I recently asked a question on Facebook which drew some very heated and polarised responses.

In just a few days the post has received over 67 comments with many people quite emphatic in their views.

My question was simply ‘If a Facebook connection you have never spoken to, direct messages you offering free training – is that offensive?’

Here is a snip of my post today 4 days later.

How Do You Craft A Cold Outreach Message That Works?, Facebook connection you have never spoken

Many responses in the comments were benign, ‘it’s not a pitch’ and ‘I ignore it if I don’t want it,’ or ‘It’s fine by me.’

Others were in all caps – DELETE/ BLOCK !!

People responded to each other in the comments, pointing out it was an invasion of privacy, unsolicited spam, akin to someone braking down your house door to sell you something.

Each of us have preferences of what we find acceptable and what we find annoying when it comes to cold outreach.

Our tolerance for for being approached also changes across different platforms.

We feel differently about cold outreach on Facebook vs LinkedIn for example.

And different again on email or even in person.


How does one approach a cold stranger and turn that conversation into a warm sales conversation?

I have a few points to share that I think might help.

#1. EVERYBODY we have met in our life, outside of our family, was a cold stranger once.

We get to know people by building relationships and giving and taking value from each other.

We get to know business prospects by networking, referrals and word of mouth, or by being visible via thought leadership [writing, speaking, publications].

For social media this means organically growing a following or network base by sharing value in the form of content, posts, lives, videos, articles, free resources and more.

The critical step in business networking is getting to know the RIGHT PEOPLE. This starts with making sure your targeting is on point.

#2. There are people in the world who REALLY NEED YOU.

It’s likely you started your business in large part because you love using your skills and knowledge to really help people.

There is a demographic of people out there in the world in pain because of challenges they cannot solve that you can.

It’s almost your duty to go out and find them, introduce yourself to them, get to know them and let them get to know you.

An old illustration goes thus ‘do you feel awkward handing out $10,000 in cash?’ Not likely. It’s just pure value to others.

If you know what you do can REALLY help others you should feel bold meeting strangers, getting to know them and offering to help.

The critical step in business development is to make sure your offer message resonates with what they NEED and WANT.

#3. Cold messaging should be about THEM not YOU.

Many cold outreaches start with an introduction of you and worse, your offer.

Don’t connect with someone and send a link, an invite or a request AT ALL.

Talk about them. Ask about them.

If you are targeted about who you approach you can assume they are struggling with certain pains and challenges.

Ask about these.

Acknowledge that they might have this problem in hand or have it mastered already. Show curiosity to learn more.

The critical step in cold messaging business prospects is to personalise as much as you can while at the same time being able to scale your outreach.

#4 Cold messaging should be permission based.

People object to being offered even free value, if they have not shown interest or given permission.

For this reason, lead with creative messaging that indicates you have something of value to them but they have to agree to want it.

Indicate you have done work to craft a solution to their problem but you won’t send it unless they are interested to know more.

The critical step in cold messaging businesses is to leave a call to action or invitation for more interaction if they are interested.

#5 Offer value.

Finally, be able to provide value in such a way that your prospect can gain instant value at low or no cost to them.

This is the secret to taking a cold prospect and turning them into a warm lead who wants to know more.

By offering value you break the ice and invite someone with a pain or challenge you can solve into a warm relationship based on trust and reciprocity.

From here you can nurture a business relationship as you would with any other close contact or lead.

Free value can come in the form of a free session with you, a video training, an eBook, or some other taster or experience.

The key is to craft that value in such a way that it leads to wanting more of your time and services in a natural and mutually beneficial way.

So to sum up ……

Cold outreach not only works in business but it is in fact the way we make all of our friendships and relationships all of our life.

If you engage in the right strategy and steps cold outreach can fill up your pipeline with potential business contacts at a fraction of the cost of paid advertising and other methods.

To your success!