What Forgetting to Call My Mom Back Taught Me About Sending Cold Emails

A few weeks back my mom called me during a work meeting. I promptly tapped ignore, then told myself I’d call her back on my walk to the train or during my drive home from the station.

Well, I didn’t. My own mother, flesh and blood, fell victim to my calendar and my forgetfulness. I definitely get the “Worst Son of the Year” award.

But you know what, this experience actually gave me some empathy toward my prospects, the people I reach out to who fail to get back to me.

It can often feel like a prospect’s sitting there watching the phone ring with a devilish grin. And especially with tracking software, it’s even worse because you can see when they read your email and you can see when they’re choosing not to respond.

But think about this: When I didn’t answer my mother’s call—and honestly forgot to call her back—was I being malicious? Obviously not.

So it hit me, perhaps my prospects weren’t purposefully ignoring me—rather they were busy.

Busy doing what, you ask?

Their jobs, that’s what.

Think about it this way: When you read that text and didn’t reply, or forgot to run that errand like you said you would, or forget Aunt Judy’s birthday, you know it’s not always on purpose.

And then you get that reminder text, or that “You there?” or another follow-up that makes you remember someone’s waiting to hear from you.

It’s so easy to forget that prospects are often busy doing whatever they were hired to do. While one part of their job is identifying vendors and partners who can help make their business better, there are a heap of other priorities stopping them from picking up your call or emailing you back.

We also forget that, depending on their role, there could be 10 to 25 representatives per week emailing, calling, and InMailing—and some of those people aren’t even your competitors!

So, how do you stand out? Persistence. But smart persistence. Sending one generic email probably won’t get a response; nor will sending 20. But if you can accurately pinpoint how you could help a specific company, well then you might get their attention.

And if someone does have a partnership already with a competitor, or if they aren’t interested right now, ask for permission to reach out at a later date. There are ways to stay top of mind without compromising your morals and ethics.

At the end of the day, this article isn’t about how 75 cold calls every morning got me that dream client. But it is about how perseverance gets answers, and how we must remember that our prospects aren’t often sitting around doing nothing.

So when they don’t answer, don’t take it personally. Figure out if you have a real pitch for them, one that could solve their problems. If so, send it over—and then reach back out! (This follow-up email strategy makes it easy)

And for goodness sake, pick up the phone and call your mother.

This article was adapted from LinkedIn. It has been republished here with permission.

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About Richard Moy

Richard Moy
Richard Moy is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow. He has spent the majority of his career in talent management, including a stint as a full-cycle recruiter and hiring manager. In addition to the career advice he contributes to The Muse, he also writes test prep and higher education marketing content for The Economist. Say hi on Twitter @rich_moy.

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