Top 3 Tips Your Cold Outreach Message Needs To Predictably Earn Positive Responses

#1: Captivating One-Liner

Hands down the #1 cause that tanks B2B response rates is a bad one-liner. Every one-liner should have as many of the following four key elements as possible.


  • The Persona: You must call out who you're selling to, or they won’t think the message is for them.
  • The Issue: What’s the #1 problem you solve for your prospects (the real problem)?
  • The Proposal: Exactly what you do in layman's terms without being vague and while still being unique.​
  • The Success: Paint a picture of what life could look like after they use your service or product.

TIP: If you get this one-liner right and put it at the top of your website you can easily boost conversions by 50%.

Here’s an example of Cleverly’s one-liner:

Cleverly helps busy founders scale their qualified leads on LinkedIn for $99/month - building a predictable revenue driving machine.

  • The Persona: Founding members or executives of a company
  • The Issue: Busy or time-strapped
  • The Proposal: Scaling qualified leads on LinkedIn for $99/month
  • The Success: A predictable revenue driving machine

TIP: If you’re in a competitive market or sell a commodity, you must knock down the big domino (Source: Russel Brunsen) and make them believe (Source: Frank Kern) what you’re selling will work for them.

The big domino is the #1 objection that is often hidden (meaning the prospect won’t tell you) that kills the response. If you’re a marketing agency, the big domino is they don’t believe you can get them qualified leads. You must call out the big domino and try to knock it down.

Here’s another example one-liner from a generic merchant processing company:

We provide CFOs with the best wholesale merchant processing rates - eliminating the middleman so you retain more revenue from all credit card sales.

  • The Persona: Chief Financial Officers at a company
  • The Issue: Saving the company money on merchant processing fees
  • The Proposal: Providing the best wholesale merchant processing rates
  • The Success: Retain more revenue from all credit card sales

#2: Undeniable Credibility

Especially with cold outreach, most prospects are skeptic and won’t believe you. Saying you’re the best IT provider in town means nothing until you can prove it.

Examples of strong credibility builders:

  • We’ve developed apps for brands like Apple, Kaiser and Target
  • We work with over 100 local businesses in Los Angeles.
  • Our clients see an average 30% decrease in employee turnover.
  • I’ve managed over $50M in Google Ad campaigns in past 3 years.
  • We’ve generated 200+ qualified leads for your competitors in the past 6 months.

TIP: How many years you’ve been doing something is not a good credibility builder in top of funnel messages. Your potential clients want to see recent results you’ve directly generated in the form of concrete numbers.

#3: Irresistible Offer​

A great offer can trump all. First, you must understand what the sales genius, Chet Holmes, found to be true years ago:

Only about 3% of all your prospects are actually in-market for what you are selling at any given time.

This means, even with a great one-liner with undeniable credibility, most of the time it still “isn’t the right time” for your prospects. The secret is to end your message with a call to action that’s practically impossible to say no to. Using this as a way to get your foot in the door, resulting in a natural up-sell or a smooth transition into a phone conversation.

Examples of irresistible offer call to actions:

  • Would you like a free SEO audit? Just drop your website and I’ll take a look.
  • Can I ship you a free sample of our high-quality corporate T-shirts?
  • Can I share a few case studies of results we generated for similar companies?​
  • Would you like a free copy of my best selling book?

The key point is that even though 97% of prospects aren’t in-market for “corporate T-shirts”, they may still say yes to a free sample, and when the next company event comes around, they’ll remember you.

TIP: This is why following up with every lead is key. You are burning cash if you don’t follow-up 3-7 times a year with prospects that have expressed interest but the timing just wasn't right.

In conclusion, every message should have a clear one-liner, strong credibility builder and an irresistible offer. You win if you can hit all those in the fewest words possible. Our top performers are 3-4 sentences. Of course, there are exceptions to the rules, but that requires testing.

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