Awful Cold Email Response rate

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Rank: Chimp | 13

Does anyone have any tips for increasing response rate? Should I be sending them out at a specific time and day of the week? Out of 30 emails, I got one reply. We had a 10 min conversation in which he ended saying I should call him again. I emailed him thanking him and asking " In learning more about PE or finance, in general, do you think there is anyone else I should talk to?" and he didn't respond. Should I just power through? I feel like there has to be a flaw in my email.

Quick Guide to Improving cold email response rate

Keep the email short and succinct. You don't want to overload them with information. Make it easier for them to send a quick reply.

  • Try alternating when you send the email.
  • Follow up on emails with calls
  • Alternate between times of day
  • You may have just reached out at a bad time

Personalize the email by adding in a quick common interest. It does not have to be much just a phrase or sentence. Use the subject line to catch attention. Put your undergraduate school name in the subject if it's an alumni etc.

Remember that it is still a numbers game. Reach out to as many people as possible.

from certified user @Dingdong08

I'm on the receipt side of cold emails and calls but replying to cold anything highly depends on when I receive the email/call. If I happen to be at my desk and not busy, I reply.

If I'm on the road, in meetings or just busy in general I'll likely forget. I like to help out kids and I try to reply but sometimes I just forget. I'd recommend persistence and alternating emails and calls.

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Comments (38)

Aug 14, 2014

A logical step would be for you to show us the e-mail...

Outside of that there are a bunch of basic points:

Try to personalize as much as you can -- point out something you have in common. Be concise -- don't make them read a novel to figure out what you want. Attention to detail -- if you spell a name or a name of a firm wrong, most people will ignore outright. Same goes for grammatical errors and such.

There's really no substitute for you showing us what you're writing.

Aug 15, 2014

Yah i guess your right i should do less but more focused
my template has been

subject =[school name] Undergraduate seeking professional advice

My name is [name] and I am a student at [school] majoring in
[technical non-fiance subject] and applied math. I want to pursue a career in [Private
Equity, IB] and you've clearly distinguished yourself in that field with
your work with [firm]. I was hoping I could speak
to you or someone else at your firm briefly about the industry. I know
you are busy and appreciate any time you can spare.

Thank you in advance and I hope to hear
from you soon.


other then the firm mention it has no specification. Any tips for personalizing it? Any glaring mistakes?

Aug 15, 2014

Tues-Thurs from 9-11am have worked best for me. I've had a fairly good response rate using that technique with a very similar template.

Aug 15, 2014

Maybe I'm emailing too late any tips for personalizing it?

Aug 15, 2014

Just my own opinion, but it's kind of flowery. You could definitely be more direct.

My name is __ and I am a ___(year)___ at __(School). I was hoping we could quickly grab lunch/coffee at your convenience in the coming weeks so I can learn more about your work in ___role___ at ___company___. If this sounds like it might be possible, please reply so we can set something up.

I'm almost always on the sending end, so someone who receives these e-mails might have a different perspective, but this has worked for me.

Aug 15, 2014

Do you go to a legit school?

Aug 16, 2014

I went to a pretty mediocre school. My rate was still much higher than that.

Aug 15, 2014

This is just my pov and I'm on the receipt side of cold emails and calls but replying to cold anything highly depends on when I receive the email/call. If I happen to be at my desk and not busy, I reply. If I'm on the road, in meetings or just busy in general I'll likely forget. I like to help out kids and I try to reply but sometimes I just forget. I'd recommend persistence and alternating emails and calls. Don't go Bud Fox and call everyday for a year but don't give up after a couple of attempts.

Regarding the content of your email, just don't have errors or make it too long.

Aug 15, 2014

my school is top 40 in us news ranking so it's not horrendous but it's business school is pretty bad. It has some clout in the region but I will be in ny during summers so it makes it difficult.

Aug 18, 2014

If the person does not respond, email again in a week. If they do not respond to that, call. If you don't get them, leave a message with the assistant. You probably won't get the call. If you don't get a call back in a few days call again. Good Luck

Aug 18, 2014

Email does sound a bit flowery. If I were to receive it I would not reply because definitely yours sounds like it's a mass email (would like to speak to you or someone at your firm). If they're giving you their time, the very least you can do is make it sound like you emailed them because you want to speak to them specifically.

A simpler template should work well (like the following):

"I am interested in learning more about IB and would like to speak to you about your experience at xyz bank at your convenience. I am available at (list a few days/times). If those do not work, please let me know when you will be available to speak and the best number to contact you on and I will rearrange my schedule to accommodate yours."

Disclaimer: I currently live in a country where networking isn't a huge part of the process, and used this template when I was already a SA and contacted people during the summer stint to learn more about other banks. Those reasons may be why rather than the template itself, but I had a pretty high reply rate with it.

Aug 18, 2014

The fact that you use 'their' where you should use 'there' is already one flaw in your email..

Aug 18, 2014

Who are you emailing? Do you have a connection to them in anyway? What level of seniority? A lot depending on who you are reaching out to as well. You might just be emailing the "wrong" people.

Aug 18, 2014

generally between 9 AM and 11:30 AM have worked for me

Aug 18, 2014

How are they supposed to trust you with a detailed pitchbook when you misuse "their." Ding. No response to you. You're shooting yourself in the foot with your spelling.

Also, ask IB specific questions. These people are busy. They don't have time to answer questions that can be searched on google about "finance in general."

"Do I need to be liked? Absolutely not. I like to be liked. I enjoy being liked. I have to be liked. But it's not like a compulsive need to be liked. Like my need to be praised."

    • 1
Aug 18, 2014

My suggestion is to follow up, I read the two hour job search (I did Fuqua MMS and the author is on the Career Management Staff), I seldom think business books are worth reading, but you can glean a lot from it, your local library should have a copy. You need to follow up. I invariably write an email a week or two later that says XYZ Alum (whatever I wrote in the first email) Following Up, then it usually goes:

Hello Mr. smith,
My name is John Doe, I (am a student at XYZ/recent grad from XYZ/whatever the connection is) I reached out (last week/earlier this month/previously), but we were unable to connect at the time, will you be free in the next week to talk?

Thank you,
John Doe

Following up makes a world of difference. I'd say my warm email, they are alums after all, response rate is probably 25% and I get another 10% on follow up, 1 out of 3 isn't bad.

Aug 18, 2014


Aug 18, 2014

10% as an undergrad is decent response rate. keep in mind that a million other kids at your school are targeting the same people and not everyone is keen to network. Plus it's hard to judge what you doing right / wrong without knowing more about your background. People who fits the IB hiring profile (3.5+ GPA, finance interest / internships, leadership, etc) will of course get a better response rate. Assuming that your reach out to people in an intelligent way (short and tailored email), networking is still a numbers game and a grind and just need to contact A LOT of people.

Aug 18, 2014

What time are you sending the emails and what's the format?

Aug 18, 2014

Few tips for emails:
Timing is important. Avoid Mondays, Fridays, holidays, and weekends. Shoot for sending emails around 9-11am, the statistically highest probable time for getting your email read.
Subject is important. Be descriptive and specific. "Undergrad at xxx university, interested in xxx firm" vs "phone call"
For content, keep short and simple (2-4 sentences). Be very thankful, appreciative, and sincere. They don't owe you anything.
If you have a strong resume, attach it. They will likely be curious and click it, be impressed, and more likely to reach back.

Few tips for getting more contacts:
Network like a tree. Once you get a contact, ask for more, maybe in a different area/at a different level than the one you are already talking to. Find alums through linkedin's alumni tool. Find contacts through your friends. Find contacts through your professors. Connect with recruiters, tell them your interests, ask them to put you in touch with someone. Even if you network with someone in ibd, they will likely be able to put you in touch with someone in ER. To avoid offending them phrase it like "I'm on the fence between ibd and ER, is there anyone you know who'd be able to tell me more about er so I can compare".

Hope that helps.

Aug 18, 2014

Information overload. Make it simpler and shorter.

Aug 18, 2014

It doesn't read well either.

Aug 18, 2014

It doesn't read well either.

so how would you fix it?

Aug 18, 2014

It doesn't read well but honestly it's better than 95% of the crap that is posted on here.

Aug 18, 2014

Lol, served. Dude, youre asking a guy for an informational interview, youre not giving him your resume. Im interested in your company/industry and was hoping youd be willing to meet over coffee to chat. Not quite that simple, but close enough

Aug 18, 2014

Go with this:

Hello Mr. X,

My name is ________ and I am currently a [junior] at _____ University. I came across your profile and I am particularly interested in learning more about Equity Research covering XXX. I have previously worked for [Firm A] and [Firm B] and love [Finance/the industry you want to cover]. Would you be free to briefly discuss your firm and your background over the phone? I am very interested in [the industry you want to cover], and would greatly appreciate any insight you can offer.


Aug 18, 2014

it's not that bad, break it down into two paragraphs instead of a single long one. honestly cold emails are a numbers game, keep going at it. i dont think its your email quality holding you back

Aug 18, 2014

it's not that bad, break it down into two paragraphs instead of a single long one. honestly cold emails are a numbers game, keep going at it. i dont think its your email quality holding you back

It's actually a short paragraph, looks longer because the threads are narrower than an email window (it looks short when I copy paste it into my email program).

I think the original email didn't flow very well, I just put that together in 2 seconds so OP can feel free to change; I tried to make it less verbose and more direct and remove the part about him asking about working there. Agree it's mostly a numbers game, but email quality still matters.

Aug 18, 2014

Honestly, I have an EXTREMELY high response rate to cold e-mails, but the reason why I do is because I NEVER EVER send out a form letter--and it's incredibly obvious to the recipient. I literally start from scratch before each cold e-mail. I do research, I relate something to another thing. Here are a few examples (please don't PM me about this topic--it's not an interesting topic to me and last time I posted on this I got inundated with PMs. I won't respond. It's nothing personal). Note that being extremely brief is not necessarily the most successful method--being INTERESTING, relevant, and HUMAN are the most important things.

Successful example 1:

[Addressee's first name], my name is [Name]. My father graduated from the University of [state] in the late 1950s, so your alma mater sparked my interest initially (for my entire childhood I remember [state] football glasses with schedules from 1983 listed on them in the kitchen cabinets). Recently I spent 14 months in underwriting at [company name] in [company city] before spending a year-and-a-half in Asset Management at [company name] in [company city]. I just moved home to [city] a week ago to be closer to my family. Since I'm fairly skilled in commercial real estate, I thought I'd reach out to you to see if your group had any kind of personnel need.

I'm skilled in financial modeling, market analysis, underwriting and valuation (I have 1,243 hours logged toward the MAI designation), and I have solid general knowledge of CRE legal documentation. In addition, I can supply to you a long list of excellent industry references about my work ethic and character. I know you're a busy man, so I sincerely appreciate your valuable time and any feedback you can give me. Thanks a lot.

[My name]

Successful example 2:

[Addressee's first name],

Since I've decided to move home to [city] from [city], I've been researching some companies and found yours intriguing. While your firm doesn't seem to be a "traditional" investment bank, it's the type of financial institution with services that I've thought always made sense--investment banking and related services for smaller firms.

I know it's a long-shot, but if there were the availability or need, I'd be potentially interested in joining your team. I know you'd be looking for people with expertise in certain fields as well as those with entrepreneurial experience. As a commercial real estate expert, I also own a Virginia LLC that develops infill real estate in the [city] suburbs. In addition, I've been recently named Director of Business Development by [company], an 18-month-old luxury homebuilder founded by a former Toll Brothers Vice President (both of these are easily done in my spare time as hobbies).

In brief, I graduated from [university] with a B.S. in finance in 2007. I've worked at [company name] in underwriting and I currently work at [company name] in asset management in [city] (until I move back to [city]).

Again, I know it's a long shot and I don't think I'm quite experienced enough yet to fill the available Managing Director role posted, but if you think I could be a useful asset to your team, I'd love to speak with you.

Thank you for your time, [addressee's first name].

[My name]

Successful example 3:

[Addressee's first name],

With my knowledge of [related company's name] and the partnership between it and [addressee's company], I was doing some research and found that you joined up with [addressee's company name] this summer. What piqued my interest was the fact that you're heading a new [addressee's company name] production office in [city].

I was formerly with [company name] in underwriting and am currently with [company name] in asset management in [city]. However, I'm seeking to return home to [city] (where my family and sweetheart are). I thought since I'm looking to move back to [city] and since your fledgling office is likely looking to expand, I thought I'd offer my services to your production team in [city].

To keep things brief, I'm an extraordinarily hard worker--I'm willing to work nights and weekends. I have no ego about my job--for a good boss and a good group, I'm willing to do anything from wining and dining borrowers to vacuuming the office floor. I think I'd be a strong asset to your team--I have youth and vigor, I know multifamily finance well and I'm a straight-up hard worker.

I'd love to speak with you about joining up as a production analyst or something of the sort. If there's any kind of interest, I'd be happy to speak with you about it and/or send you my resume.

Thanks for your time.

[My name]