How to Cold Email a Stranger for Advice

By on April 9, 2017

Many people write a number of emails daily, all to known people. But when it comes to writing an email to a stranger, we think twice. You don’t get an idea as to how to start, how the language should be and how to actually present the content.

Asking for help from strangers is not a big deal for anyone who is familiar with writing emails. Sometimes you may have to contact your friend’s friend for things related to a job opportunity or for any other information you need. Keep the following things in mind to write a neat email that would get your thing done.

  • Personal mail: When you cold email, never start it with a salutation like “Dear Sir” as this does not give a personal touch to the mail. It would feel like you have mailed it to a number of people. Find the name of the person you are contacting and add it in the email. It means a lot to see an email addressed to you.
  • Brief introduction: In a simple sentence, you may first introduce yourselves and explain why you are writing the email to them in the first place. Make the context of the mail clear. If you are connecting through a common friend or working in the same field, mention that. If you are writing about some job vacancy, you may add some details about your background and why you thought connecting with this person is important.
  • Ask for help clearly: When you write an email, you have a specific motive behind it. You may want a quote or a comment or may be some time to interview them. Whatever the purpose of the mail is, ask for it directly. Be confident to write your requirement in the most polite way and state how much the person’s help would mean to you. Beating around the bush is not advisable. Make the purpose clear in a few sentences rather than making it long.
  • Something in return: It is a courtesy to offer something in return for the help you expect from the email recipient. Though this is not necessary always, you can offer some help if the person is too busy to even respond. It could be anything like some useful information to the person like something you know about his area of work.
  • Request for time to talk: Instead of ending your email with words like “keep in touch”, it is better to ask for their time to talk to you either on phone or in person. You may mention that you are aware of how busy the person is and then request for some time. You can suggest the time and place and ask for his opinion too.
  • Follow up: It is likely that the person you email does not respond to your mail. It could be because they lost it among a lot of important emails or just forgot about it. At this point, there is no harm in following up. It is recommended to follow up at least three times before giving up. It is all about patience when you want a response for a cold email. If they respond, write a thank you email. You can remind them about something specific you want to discuss.

You may understand that it is not very easy to cold email a stranger. But, you can master the trick with the above tips in mind. The key is to be polite all through the email and be patient till you get a positive response.

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