Cold pitching can transform your life, business, career, all of it.
There’s a saying:
Closed mouths don’t get fed.
If you want something—clients, exposure, a bigger network, a mentor—you have to ask for it.
But there’s a right and wrong way to ask. Most people do it the wrong way because of laziness.
Learn how to successfully pitch strangers on the internet by using these techniques.
Most people don’t understand this key aspect of selling anything
It’s way easier to sell something if you have a product or service you actually believe in. If you want to pitch people to bring them to your cause, it’s easier if you make yourself valuable.
The more reasons someone has to work with you in the first place, the easier it’ll be to pitch them.
This is a problem people have when it comes to all aspects of trying to get what they want. They never stop to consider whether they’re even worthy of it.
If you want to pitch clients for your service, make sure you have the skills to effectively deliver it. If you want to pitch people to share your content with their audience, make sure your content is worth sharing.
Let’s say you’re inexperienced and looking for mentors. At a minimum, be able to show that you’ve spent a considerable amount of time trying to solve your own problems first.
Even if you don’t have a ton of experience and influence, focus on developing a skill that’s useful to other people. For example, if you can get really good at a specific niche skill—that many can’t perform—it doesn’t matter how much experience you have. The uniqueness of that skill helps you stand out.
Let’s assume that you have something valuable to share and now you’re trying to reach out to others to help yourself grow either personally or professionally.
Here’s how to reach out to others and get them to say yes
1. THIS is key to making authentic connections
If you want a person or company to take the time to read your pitch, you need to give them a compelling reason to do so. Most people pitch in a way that’s very impersonal and templated, which is a big turnoff.
There’s a saying in online advertising called “banner blindness.” Banner ads essentially became invisible to people browsing online because they’d seen them so often. The same thing can be said about impersonal pitches. People who receive these pitches become blind to pitches in general unless that pitch does something that stands out.
This is where relational anchors come in. A relational anchor is something that creates a genuine connection and shows that you aren’t just trying to get something from them.
Some examples of relational anchors are:
Telling a content creator that you’ve shared their content with others (including a screenshot enhances this effect)
Telling a person or company that you’ve purchased and used one of their products
Taking the time to point out something you like about the person or brand that takes a bit of digging to find out
I pitch people to partner with my business all the time. I start by pitching people I’m actually familiar with because it makes the process that much easier. I may not know them personally, but people appreciate it if you’ve admired them from afar; it makes you feel less like a stranger even if you are a total stranger.
2. Create win-win scenarios
Any time you’re trying to pitch yourself, your first question should be:
What’s in it for them?
Yes, you’re pitching because you want something, but your pitches won’t land if you don’t create a win-win scenario.
You pitch someone to come on their podcast. They get valuable content, you get exposure
You pitch someone a product or service that fills a need. They get the service, you get money
You offer someone something valuable for free. They get help, you get on their radar
You want to make a win-win:
Easy for the person on the other side to say yes
Low effort for the person to fulfill
As friction-free as possible
A bad example of a pitch that seems like a win-win but isn’t is something like:
I want you to be my mentor. I will do anything you want for free.
It violates the rules above. You’re making the person think about what they might need instead of telling them exactly what you’ll do. You’re trying to extract time from them. Instead of removing friction and making things easy, you’re adding something to their plate.
Bottom line: people who get good at pitching have self-awareness and empathy. They can step outside of themselves and view the pitch from the other person’s perspective.
Now let’s take a look at some good rules of thumb for sending pitches.
3. Practice proper cold pitching etiquette
A good pitch should look something like this:
Relational anchor: Start the message by showing love and building a connection
Brief intro: Include who you are and the reason why the other person should care
Describe the ask: Tell them what you want as well as how it benefits both of you
Make the ask: A simple “are you interested?” works
Things to avoid:
Saying thanks in advance or making any statements that assume someone is obligated to respond
Anything that screams neediness. Always have a take-it-or-leave-it approach
Here’s an example of a cold pitch I sent
First off, huge fan. We’ve interacted a bit back and forth over the years and I’ve always been a big fan of your Twitter page (I have all of your courses, too).
My mission is to use Twitter as a major growth engine for 2022 and I’ll be using your guides to achieve it.
I also remember you writing on Medium quite a bit back in the day. It’s the platform I’ve used to make a six-figure income writing myself, which is why I’m reaching out.
Because your audience is always looking for ways to build their audience and make money writing, I think getting me on to talk about Medium would be huge for them.
We could find a cross-promotion mechanism that works well for you—guest post, guest email, or webinar
I can share on:
How I’ve made over $424k just writing blog posts on Medium
How you can literally copy/paste your way to revenue using it (they allow you to repost from your blog)
Using the platform’s built-in audience to grow your email list (they let you get paid and add calls to action to your email list—it’s wild)
I see it as a win-win. You get to introduce your audience to a money-making strategy they may not have heard of and I can expose them to my teaching.
Are you interested?
4. When it comes to cold pitching, don’t be afraid to try again
This pitch led to a yes, but not on the first try.
People’s inboxes are flooded, especially those who have large audiences or have important roles at successful companies. You shouldn’t expect people to respond on the first try and you must understand that tactfully following up with people is a necessity,
If I don’t get a response I will send this message a few days later:
Hey there, just floating this to the top of your inbox 🙂
If I still don’t get a response, I will send something like this:
Just wanted to follow back up on this one last time.
I’d love to help [company name] teach their students how to thrive on Medium & find a way for us to partner together in a mutually beneficial way.
Are you interested?
If I still don’t get a response, I’ll make a last-ditch effort:
You obviously weren’t interested in my offer. No worries at all.
If you have 2 minutes, would you mind telling me why not?
I’m constantly looking to improve and would love to learn from you.
Learn lessons along the way
Often, people will respond and provide reasons why they decided not to accept your offer. Sometimes the timing isn’t right. Often, the person you’re reaching out to is very selective about who they choose to work with and you didn’t fit the bill even though you did your best.
Understand that pitching people is a numbers game. Most people are going to say no. Sometimes you have to follow up with someone a ridiculous amount of times to get their attention.
Maintaining a positive attitude, being polite, and following up works if you give it enough time and effort. I’ve done deals with people who’ve reached out to me a half-dozen times.
Often, I was just busy or didn’t feel like prioritizing their message. But, I do keep tabs on the people who send pitches that don’t suck. If time allows, I’ll usually hear them out.
It doesn’t take much to stand out because most pitches flat-out suck. They suck because the people who send them are lazy. They don’t take the time to get to know their prospect at all and they send needy messages that seek to do nothing but take from the other person.
Do the opposite and you’ll win.
If you do cold pitching often enough, you’ll get good at it
You have to do it a lot. In the beginning, it will suck. Most people will either say no or ignore you because your pitches aren’t that good yet. The numbers game can be grueling because of the sheer volume of messages you have to send.
Some entrepreneurs recommend sending 100 cold pitches per day.
It seems like a lot, but logically, anyone who did this and refined their methods would eventually find success. They’d have more clients, partnerships, exposure, and a bigger network.
But, like any skill or goal that takes delayed gratification, most people are unwilling to do what it takes.
Stop looking for the easy way out. Stop making excuses. Do the work and you’ll win.