Emailing strangers will change your life: The 3-part cold email system that made a kid from Missouri $30M.
Reach out to that big name, with confidence.
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In 2014, a kid from Missouri with $1000 to his name, sent out a handful of emails.
Never having met the recipients, he knew his chances of a response were slim.
7 years later—not only had he become a successful entrepreneur living in San Francisco—but he was about to sell his first company for $30,000,000.
That kids name was Sam Parr, and for the past 2 months I’ve been devouring everything I can about him and his story.
I’ve read every article
Listened to every podcast
and dissected every tweet
And what I can say without a doubt is, his entire success was built on the back of contacting and persuading strangers.
In other words: Cold Emailing.
I want to dive into exactly how Sam, and other incredible networkers, think about crafting, short, punchy, and highly persuasive text.
And by the end, I want you to feel confident shooting your shot with anyone.
Let’s get started.
Part 1: Detective Mode
Your ability to persuade people you don’t know, is the difference between the life you have, and the life you want.
In this section, I’m going to teach you about how to prepare before you even start writing.
If you can master the preparation, you’ll set yourself up for some truly life changing encounters. As a result, your emails will be:
People completely forget to prepare.
Do you know who the most prepared talk show host on the planet is?
Not Oprah, not Anderson Cooper, no…
Hist name is Sean Evans, the host of Hot Ones.
If you’ve haven’t seen it, its an interview show with a twist. Celebrities like Idris Elba, Elizabeth Olsen, and Neil DeGrasses Tyson—all answer questions, while eating super spicy hot wings.
The strange thing is, Sean Evans is just a normal guy.
So how is he able to interview the biggest names on the planet?
By conducting meticulous research on each guest.
He then uses his finding to ask the most absurdly detailed, and obscure questions.
Which his guests love.
Here are some examples:
Is it true that you made a song with your 6th grade teacher Mr. Swing? —to Jack Harlow
Whats the most harrowing experience you had as a young man, and member of an underground New York City poker club? — to David Harbour
Fact or fiction: You used to have police lights on your truck and you once pulled over Darius Miles on the freeway and made him late for Clippers practice? —Shaq
It’s mind-blowing to watch, and his guests adore him for it.
“That’s a great question, you really did your research!” is a common response.
That should be your goal too.
Before sending your first email, you want to be so familiar with the recipient, that they compliment you on your diligence.
Here’s how to prepare, step-by-step.
Step 1: Stalk them on social media.
Online, people are serving you their life story on a silver platter. You just need to know where to look.
First start with traditional social media stalking.
We’ve all been there.
Ex-boyfriends, new hires, and high school classmates.
We’ve Facebook stalked them all.
But where so many people go wrong is by only reading about what the person publishes on Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.
You need to find the real, off-script information. Some good places to start are:
Don’t be afraid to go way back.
This is where you get to know them as a person, and not as a professional figure or celebrity.
By the time the step is over you should be able to write the biography of your recipient.
So make sure you dig.
Step 2: Interact with them before the email!
So many people go wrong by never actually interacting with the person they’re trying to reach out to.
You should be liking and leaving comments on their posts, in the days —and weeks—leading up to the big email.
What your shooting for is the faintest familiarity (keeping your profile picture the same across all social media will really help).
We’re all more likely to have a conversation with an acquaintance, than a complete stranger.
Step 3: Find places of commonality!
Everything was leading up to this.
The point of all your previous research was to find things that you and the recipient have in common.
Here are some things you might be looking for:
Where did they go to school?
Do they do CrossFit?
Do they have a dog?
Do they love rock climbing?
What are their favorite books?
Who are their mentors?
What city do they live in?
All of this research led to one single thing.
Finding this seed of commonality.
When you send that first email, you’re planting it. This is the foundation of your connection.
Part two: Write to Influence
The 4-Step Strategy That Made Sam Parr $30,000,000, and Turned Him Into The King of Cold Email.
Like I mentioned in the beginning Sam Parr is the King of cold email.
But despite being one of the most well networked people in the world, most people have no idea how he did it.
Honestly neither did I.
So I took it upon myself to read over 28 articles of his to study exactly how—and see if I could find a repeatable framework I could use myself to become a Cold Email God.
50 hours later here’s what I learned.
But first, a few interesting data points to give you context in case you’re unfamiliar with Sam.
He got hist first job in San Francisco by cold emailing the founders of AirBnb.
In his first year there, he hosted a conference that generated $250,000. How did he get the CEO of Pandora to deliver the keynote speech? You guessed it. Cold email.
He met Shaan Puri by asking him— through cold email—if he could use his office space for free. 5 years later, they’re co-hosting a Top 10 Business podcast together.
He recently sold his company The Hustle for $30,000,000. How did he find investors? I think you get the picture.
Needless to say, he’s one of the best in the world at writing cold emails.
So… what can we learn?
Sam’s 3-Step Framework For Achieving Cold Email Mastery.
From my research, all of his success can be boiled down to a very simple process.
Pair this framework with the sheer guts it takes to email your heroes, and you get a potent combination.
Let’s dig in:
Step 1: Capturing Attention
For Sam everything begins with attention.
The reason is, if you can’t harness someone’s attention within the first few seconds, your email will never get read.
To do this Sam does the following:
Writes like he speaks.
This doesn’t mean you should be crass, but it’s okay to use some common slang or acronyms like “lol”. Even putting asides in parenthesis can give your writing a personal touch (just like this).
Starts the email in an unexpected way.
You have 4 seconds to capture their attention. So put something compelling in the very first line. Sam once made personalized custom GIFs as his first sentence. It worked brilliantly.
Uses a subject line that is highly personal.
You want the subject line to be 100% tailored to the person’s interests. So specific to them, that it couldn’t possibly be spam.
Simple but highly effective.
Step 2: Building Interest
The next thing Sam focuses on is interest.
He does this by using compelling statistics that directly apply to the person he’s talking to.
The biggest mistake you can make at this stage is mentioning anything about yourself. You should only be talking about how you can help make your recipient’s life better.
Tailor every word to their interest.
When he was pitching speakers to come to his first conference, he used lines like:
“500 people will be there watching”
“If you come and speak, it will help you hire new engineers”
“It’s free marketing for your business”
This is what separates Sam from the competition, and makes him stand out. I consider this to be his “secret sauce”.
Which leads us to….
Step 3: Harnessing Desire
But the real reason Sam is so successful at cold email outreach is because he’s obsessive about:
Saving people time
Making people money
Put everything you say in your email through those two filters.
If a sentence fails either of those two tests—and it’s not clear how the recipient will make money or save time by answering you—delete it.
The goal is to make the person your emailing feel like they’re actually losing something if they don’t answer.
This combined with attention and interest is what makes Sam so successful.
When you start writing, keep these steps in mind, and who knows, maybe you’ll be the next Sam Parr of Cold Email!
Part three: You have to ask directly
Now bringing it all to a close, the final step.
How to seal the deal….
Structuring your ask is one of the most important parts of writing any good email.
If you’ve spent all this time researching, and writing, but fail at the ask, there’s no way your recipient will follow through.
By learning how ask like a pro, you’ll be:
More likely to get a yes
and more likely to continue the relationship into the future.
But what everyone gets wrong when asking is…
They don’t have the guts to be specific.
And when you don’t have the courage to ask for what you want, you end up settling for something unclear.
Offering to hop on a call.
Making open ended requests for people’s time.
Asking for an answers that can be easily googled.
But all is not lost.
Here’s how you can be courageously specific, and structure the perfect ask.
Step 1: Narrow to one single request!
Your requests needs to be singular and specific.
You need to be asking for one single action. The next step in the process.
A strategic way to go about this is, whittle your request down to its smallest form. This allows you to get a quick yes, as opposed to a no—or worse an ignore.
Compare the two asks:
BAD: Would you be willing to hop on a quick call with me? If not would you mind referring me to someone for…
BETTER: If you have just 15 minutes to talk about (X), between 3-4pm this Thursday, that would be incredible! All you have to do is reply with a simple yes, and I’ll sort everything else out.
The second is clear as crystal.
It also feels a lot easier to say yes to. It’s just a 15 minute call, and all the other details will be handled.
That’s the goal.
Because once you have a “yes” under your belt, they are far more likely to say yes to other things in the future.
Step 2: Get a huge upside by asking for the least effort!
Don’t get greedy.
Most people want an email to change their lives. But they don’t take into consideration how difficult it will be for the person they’re asking.
This is a mistake.
One of the worst things you can ask for from a busy person is mentorship. It has all the features of a terrible request:
Requires repeated contact
A longterm time commitment
Highly involved, or complicated
While mentorship will certainly change your life, it will also change theirs.
That’s not the goal.
Instead, what you’re looking for is something that will only take them five minutes to do, but will change your life forever.
Structuring your ask in this way will require some serious thought.
But if you’re able to do it, your odds of approval are significantly increased.
Step 3: Give them a way out!
You’ve almost structured the perfect ask, but there’s one thing missing.
You need to give the recipient an easy way out.
You don’t want to pressure them.
You don’t want to make it awkward for them to say no.
You don’t want them to feel like you have the upper hand.
Instead you need to make it clear that if they can’t help you, it’s okay.
You’d think this would hurt your chances—but strangely it does just the opposite.
It increases your likelihood of a response, and a response is an open-door.
That open-door means you could continue the conversation, even if you get an initial “no”.
And maybe one day—restructure your ask and try again.
By using all three steps above, you are guaranteed to craft a compelling ask.
One that, if not answered with a yes, is far more likely to get a response then just simply being ghosted.
10-Step Cold Email Checklist
Here’s the checklist for crafting the perfect cold email:
Deep research of the person you’re reaching out to.
Interact with them on social media for 3 weeks leading up.
Find what you have in common, that’s your seed.
Super personal subject line.
Unique attention grabbing opener.
Give them a compelling stat.
Describe how, “saying yes”, will make their life better.
Ask for one specific thing at the end.
Make sure your ask will require minimum effort from them.
Give them a way to easily say no.
Now get out there!
P.S. Bonus tip. The PS section is one of the most read portions of any email. Make sure to include one!