The cold email this CEO opened immediately

I’ve been tango-ing with the topic of cold outreach recently.

(The Backlinko cold email study, the research outreach methodology I’m using to reach busy people in their inboxes, etc.)

And part of the reason for that is I’d like to clear the fog and assuage some of the trepidation that even those principals most committed to rapid growth have about venturing into an important stranger’s inbox.

The gist of a discovery conversation I had recently:

“I’m concerned about using cold email. I personally get so many of these totally irrelevant emails every day, I would hate to do the same. I’m not sure the decision makers I need to reach out to will respond to this.”

To which I replied:


Yup, that would totally be the case if that’s what you’re doing. But I would never suggest you do that thing.

Here’s what I mean.

Ramit Sethi recently highlighted an important “secret about busy people” and analyzed why he opened one cold email in particular almost immediately (despite likely receiving more email in one day than most people do in a month):

“First, a secret about busy people: no matter how stuffed our inboxes are, we love getting email when it’s good.”

Here’s the email in question:

cold email CEO example

Now, I can already hear the writing-off scribbling away in the background:

Oh, well that’s just a student. People reply to students.

Oh, well most CEOs aren’t like this guy. Wouldn’t work for us.

Oh, well this person is traveling to him and leveraging that to score a meeting. That’s not scalable.

And to that, I’ll leave it to ole’ Henry:

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”

Limiting beliefs are a thing, people.


If you’re interested in lead generation that doesn’t involve (a) doing a rain dance in your office, hoping the new client gods will drop some business in your lap, or (b) asking your network for yet another favor like that cousin who never gave your blazer back after your niece’s wedding 3 years ago…

I encourage you to read Ramit’s analysis and ponder whether this is something worth pursuing in your neck of the woods.

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