But not at the expense of closing a potential deal. Also: Do not try and get crafty by starting subject lines with “RE:[Look at me]” to deceive the reader into believing you’re previously engaged on a thread.  You’re better than that. 

#2 Don’t Mention Spam

You wouldn’t use a pickup line like, ‘This isn’t a pickup line.’  Or maybe you would.  Regardless, this tactic does not work on cold emails.  Writing “This is not spam” is not only a lie but spam filters will block you immediately. 

#3 Don’t Utilize Generic Headline Greetings

Remove all traces of “Dear Sirs” and “Dear BLANK” from cold email salutations.  These awkward pretenses at formality are obvious (and stale) attempts to force oneself into the reader’s confidences.   “Dear Friend” is not much better.  Friends don’t email friends – they call or text.  This fools no one and might outright ensure your subject lines never get a friendly, curious opening again.IKO System Lead Scoring Sales Solution

#4 Don’t Brag in Your Cold Email

Cold email readers respond to personalization and a brief bits of value.  Three things concern the reader: ‘me, me, and me’.  They will not appreciate a ramble about your or your company’s recent triumphs.  Positioning yourself as an authority is one thing.  Coming off as someone eager to bore others with their success story is another.  Any reference to accomplishments should be subtle, understated, and fit within the value you’re delivering. 

#5 Don’t Use the Omnipresent CEO Gimmick

Oh, your CEO is “in town next week” and would love a chance to speak with me?  I’m honored, grateful even.  Said no one, ever.  And since I don’t know your CEO by name, I’m really not too keen on anything else you’ve got to say.  Spare the spammy phrases and deliver me something I can use right now. 

#6 Don’t Use Presumptive Sales Techniques

What works on the used car lot doesn’t fly in cold outreach emails.  Going in for a “presumptive close” at the end of your email is a surefire way to negate any interest you may have created with quality content.   For example: “What time is best to schedule a call? 10am on Wednesday or 2pm on Wednesday?” will be met with a firm response: Never is best for me.  Never be presumptuous with people’s time. 

#7 Don’t Sound Needy

Nothing ensures cold emails will continue to get ignored quite as much as coming off as needy.  Sending another email to check upon whether the reader hadn’t ‘overlooked’ your first email only reinforces why they didn’t open it in the first place: you’re going to pester them. Likewise, don’t write that you’ve ‘been trying to get a hold of ’ them.  That much is obvious.  They are decidedly ignoring you. Respect people’s time and space.  Do not say you’ll follow-up with a phone call if you don’t hear back via email.     

The 3 Necessary Components of Successful Cold Email


#1: The Proper Tone

Your messages and sales emails must adopt a casual, natural tone.  Make them short and ask for one simple answer.  Feel free to engage leads with humor. Speaking to the the prospect as if you were on a speed date will ensure you come across as caring, confident, and in-demand.  And don’t be afraid to experiment with a new approach so long as the quality of the tone remains intact. 

#2: Free Gifts

Free gifts are a powerful and seductive tool when approaching leads.   Messages should include valuable and personally relevant gifts for your leads.  Give the impression that you have chosen this specific gift for him or her, and you ask nothing in return. For example: ebooks, press articles, or a proposal to connect him or her with a peer will prove very appealing. Because of our human need for reciprocity, the lead will try to give back to you… in the form of a response to your message. 

#3: Autonomy

Throughout your messages or within your conversations, be sure to provide the lead with a way to leave the discussion easily.  Something like: “Feel free to stop me anytime if this doesn’t seem relevant to you,”  or “Please let me know if you’d rather I not spam you with this material” Lines like these impart a sense of freedom to the prospect.  This is liberating, and will encourage the lead to move forward by 50%.IKO System Lead Scoring Sales Solution


 Cold emails can certainly be a tricky area to perfect.  First, you must create an engaging and specific subject line.  A natural tone paired with valuable material is equally essential.  For those looking to fill their pipeline and convert more prospects with cold sales email, the IKO System offers the technology to gain access to high-quality leads and boosts conversions of said leads to 50%.   

What is IKO System, anyway?

 We are a predictive lead generation solution, one which blends inbound marketing with outbound prospecting. IKO System runs big data algorithms on over 60,000 sources, such as press article, reports, data sets, and social signals.  We collect and report activities on over 700 million corporations, 50 million professionals in 32 countries to provide an accurate and comprehensive outbound lead generation solution for your sales funnel. By detecting buying signals from billions of data inputs in your communication territories, we are able to build a “buying score” with which to rank and prioritize leads in your prospecting lists.   

Our predictive lead scoring solution has provided our clients with conversions  with an average of 8x more rates. 

 All you do is tell us the firmographics and demographics of your targets, any competitors and partners in your markets – and the IKO System technology delivers a flow of scored leads according to their buying probability.