Wilson Jian P

These Are Some of The Worst Cold Emails I’ve Ever Received

Cold emailing is an art. Just like martial arts it takes a lot of practice, a lot of grinding, and a lot of trial and error.

Cold emailing receives a lot of bad rep, but it’s still the most efficient and cost-effective way for accomplishing anything in life.

You can use it to follow up with job offers. You can use it to gain early traction for your business and you can use it for networking. Your options are endless.

Cold emailing isn’t the most “fun” thing to do, but it works. Most people still check their emails on a day to day basis and it’s the most efficient way of contacting a lead.

The thing is that most people aren’t cold emailing correctly. The worst part is that 85% of the people that are cold emailing are using long sales templates and screwing up poorly crafted mail merges.

With that said, this article will showcase some of the WORST cold emails I’ve ever received.

Bad cold email #1


 Why is it bad???

This email starts good. It addressed me by name with proper capitalization.

Now that we covered everything this email did right let’s jump into it:

Things wrong with this email:

• Email address is from a masked domain – check out that notice on the top near the email address section. Sending through a mass mailer is an easy way to get your domain globally marked as spam.

• Opens with a standard “I hope you are doing well” with no personalization.

• The email has a complex chart in it, not something a person would add to a manual email that makes me think this is spam, and ignore it immediately.

• The background is grey meaning they used HTML to send this out which breaks in a lot of mailing clients and is also unnecessary. Stick to the default backgrounds.

Bad Email #2

Following up is great practice when sending emails. This is not how you follow up. Things wrong in this email:

•  It’s the same message copied twice word for word. No indication that this is a reply.

•  Sent via a masked domain which is why it ended up in spam.

•  The call to action on this email is “let me know when you’re free for a few minutes this week” no question mark or reason for the reader to respond.

Bad Email #3


Got this one in my LinkedIn inbox and promptly ignored it. On the surface this seems like a good email – she’s got a solid pitch and is offering (what seems like) value.

The main issue is personalization.

She could have gone over to my profile, which she had to glance at to send this message – and easily be able to infer some goals or people to introduce me to, rather than sending that general opener. All she needs to do in the future is spend an extra 30-45 seconds per message to customize that first sentence and she’ll get a much higher response rate.

Bad email #4

This email does a few things right: it uses my correct information and has what seems like a solid pitch.

So why did this email end up in the spam box? It’s being sent through spammy mail servers again (gibasbc.onmicrosoft.com).

Gmail is getting great at filtering out emails when they’re seen in multiple email addresses. This email has no personalization and so it got flagged.

The worst part about this email is the grammar and spelling. Normally I wouldn’t hound on them for it but, if you’re going to be sending out a spammy template to what I’m assuming is thousands of people, at least take a few minutes and make sure the template is in readable english.

Bad Email #5


I barely want to write a review of this one because having this email on my screen to critique is hurting my eyes. Here’s what this message gets wrong, starting from the top:                                          

• Subject line “App Developers Contact List” is super general, and tells very little about what’s going to be in the email.

• Starts with “Hello” with no name – clearly, this is a spam message.

• The first sentence of the email calls out the fact that we do “UX and Web Developers” – not only is this poor grammar, these bullets were pulled directly from a database. Not good for a company hoping to sell leads.                

The email is in BOLD ITALICS – that’s never a good idea and a big reason why this email ended up in spam.

Reasons for bad cold emails:

When it comes to outbound sales and cold emailing, you want to first ensure that you have high quality leads. If you aren’t emailing the correct person, then your emails won’t work no matter how great they are.

Let’s say you know that you do have high quality leads and that they fit your product really well, but you’re still not receiving any response, then you know there is something wrong with your cold emails.

A great way is to keep track of your open rates to see if people are even opening your email to start with. Think outside the box and narrow down the issue. Is it the subject line?

Is it the quality of leads? Is it bad timing.

After you’ve narrowed it down, you can focus on improving your cold emails and testing different context to ensure that you are writing the best emails ever.

I’m just using sales as an example, of course the same concepts can be applied to whatever purpose you’re using the cold emails for.

Here are some more reasons for bad emails:

1. Too long – No one wants to read a mini ebook in an email.

2. Too many ideas – Although the company had an amazing product, they were highlighting too many value props in their emails, which confused readers.

3.Too much about themselves – Their emails talked way too much about why they were awesome, and listed their company’s features instead of putting it in terms of value for the customer.

4. Your Questions Are Hard To Answer – If they don’t know you, people aren’t going to give you much mental energy. They won’t bother answering “too open-ended” questions like “What are your key marketing challenges this year?”

Why should they?

The easier you make questions to answer (“How many salespeople do you have?”)

More reasons why your cold emails are bad

Bad subject lines – If you have a misleading subject line or subject line that is too generic and not relevant to the lead, then the cold email will go straight to the trash. It’s a harsh thing to say, but that’s the way it goes.

Your Emails Are Confusing – Don’t list more than one or two features / offers / benefits / ways you can help. Avoid jargon – how SIMPLE can you make your language? Try for 3rd grade reading comprehension.

Timing is off – Don’t email someone at 2am in the middle of the night (unless that’s when they usually check). You want to catch them first thing when they check their email. Use tools to keep track of their open patterns

Your Calls To Action Are Vague – ”Let me know if I can help.” Don’t beat around the bush. Be clear & direct about what you’re asking for. Instead of “I’d love your feedback,” ask “When’s a good day this week for a 15min call to discuss…?” And no more than one question or call to action!

Mail Merge gone wrong – This is a funny one because one of our customers came to us with the need to improve his emails. When I looked into it, I realize that the list that they were using mail merge on was all wrong. The names didn’t match the people at the company, so instead of saying “Hey Wilson”, it said “Hey John”. There’s nobody named John in that company, so obviously you’re not going to get a good response with an incorrect canned email like that. Lesson learned, make sure you double check your information.

To sum it up

Cold email is a craft. I love and breathe it, but it takes A TON of practice. Make sure you ask yourself after you send out a cold email, “What can I do better next time?” Make sure you write it down and improve it in your next email.

Want to see some of the BEST cold emails I’ve ever received? Subscribe to the blog below and I’ll update you when that article is out.

You can follow me on Twitter @itswilson8


Wilson Jian P

Why You Need To Be Data-Driven With Your Cold Emails

Cold emailing and outbound sales is an art. Just like martial arts it takes a lot of practice, a lot of grinding, and a lot of trial and error. Most people think that you should only apply data-driven tactics to marketing and testing, but the fact is that sales people need to be data-driven too. They need to measure and track everything just like a good marketer would with their campaigns.

Most sales people track their email opens and response time, but never do anything with the statistics. What happens when someone opens your email multiple times, but doesn’t respond? What happens if the lead haven’t opened your email in a few days? You should have a set strategy for every single situation and react based on it.

Here are a few metrics that you should be tracking on all your cold email campaigns:

Open rate

You want to know how many people are opening your cold emails on a day to day basis. This is important because you can have the best context in the email, but it won’t mean anything if nobody reads it. If you have a low open rate, then you might want to ask yourself, “Why isn’t my email getting opens?” Is it because my subject line isn’t attractive enough? Is it because of a technical issue where my email is getting sent to spam?

Put all the thoughts possible in consideration and test based on that. For example, if you think that your subject line isn’t strong enough, then change up the subject line for the next 50 cold emails. Try 2–3 of them and see which ones receives the highest open rate. You’ll be surprise how effective subject lines can be. You can read more about how to improve your subject lines here: How To Improve Your Cold Email Subject Lines To Maximize Open Rates

When do they open the email?

This is another thing that a lot of people tend to leave out. You should log a note in your CRM to see the times that they open the email or find some sort of way to take note of it. For example, if you notice that they open the email everyday at 7AM, then it would make sense to reach out to them at 6AM to ensure that your messages will reach them as soon as they check.

The best way to do this would be to try and notice a pattern. A lot of busy people only check their emails once or twice a day max. You want to be able to take advantage of every minute.

It also helps if you can keep track of the time they respond to emails as well because some people will check their email through their phone in the early morning, but won’t respond until they get to their office.

How many times are they opening your email?

Let’s say you’re using Yesware or Sidekick to keep track of email opens. Both plugins will send you a notification almost instantly when the lead opens the email. A lot of times you will see that same notification many times throughout the day. This doesn’t mean that they’re reading your email multiple times and thinking about how to respond. It can mean that they’re passing the email to their team members. This is a hint that they might be interested and that they’re passing it to the correct people in the correct department to handle.

With this, you can set up follow-up responses based on what they’re doing with your cold email.

Response rate

This is probably the most important right? After you get the person to open the email, you want them to respond. You want to know exactly how many people out of 100 cold emails that you are sending are actually opening your emails. Then you want to know how many that open your email are actually responding to your emails. Response rates usually aren’t high, but they can be improved by testing the context of your email.

One of the biggest reason why there’s a low response rate is usually because the context of the email is just too damn long. Shorten it. If someone can’t go through your email on a mobile phone, then you should probably think of a way to shorten it. Other reasons could be that your email looks like its coming from a robot. Using long sales templates with long pitches just doesn’t work. Personalize everything to ensure the highest response rates.

Test multiple email copies with short personalized messages to see which ones will bring you the highest response rates.

Click Through Rate

Another important metric that is a must track. You want to know if the person is clicking on your website’s links. A lot of people don’t tend to click on links. They might read your email and respond with a few questions without actually checking out your site. That isn’t necessary a bad sign because it means that the context of your email is good enough to the point where they understood your value and might just have a few more questions before they sign up.

The good thing about tracking clicks in your emails is that you can identify which links they click on. They might click on more than just your website’s homepage link. They might click on links in your signature. A good plugin will track all of that. If they click on more than one link it means that they’re somewhat engaged with your product/service and might be interested in learning more. This allows you to qualify the lead and send out an appropriate follow-up email based on that.

If the lead is reading your email but not clicking on the link, then you might even want to consider leaving out the link to the website completely just to see if you can engage a conversation with your prospects through a cold email first.

Is the first line of your email attractive enough?

What most people don’t know is that people can preview your email by simply glancing at the first line of your email. That’s the preview line that displays on mobile phones as well as their gmail inbox. If you’re first line isn’t attractive enough, the lead might just trash your email right away.

This is another thing you can test to see which one is working and what is not. Sometimes it’s not about the subject line. Subject line is crucial, but the first line of the email is important too. Does it resonate with the lead? Will it make the lead open the email right away to continue reading? We put all of those into consideration when crafting our emails.

Follow up response rate

How many follow up emails does it take for you to receive a response? Did you know that most people tend to respond after the 3rd follow up? Our sweet spot has always been the 3rd or the 4th follow up. Too many people don’t follow up and give up after the first email. This is an epic fail because you should always think of the first email as a test email. You want to gather enough information about the prospect from the first email. You want to know when they open the email and how they react to it etc. Most people are busy and won’t respond to the first email, but after a 2nd and 3rd one they will start to notice you and respond back.

The reason why the follow up response rate is important is because you can have a killer initial cold email, but you could also have poor quality follow up emails. Crafting a good follow up response is a whole different story, but if people aren’t respond to your emails, then you might want to change up the context of the follow up. Make things more personalized and identify pain points/buying signals.

Here’s one of our other articles on: “When is the best time to follow up with a prospect”

Follow-ups in sales emails receive up to 30% higher open rates than first emails. But follow-up metrics don’t differ that much from the first email. Open rate is important if you send a follow-up in a new thread. Still, click-through rate could be difficult to control, because of that you always want to include a clear call to action in your follow up and make sure you track the conversion rates for that as well.

Wilson Jian P

How To Cold Email For Success: Validating A Product Idea

I wanted to show everyone a few examples of use cases for cold emailing. Most people already know the power of cold email, but too many people give up too early and think that it doesn’t work.

Just like entrepreneurship; don’t give up, instead find your mistakes and tweak it.

I’ve personally used cold email for almost everything in my career and personal life from getting a job to getting press to closing deals everyday. I wanted to make a quick series of a few examples where I’ve used cold email for success.

In this specific example, I’m going to show how I leveraged cold email for one of my side projects (scraping tool) to make sales strictly through email only.

The Cold Email Experiment

For this specific experiment, we wanted to build a simple scraping tool that would scrape job boards, project sites, forums etc. for a list of projects and then use another in-house tool to manually filter out the junk projects.

We use all these in-house tools ourselves for our customers at GrowthOK.

In order for this campaign to be successful, we wanted at least 3–4 software dev shops to be interested in what we were going to build. We eat our own dog food, so we approached this with our typical lead generation + cold email outreach process.

The first step is to build the list of leads as we do for everyone of our customers. Using our in-house tool, we were able to quickly build together a list of 91 dev shops that will be a perfect fit for this tool we were building.

Not too shabby to start with!

With this list of lead list in place, we were ready to blast out emails. My philosophy behind cold emailing is always to

  • Craft amazing personalized emails
  • Keep it short and direct
  • Follow up like a boss on all cold emails.
  • No sales templates..because it just doesn’t work well in the beginning.

Let the cold email outreach begin!

Alrighty, the fun starts here. One thing I want to note is that for every single cold email, you should be doing your research on the prospect/lead before reaching out to them.

This can be anything. I’ll go a little bit more into detail with some simple research you can do to make your cold email stand out easily, but for now let’s take a look at the email that we will be sending.

The research process can be a bit of grunt work, so if you have a budget, I would recommend contacting us at GrowthOK to handle the lead research process for you. Save yourself some time!

We didn’t use the same context for every single email. We wanted to hand-craft and personalize as much as everything, so it would be impossible for me to show every single email, but here’s an example of one of the ones that we used for this specific campaign.

“Hey {Name},

Just came across {Company} and love that intro video, especially the scene where code scrolls down the notepad, very cool visual.

We just created a tool that scrapes the web for anybody looking for software development projects. It finds 60–70 projects each week with concrete budget, timelines etc. and then sends them to you every sunday. You can have your biz dev team reach out to them and close a deal.

Does that sound like something you’ll be interested in? If so we could hop on the phone and chat or you can just book a time {calendar link}. 🙂

Would love your thoughts!


P.S. Fellow piano player here!!”

This email itself took less than 4 minutes to write and this includes the lead research process. We received a positive reply with interest in less than 8 hours. Short sales-cycle and validation FTW. 🙂

Awesome right? Let’s keep on going! It doesn’t end here.

Quick Breakdown of the cold email

Let’s do a quick breakdown on why this cold email works before going into the response etc.

The first paragraph is extremely crucial.

Notice how the first paragraph is highly personalized. We didn’t just mention a name, but we added context about something that we actually did research on. This makes our main point of content feel good about the email, because it doesn’t seem like spam anymore.

Mentioning their name is a plus, but including something that we saw in their explainer video is huge! This shows that somebody actually cares about their product and that the time that they invested into creating their explainer video wasn’t wasted.

Personalized and a short paragraph is key to success here.

The next paragraph is a short pitch of what you are actually trying to sell. There’s no point in sending a cold email without a goal. Our goal for this experiment was to see if developers were actually interested in the product.

Again, I like to keep this one short and direct.

You can list out bullet points of the benefits and that does well, but since this is just a short pitch to test the idea, we literally just used a short one line pitch. I like to A/B test it a bit with a new list if it doesn’t work out or another thing that I like to do is to add the benefits in my follow up emails.

The final line/paragraph is the most important one in my important. You must must must have a call to action. Remember, the goal here is to see if they are interested. I want to know if this product is even worth building, so I simply ask if they are interested in the product. I wanted to make their life even easier.

I know if I can hop on a quick 15 minute call with them, I will know their needs and how I can make the product even better. I’m a big fan of the Calendly app. We use it for all our call scheduling and it allows the person to pick a time that works for them.

The last thing that we included was a “P.S. Fellow piano player here”. This takes personalization to a whole new level and now you have another reason to follow up with the person that you are emailing.

Don’t forget the call to action at the end of the cold email!!!

With that cold email, the lead that we emailed bought later that day after a 8 minute short call! Woo hoo! Sale made, product validated, now I just needed a few more!

Funny thing is that he was using Calendly to schedule calls too hehe. Cold email itself has a huge return on investment.

How to do quick research for cold email in 2 short minutes.

Earlier in this post, I mentioned that I was going into how to do lead research in a 2 short minutes. Research is what makes you stand out. Our first paragraph in the cold email work because of the research we did on the person we are emailing prior to even crafting the email.

The biggest misconception about cold emailing is that cold emailing is spam, which is wrong. People put a bad rep behind cold emailing because they make it look like spam. People approach cold emailing like cold calling, which sucks.

If your emails are personalized, then it shouldn’t seem like a Mailchimp newsletter spam. It should seem like a friendly postcard or a friendly warm call.

This is where the research kicks in!

The first step to doing quick research is to make sure that the person you are emailing is a good fit for what you are offering them. If you are cold emailing to look for a job, you want to make sure that the employer is actually hiring someone with your requirements.

If you are looking to make a sale, you want to make sure that the company is actually a good fit for your product. I won’t go in depth on that, but you should do your homework ahead of time when building your initial cold email lead list.

Let’s say you did do your homework and know for a fact that this person/company is a great fit, your next step would be to find something personal that you can relate to them on. Maybe you’re both a piano player or a huge San Francisco 49ers fan, all of these work!

Check their company/personal website

By simply browsing their blog or website, you will be able to find something that you can use. In the cold email above, we spotted an explainer video, so we took a quick minute to watch it. I took the shortcut of just skimming through it :). 80/20!

Most companies like to post updates about their product’s new update and releases on their blog. I like to use that as an introduction paragraph by telling them how I like the new feature that they release a few days ago.

Some personal blogs include an interview that he/she was recently featured on. I like to skim through the interview and pull out some interesting facts.

That’s a major plus when reaching out to them! 🙂

Browse their Linkedin profile

In addition to just visiting their site, you can always look at their Linkedin profile. Linkedin is like the modern resume platform.

I personally take a look at everybody’s Linkedin profile before reaching out to them. You will be surprised how often I find new job updates or maybe some mutual connections that we share.

Congrats them for being at their current company for a certain time.

A quick thing to read when looking at the person’s Linkedin profile is to read their biography. Not everyone has a detailed bio description, but most of them do put something that you can learn from.

For this blog post, I randomly clicked on the first person I saw when I logged into Linkedin and took a quick glance at their bio. Here’s what it says,

“Founder, entrepreneur, dreamer. {This Person} been creating educational games for toddlers since 2006, and he and his team have created over 800 of them. In 2012, they launched {Company name} — a platform with educational games that teach social skills for kids 2–5 years old. He believes that these simple activities help make the world better place.”

This simple biography was straight-forward and took me less than 30 seconds to read. Without having to read further, I already have enough information to craft a personalized introduction paragraph for my cold email.

Asking for introductions is one of my most favorite tactics to cold emails because once the introduction is made, the email is not cold anymore.

This section isn’t about introductions. I will save that for another post, but browsing Linkedin quickly will allow you to find out more information about the lead rather quickly. This combined with visiting their blog and company website is more than enough for you to find something personal.

If you want to make it even more personalized, visit their Twitter account or do a quick Google on their name.

Don’t have time for personalized research?

That’s cool. I know your busy and wasting time researching on sales lead might not be the most fun thing to do. Just hit us up at GrowthOK . Tell us the type of lead you are looking for and the research that you need and we’ll get them for you for an affordable price. Simple 🙂


Again, this experiment was just a quick experiment for me to validate my idea before actually building it. We did this with a simple ugly landing page and a bunch of cold emails. What were the results? Within 3 days, we received 4 pre-sales, which gave us more than enough validation to start building out our product. The next step would be to make it the best product and build out a process and plan around this to scale out the product.

For this specific experiment, we also did a lot of subject line testing as well as follow up emails, but I’ll save that for another blog post.

In my next blog post, I’ll show more examples of how you can use cold email efficiently, come up with subject lines that convert, follow up emails and many more.

Wilson Jian P

How To Network And Close Deals Rapidly At Conferences And Events

Attending a conference could be a heavy investment for a bootstrapped startup. Just think about the price of a conference ticket, plus travel, and accommodation cost. I’ve personally attended over 15 conferences in the last year and I’m starting to gain more and more value out of each and every single one.

Just like everything else in life, it takes time and practice. Time is the best experience gainer.

In this article, I’m going to show you actual examples of exactly how I do my preparation before any conference that I attend and how I cold email everyone I want to meet prior to attending the actual conference. I’ll also share some tips on how I maximize the value I get out of the conference and take advantage of every single opportunity that I come across.

Do your research and prepare ahead of time for every conference

By doing your research, I don’t mean just navigating around their homepage and looking at the speaker’s profiles. You want to get involved with the community as much as possible weeks if not months ahead of time.

Let’s take a recent conference I attended as an example. A few months back, I attended SaaStr. Saastr is a conference held annually, hosted by Jason Lemkin, for people in the Software as a software space. Some of the biggest startups and most successful tech companies along with over 5000+ tech founders will be attending, so I knew for sure that I needed to be there as well.

For every single conference of this size, there’s almost always always a dedicated mobile app for people to network ahead of time. I’ve noticed that most conferences use a company called DoubleDutch to help them put together this app.

Here was the landing page for the SaaStr app by DoubleDutch. Anyone could download this app. You did not need to buy a ticket to the event in order to get access to this app. This is why it helps to Google around, read some blog post, and most importantly get involved with the community ahead of time.

Here’s another screenshot of what you can do with the app:

As you can see, the app allows you to view speakers, the agenda, photo feed, map, surveys and many more. The most important feature that you want to take advantage of in this app is their attendee feature. This allows you to view every single attendee that will be attending SaaStr.

The activity feed is extremely important too because the activity feed is similar to the Facebook newsfeed where people can post photos, ask for coffee meetings, and start conversations with each other.

Take Notes

Run through the list of attendees and check through the activity feed. Start to jot down a list of people that you want to meet and network with during the conference. If you’ve read my other blog post, I like to keep it simple with Google spreadsheets. I’ll create a column for their first name, last name, company, email, and any other necessary information I need to include.

Keep it simple and put things on a spreadsheet on Google Drive.

Facebook group

Every big conference will usually have a dedicated community expert that is in charge of answering community questions, creating Facebook groups, Slack groups etc. Doing a simple search on Facebook will usually bring up some results.

SaaStr has a Facebook group that you can join where people ask for coffee meets prior to the event. Join this group and see who you want to network with, respond to them or even message them directly. This is the time to add more contacts to your current spreadsheet that you just created. Again, start this as early as possible.

Slack Groups

Slack is one of the best modern platform for team communication, but people have been using it for different reasons. Buffer has an active Slack group for people to engage with other Buffer users.

I’m apart of Sales Stack’s slack group where there are a lot of startup founders in the sales and lead generation space. They have a dedicated channel for events and during SaaStr, the Slack group had a channel dedicated for people who were going to attend the SaaStr event. I went through the channel and found people I wanted to connect with and added them to my spreadsheet.

Reddit and other communities is a great place to start searching for people who will be attending SaaStr as well, so I took advantage of that as well. Another great site you can use is Lanyrd. Lanyrd will have every conference from big to small. It shows all the speakers and some attendees. It’s another place to start sourcing potential targets.

Reaching out via cold email

I live and breath cold emails, so with a big list of people that I created. What I like to do at this point is connect with them and send them a cold email. The main goal of this cold email is to make a quick introduction of myself, make it personalize, and try to connect with them either prior, during, or after the conference. This could be lunch or a quick coffee, but I want to grab some time with them.

For example, a while back I attended a conference in Seattle called Seattle Interactive Conference. I did my research and looked through the speaker’s list. I wanted to connect with Joanna, who was one of the speakers that was going to be giving a talk at the event. I heard about her through a few podcast and loved the way she approached growth, so I decided to send her a cold email a few weeks ahead of time.

She responded a day later saying:

That is exactly what I did. I attended her talk, took down some notes, and approached her after her talk was finished. I told her who I was and that I sent her an email ahead of time. She said that she remembers me and we were able to connect afterwards! Score!!! Connected with someone new and got to briefly learn more about each other. Meeting with someone in person face to face is much more valuable than any Skype or message, but you have to start this off with a cold email introduction to warm things up 🙂

At the same event, I wanted to connect with Rand from Moz. He was going to be speaking there and everyone wants to meet Rand. I was actually thinking about doing a podcast at that time and I wanted to interview him for sure, but I knew he receives a ton of those request daily, so I had to stand out of the crowd in order to get some time on his calendar.

Again, cold email outreach time!

I blurred out some part because it was really personal. It was about personal issues in life, so I decided to leave that out, but as you can see. I gave my introduction and ended it with a strong call to action by asking him for a quick coffee. I made the email as personalized as possible.

I structured my cold email pretty well and received a response in less than a day.

This was the typical response that I was expecting from someone as busy as Rand, but that was all that I needed because I knew I could approach him once I have a chance and tell him that I already connected with him ahead of time.

So what did I do? I attended his talk, asked questions to stand out, and then approached him. With that, I was able to connect with him and send him more emails afterwards for the podcast interview as well as to connect with him again in-person in Seattle. It worked!!! I was able to network with some of the best people in their space because of this.

Again my goal was to stay in contact with him after multiple connections and get him on a podcast interview. Here was his response through email:

I used the exact same method to network with 12+ other people prior to the event. Most of them were targeted leads and ideal customers for my company GrowthOK.

Since those people were less swamped, I was able to grab lunch, dinner, coffee with them easily, but it was all thanks for my early research, taking the advantage of the app, and sending a cold email at least a week ahead of time.

From that conference itself, I was able to close 6 medium sized deals which makes my ROI for all my travel and ticket cost worthit!

Skipping out on the talks

When I first started attending conferences, I use to attend at least 40% of the talks, but then I realize that I was just randomly walking into rooms and listening to hours worth of talks without gaining too much value out of it. So, nowadays I tend to skip out of most talks. I look at the agenda ahead of time and only attend the talks that I actually want to sit in. This is usually nomore than 2 or 3 talks.

For an action packed conference like SaaStr, I like to spend my time walking around and visiting every single booth where I feel that I can get a customer out of. I try to spend less than 5–10 minutes at every single booth to maximize my time. Here’s what I do when I visit the booth. A great way to start finding booth is to look under the sponsor list. Every company that sponsors an event will usually have a booth at the event.

  1. Visit the booth (avoid the ones that are overpacked)
  2. Ask them what their company does, let them give their pitch, and then give them a quick introduction on what you do and how you can help them.
  3. Exchange business cards (too many of them will stack up).
  4. Ask them for their Linkedin on the spot.
  5. Connect with them immediately on Linkedin with a personalized message. This makes you stand out of all the Linkedin request they get.
  6. Send a quick tweet to them. (Nice meeting you at the conference, I’ll send you an email).
  7. Send a short and personalized email to schedule a time.
  8. IF they are interested in what you do, book a demo call immediately on the spot.
  9. Send an email as soon as possible. Find a seat at the event, use the wifi and start catching up on the emails.

Events and dinners at conference

This is one of the most important part of maximizing your value at any conference that you attend. For every conference, there are almost ALWAYS a few events for people who get in a few days early prior to the actual conference. Usually these are drink parties or dinners.

The good thing about events prior to the conference is that the amount of people attending is rather small. Not everyone has arrived yet, and this is the best time to cold network with people who arrived early. Go to every single one of these event and be one of the first ones there. Being the first one there will allow you meet anyone that comes in the door right after you. This is the best way to build one on one connections. In addition to that, there’s almost always a 30 min — 1 hour networking session before the panels or dinner actually start.

For example after the first day of SaaStr, there were over 10 after party events with topics ranging from “How to sell to developers” to “Customer success”. If your company is one of those space, you want to be at those event because your ideal customers are there.

Being the first one there allowed me to greet everyone that was walking in the door and I was able to exchange contact information using the same method I did at the booth. This allowed me to close over 6 deals at just one event. It’s all about the cold email and follow up emails afterwards. It’s your job to make sure you connect with them afterwards in order to get the most value out of it.

I hope this helps all the sales peeps looking to attend conferences. Remember, conferences are short, so the ones that succeed the most are the ones that do their homework ahead of time!

Feel free to share your thoughts below or hit me up on Twitter @itswilson8