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6 cold email examples you’ll want to steal right now

April 22, 2022
Jonathan Costet

Jonathan Costet

Selling Skills

All businesspeople get them.

They are usually bad to very bad (to awful).

Often they are automated.

They rarely include any customization or personalization.

Cold emails.

If I had a dollar for every terrible cold email I’ve received in my business career, well, let’s just say I would not be writing this article now.

But cold emails don’t have to suck. They don’t have to be deleted or unsubscribed from or marked as spam or replied with THIS IS SPAM TAKE ME OFF YOUR LIST IMMEDIATELY!

We’ve rounded up 6 of the most insanely-persuasive, guaranteed-to-rope-you-in, so-good-you’ll-want-to-steal-them emails. Examples that got replies, were shared on social media, and (many of them) ultimately helped book that ever-elusive booked meeting.

Cold emails so good you’ll want to steal them. In this case, you can.

Here are 6 of our favorite cold email examples.

Cold Email Example #1: It’s not about you (it’s about the prospect)

Let me tell you all about how great I … cough cough … my product is.

Feature dump. We do this. We are the best. Here are some of our logos. Read what our customers say about us. 

Blah blah blah. It’s like that Farside cartoon about what dog owners say and what the dog actually hears.

Once you start talking about yourself/your company and how amazing you are, your buyer tunes out. In email-speak, this means they deleted your email. Or worse, mark it as spam. Even worse? Your name/company name may leave a bad taste in their mouth. First impressions matter.

So Gong’s Sr. Account Executive, Madison, took the opposite approach in this incredible cold email to Kevin:

SUBJECT LINE: Re: Giving vs. Taking / Problem Finder vs. Product Pusher. 

Hi Kevin,

Read your recent LinkedIn article The 4:1 Give-Get Sales Formula, and as a pretty green AE, it was great advice to remember as I start, and progress my sales career.

It also feels a little hypocritical of myself to then be reaching out to you, seeing you downloaded some of Gong’s content, to try to earn some time with you.

However, given your passion for helping clients solve problems vs. push products or your own agenda/interests, I can imagine you’re coaching your reps to do the same, and my intuition tells me there’d be valuable insights in learning where you can help improve how your reps interact with clients and bring in revenue.

Thoughts on exploring further? (I swear I’m not taking & faking you here, just genuinely interested in learning more about your business and how we could help)

All the best,


Lessons learned from Madison’s cold email: 

  1. Leads by making the email about the buyer, NOT Gong and NOT Revenue Intelligence (the product)
  2. “Go for No” pattern interrupt. (see #1 here)
  3. Continues with more content about the buyer (ripped straight from his LinkedIn bio), followed by how Gong can help solve the problem … void of marketing/corp jargon and product features/pitches.
  4. Wrapping with a non-threatening (warm) call to action — the Interest CTA! See more cold email stats here.

top performing CTA data

As Kevin Casey said in his full breakdown of Madison’s email, “Madison likely invested 5 minutes on LinkedIn to learn everything she needed to know about what makes me tick. And guess what? It felt special and genuine, and she then weaved that intel into the narrative that led back to her possible solution. It felt natural. It worked.”

Need a copy-paste-win template to get started?

Try these 7 irresistible cold email templates. They’re backed by data. They’re made for b2b sales reps. And they’re free.

best cold emails for sales

Cold Email Example #2: Take time to personalize

“A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.” 

Dale Carnegie once said this. “Remembering names of customers, prospects, networking contacts, and colleagues,” said Mr. Carnegie, “ is critical to your ongoing professional success.”

You know what else matters?

  • Including snowboarding in the subject line of your cold email (assuming the person you are sending to loves to snowboard). 
  • Continuing to incorporate snowboarding (buyer’s personal interest) into the entire email — value prop and CTA

That’s precisely what this cold email example is about. Here is what the example did so well, according to the recipient: 

  1. Used an “Irresistible subject line”: Shredding Pow = Shredding quarterly projections? It turns out Evan loves snowboarding. Wait. How did Madison know this personal fact? Hmmm … well … this is part of Evan’s LinkedIn bio: “In my spare time I enjoy traveling, snowboarding, and mountain biking.” That took all of 7 seconds to uncover.
  2. Strong opening (hook): “As an avid snowboarding and sales leader, you know that unlike when you’re boarding, you can’t always tell when an avalanche has occurred in one of your reps’ calls/accounts.” Enough to keep him reading, right? Oh, and more snowboarding themes
  3. Quickly establishes credibility and rapport: “And again, having just come from the Enterprise Account world myself, I know how important it is to ensure you aren’t blowing your only shot with these large-ticket accounts.” Madison demonstrates her understanding of what Evan does.
  4. More snowboarding in value prop + CTA: “ … email outcomes so you can coach your reps when they wipeout … + “If so, would you be open to learning more about how we help inside sales leaders … shred their way to more closed deals?”

Not too shabby, huh?

Here is the full cold email: 

cold email break down linkedin

Did the email “work?” Yup. ​​Per Evan, he responded to her email, and a dialogue began (and continued, at least on LinkedIn.

Read Evan’s full breakdown of (yet another) awesome cold email example.

Need inspiration for your next cold email? Grab these 11 hyper-persuasive sales email templates. It’s as easy as copy-paste-win.

Cold Email Example #3: Leverage the Law of Reciprocity (and Piñatas)

In 1984, Dr. Robert Cialdini aka “The Godfather of Influence” wrote a book titled Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. This NY Times Best Seller, outlines 6 “Principles of Persuasion” … one of which is reciprocity.

As Dr. Cialdini says here, “Simply put, people are obliged to give back to others in the form of a behavior, gift, or service that they have received first.”

This is the Law of Reciprocity

According to Dr. Cialdini, the key is “to be the first to give and to ensure that what you give is personalized and unexpected.” 

Sam Hyatt, Enterprise SDR at Gong, nailed it in this cold email to (An)Drew Bickers:

SUBJECT LINE: Your USPS Delivery: Piñata

Hi Drew –

USPS mentioned they delivered your gift today. Did it arrive? I saw that you’ve been traveling recently, so I hope it found it’s way to the family at least.

I thought I’d “take a swing” at catching your attention by sending a piñata to earn 15 minutes of your time. Even if the gesture is a bit corny – I hope you (or the girls) enjoy the candy :)

I know you follow us on Linkedin, were targeted while at Actsoft, and Dean mentioned you had an idea of what we do. But so much has changed since then, and we’d love to connect for just a purely educational chat so that when budgeting season does arrive you have a better understanding of what we’d be able to bring to NCC.

With all that being said, would you be open to setting aside some time next week?



Here is what Sam did with near perfection: 

  1. HE SNAIL-MAILED DREW A PIÑATA! End of story. The Law of Reciprocity says “to be the first to give and to ensure that what you give is personalized and unexpected.” First to give? Check. Unexpected? Check.
  2. Personalized the email: “I saw that you’ve been traveling recently, so I hope it found it’s way to the family at least … Even if the gesture is a bit corny – I hope you (or the girls) enjoy the candy :)” Sam did three things well here. First, he knew Drew had been traveling, called out the “corniness” of the gesture, and mentioned his girls. These specifics about Drew are readily available with a quick perusal on his LinkedIn profile. 
  3. A creative approach: Sam wrote, “I thought I’d “take a swing” at catching your attention by sending a piñata …” He tied in the pinata to the copy — “take a swing.” Well done.
  4. Did his homework: “I know you follow us on Linkedin, were targeted while at Actsoft, and Dean mentioned you had an idea of what we do.” Taking the time to learn about your prospect can pay huge dividends. 
  5. Soft close: Instead of saying, “how about 5 PM on Friday?” Sam went with more of an interest CTA, “would you be open to setting aside some time next week?” Nice.

How did Sam reply? By posting this on LinkedIn, of course. Pink Pinata in hand one hand, candy in another. Oh, and all while blowing a bubble (from the bubble gum Sam sent):

Cold Email Example #4: Learn about your prospects

The previous few cold email examples have leaned in on the tactic of personalization. 

This one also falls into the personalization and “learn about your prospects” category, but it goes further than doing your basic LinkedIn research.

Alli sent a killer cold email that got the attention of its recipient.

Alli learned a bit about her prospect by looking at some of her TikTok posts. It was there Alli uncovered a tidbit that would catch Amanda’s attention. Amanda got a new dog, a Goldendoodle puppy named Raider, to be specific.

The cold email included a line, “since I too am a doggos, I hope you can appreciate this analogy I crafted for you.” She then proceeded to talk about what Gong services can do for Amanda using dog language

Wow. Next level, right?

(VP of Sales) Amanda’s advice: “Take the TIME to LEARN about your prospects before you reach out to them. You’ll be far more successful than just dumping them into a sequence and hoping something will stick.”

Read (and watch) Amanda share what made this cold email so great.

Cold Email Example #5: Send a personalized letter and caricature

Want to stand out?

How about doing what this cold email example did: Send a personalized letter and caricature to the prospect.

While sending a caricature may be out of left field (and out of your personal skillset), it is not for Mike. As his LinkedIn short bio says, “Sales* during the week, Cartoonist on the weekends” it would seem that Mike is kinda sorta good at this drawing stuff. 

Check out what Mike sent Morgan: 

Wait. How did Mike know about Morgan’s love for Minnesota football? His LinkedIn bio states, “Very few people have an appreciation for fat guys. But as a former Big10 offensive lineman, I have found that both my teammates and now my professional peers value my substantial presence for my ability to remove obstacles and drive execution. #ilovewinning.”

What Mike did certainly falls into both the personalization and Law of Reciprocity buckets. However, the TYPED, SNAIL-MAILED LETTER is a stand-out move. No email that may get deleted without being read, but an actual letter. In the mail. With a super-personalized caricature of his buyer.

Cold Email Example #6: Donuts, puns, and persistence win.

This example is similar to the previous one (personalized letter and caricature), but it’s more punny.

Wait for it. 

One of Gong’s Enterprise Sales Development reps, Zach, sent a personalized letter and a package of “frost your own” donuts to Casey… who also happens to be a “Mother of Dragons (i.e. 3 young, enthusiastic boys)”, a “lover of dogs,” and an “Orangetheory Fitness advocate & enthusiast.” 

Yeah, I did my own sleuthing on LinkedIn. 

Fun fact. Like Morgan, Casey is also a B1G alum (PSU), though she did not play O-line, not that I know of, at least.

Here is what Zach’s letter said: 

I donut want my message to get lost in your inbox. Hope you and your 3 dragons (boys) enjoy the sweet treats! Would love to get the chance to show you how Gong is the solution sales leaders knead to drive revenue and execute deals consistently, at scale.


Donut want my message …

Solution sales leaders knead

Punny. Very very punny, Zach.

But beyond a personalized letter (and puns) and the donuts, Zach also played the long game in his persistence. According to Casey’s very detailed summary of what Zach did to score a meeting, he “did his research. Without ever speaking to me directly, he followed the breadcrumbs in my LinkedIn profile, and he tapped into the thing I care MOST about in my life – my kids.

He didn’t send me an Amazon gift card. He didn’t pay Khaleesi to send me a scripted video via Cameo. He didn’t send me an OrangeTheory heartbeat monitor with his company’s logo on it.”

*Not sure what Casey was referencing by great white shark, Alfred Dean, and 1959? Neither was I. It turns out Dean caught a 2,664-pound great white shark in 1959, the heaviest recorded fish ever.

Casey’s parting advice? “… for all those prospecting ninjas out there, trying hard to break through to your future buyers – be persistent, be personable, be purposeful, be creative, be patient.”

Well said, Casey. We’re also adding it to our favorite sales email examples.

Now get these hyper-persuasive sales email templates

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