Entrepreneurship: The Art of the Cold Call

We always hear how important relationships are in business. Relationships can open many doors, especially for startups who need connections. But what if you don’t have any existing relationships? What if you are brand new (a complete outsider), trying to break into an industry for the first time?

That was me a year and a half ago! I have good news: the cold call/cold email actually works! Here at cocokind, I’d estimate that we acquired close to 50% our store base via cold emails and calls. In fact, for our first 500 stores, that number was probably closer to 75%.

Here are a few tips/qualifiers that will help your chances with cold call or cold emails:

1) Your product has to be a good product. That sounds obvious but….sometimes we all have beer goggles on; I’ve been guilty of this many times. Actually, cold emailing is a good way to test if you have a good concept. If most people respond to you, you know you’ve (at least) created product values that are intriguing to the market. If you aren’t receiving many responses, that could mean that your core selling points aren’t strong enough or in high enough demand, which is invaluable information at this point in the selling process.

2) You have to have good timing – both with regards to your product launch and literally, when your cold email hits the inbox or when you ring someone. I truly believe timing is everything, and perhaps the most important thing. The most innovative consumer products that hit the market too early often lose to the second best products that hit the market at the right time. Similarly, don’t send an email at 10AM on a Monday – respect people’s time and try not to hit them up when you know their crammed. In my experience, Tuesdays and Thursdays are best!

3) Get to the point, quick. You can test this by opening your cold email and glancing at it for five seconds. In five seconds, what did you take away? That may be the only time you get, so make sure you summarize your offering and objective efficiently. I highly recommend bullet points! For cold calls, have ONE sentence that gets right to it, and practice that sentence over and over again until you don’t even have to think to say it perfectly.

4) Be resilient. I’ve always been shameless with cold emails and cold calling. If I don’t hear back from someone, I take note but move on quickly. It’s easy to let a non-response or rejection over the phone make you feel embarrassed or shy to try again. Having resiliency is such an important characteristic for entrepreneurs – let it go. It’s simply part of the hustle in the beginning. Plus, when people do respond, you’ll be that much more appreciative.

The cold email opened many doors to cocokind – even accounts like Bed Bath & Beyond! I’m a big proponent of this tactic for startups trying to open doors in a new industry, because what other choice do you have? Once the door is open, however, it’s up to you and your product to build a strong relationship.

As always, here at priscilla@cocokind.com for questions or comments!

-Priscilla, Founder