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Here's How to Cold Email Like a BOSS (including free cold email templates)



It’s Neville here, and I’m about to let my friend Sam Parr take over for a second to show you how to contact anybody...BUT...the reason Sam is such an interesting example is cause he’s a nobody.....

....yet he got the founders of all these companies to speak at his conference:

Pandora, NerdWallet, Coffee Meets Bagel, Teespring, Imgur, General Assembly, Getaround, Tilt, Udemy, Sprig, Mixergy, BackToTheRoots, 500 Startups and more.

He did this all through cold emails.

I'm going to let Sam Parr take over this post, and explain exactly how he used cold emails to reach out to major titans of industry and get them to do stuff.

Here’s Sam! Make sure to bookmark this post or share it with someone it can help, it has some kickass templates you should save for your personal swipe file.


Sam Parr

What up friends? This is Sam, the founder of Hustle Con and TheHustle.

Last August, I wrote a post on Nev’s blog explaining how I hosted a conference made me $40,000 in 7 weeks. You people loved it. So, I thought I’d teach you another cool lesson:

How to get in touch with influencers.

In this post, I’ll explain step-by-step the four ways we convince big time founders to speak at Hustle Con. If you follow these steps you’ll be able to connect with pretty much anyone with an email address.

In fact, we got these founders to speak at HustleCon using these exact emails and methods:

....so let me show you exactly how I got all these big-wigs to show up to my conference just with just some cold emails.

You've got to cold email like a boss!

In 15 years our kids will be shocked when we say, “back then you could email anyone on earth…and they’d actually respond!”

A lot of people don’t realize this, but getting in touch with someone via cold email is shockingly easy. I’ve had email convos with Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon), the founder of Twitter, even famous actors…all because of cold emails. Here’s how I do it…

I’m using Tim Westergren, the founder of Pandora, for this example. He's agreed to speak at this year's Hustle Con after a few cold emails.




Step 1: Find the person’s email:

Obviously we have to find the person’s email, right? Most email addresses are pretty simple, but there’s one tool that’ll make the guessing game super easy: Thrust.io

Thrust is super simple. Enter in your target’s name, what company they work for and watch the magic happen. Thrust uses wizardry and finds your your target’s email:hustlecon-thrust.png

I just typed in "Tim Westergren, Pandora" and found his email in two seconds.




Step 2: Craft an irresistible email:

This is where the Hustle Con team and I really kick ass. We know how to make participating in our conference a no brainer.

It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, make sure your “ask” clearly shows how it benefits the receiver. If you’ve never studied copywriting before, take Neville’s Copywriting Course. It’s a game changer for cold emails. If you’re too lazy to take it, here’s the summary: no one cares about you…they only care about themselves.

Here's what I sent Tim along with his response. If you wanna write your own, use the AIDA formula.


Check out the gif we sent Tim. This is our secret touch. We made one for each speaker. They’re pretty easy to make. We took photos of us spelling out “Hey will you speak at Hustle Con?” Then, when we sent an email, we Photoshopped the person’s name on a blank photo:


People loved this photo because it was unique, funny, and showed we took extra time to personally reach out.




Step 3: Follow up and CLOSE THEM:

Here’s where winners emerge. Big shots get 100’s of emails a day, so they’ll most likely ignore you. Don’t take it personally. You must follow up. When I was a noob, I thought this was nagging. It’s not. Just make sure to add an easy out.

Something like “if you’re not interested in this, no sweat…I’m still a fan of your company.”

As long you’re tasteful, you can send 7 to 10 emails every 5 days without being annoying. Here's how many emails I sent Tim Westergren:

hustlecon tim emails


See, it’s not nagging. Tim responded after three emails!

I can’t emphasize enough how important following up is. I’ve chatted with the founders of GoPro, Thrillist, Gilt, and Twitter all because I’m constantly following up. Sure, they may not always say yes, but they will remember me.

Hell, I’ve followed up so much that the founder of Legal Zoom and Honest Co. (aka Jessica Alba’s cofounder) offered me a job:


And finally, here are three emails that required tons of followup. In fact, I followed up with the founder of Imgur for literally 6 months before he said yes.

Use your current network for a warm intro:

Rick Marini, the founder of Branch Out and Tickle, was one of last year’s most accomplished speakers at Hustle Con. He sold Tickle for $100 million, founded one of the fastest growing social networks in the world, and is an extremely successful angel investor....so he gets literally 100’s of emails a day.

To contact Rick, I used a mutual connection using this 5-step process. Sure, it’s mostly common sense, but you’d be shocked at how many people fail after steps 3, 4, and 5.

Use your current network for a warm intro.

Method A: Find your target’s Linkedin account


Simple enough, right?

Use your current network for a warm intro:

Method B: Find mutual connections

Next, I scrolled to the bottom of Rick’s profile and see who we had in common. Sweet! Looks like my buddy Joey is LinkedIn buds with with Rick.

If you don’t have any mutual friends, use this same tactic but on Facebook or skip to the cold email step below:


Use your current network for a warm intro:

Method C: Write the email FOR your mutual connection

I asked Joey for the intro, but I made sure to write the majority of the email for him. (Here’s a link to the exact email I wrote for Joey. Feel free to copy)

Remember, he’s doing me the favor. I should make life as EASY as possible for the person doing the intro. That’s why I write the email for them. Otherwise it’ll never happen.

And if your friend decides to write a little message, like Joey did for me, your email with the important details is still at the bottom.


This was my initial email to Joey. Assume that your target will see this email, so include all the details:


Joey wrote his own message but kept our original email at the bottom.



Step 4: Create a powerful first impression:

Once you get the opening, respond FAST and hit your mark. I try and respond within 30 minutes, but ideally within 5. Rick is doing me a favor by even talking to me. He’s a successful and busy guy, so he most likely won’t respond first.

Think of networking or sales like hunting. This is your chance to make a fantastic first impression and get the kill. The goal of this hunt isn’t a deer, but a relationship. And you’re not using a bow and arrow, but kindness, sincerity, promptness, and salesmanship. So basically, be Cupid.

This is your opening...make it count!


I wanna point out two crucial parts of my message: specifics and writing style.

You’ll notice that I mentioned how I knew Rick worked at Fisher Scientific years ago. How did I know this?

Because I watched every

about Rick. I wanted to make sure he’d be a good fit for the event, but also to better understand my “customer.”

Before I talk to a potential customer, I read/watch everything about them so I know their wants and personality. If you’re trying to make a sale, make sure to comment about something very specific and meaningful to that person so they know you’re sincere.

The research isn’t hard to do, it just takes time. Google the person you’re contacting and read everything from pages 1 to 5.

Yes, some may think it’s strange to tell Rick how much I know about him, but in doing so I prove that I genuinely appreciate him. Basically, I want him to know I’m willing to work hard to get him to come. It’s called the rule of reciprocity.

The second thing to notice is my writing style. Always remember to write like you speak and know your audience. I wouldn’t say the word “badass” if I emailed a Stanford professor. If you wanna learn more about this, take the Copywriting Course (Nev also spoke at Hustle Con).



Step 5: Close:

The purpose of each step is to move closer and closer to a predetermined goal, which in this case is a phone call.

Never end an email with “so what time works for you?” Be as specific as possible. This is easier for your customer.

I suggest ending your ask email with 3 possible times so the person can simply say yes to one and not have search their calendar for a free space. Or, if you get lucky like I was with Rick, your customer will suggest a time:


Luckily Rick suggested a time. Our call was fantastic and Rick agreed to participate!



Step 6: Send thoughtful gifts:

Sending a thoughtful gift to a potential client is a pretty bold move, but it has the potential to work wonders.

My most recent gift-giving campaign was to Noah Kagan, Andrew Warner, and Neville. Neville and Andrew both said yes, but Noah couldn’t make it.

But who can you send gifts to??

To send gifts the right way (thoughtfully, tastefully, not creepily), you have to know your audience—even more so than sending cold emails. I suggest only sending gifts to someone you’ve spoken with before or someone who at least knows you exist. This includes:

  • Clients in a similar industry as you.
  • Someone you’ve shared an email exchange with.
  • Mutual friends.
  • Someone with a fun personality.
  • Someone you know has heard of you or your company.

If your target fits into one of these categories, here’s how you send a gift.



Gift-Giving Step 1: Find out what they’re into:

90% of cold emails, calls, or gifts are completely thoughtless and bland. You’ll really stand out from the crowd if you just take 10 or 20 minutes and stalk your recipient. Find out what they like, want, and how they think. I go about this using a few different methods:

Constantly listening: Because I’m such a fan of gift-giving, I always keep my ears open for a good gift idea. For example, when Neville spoke at

he told how much he loves Dave Matthews Band, specifically his live shows.

So when I asked Neville to speak, it was obvious what kind of gift I should send: a DMB live DVD:


Small gifts really show that you care.

Use Twitter, Facebook, or their personal blog: What’s amazing about the internet is that wants someone writes something, it’s there forever. This makes stalking crazy easy. I wasn’t personal buds with Noah when I asked him to speak, but I had emailed with him a few times.

Plus, Noah is super active on Twitter and his blog, so researching what gift to send him wasn’t difficult. I found a post where he wrote about eating healthy, which gave me the idea to send a Magic Bullet for smoothies. I then did a little Google-ing and found another post about how much he loves The Magic Bullet.

If you notice, the post is 2 years old, and if you’ve ever owned a Magic Bullet you know they don’t last very long. To me this meant that a Magic Bullet was the PERFECT gift...so it’s what I sent him!





Gift-Giving Step 2: Write a handwritten note:

I didn’t realize how powerful handwritten notes were until Andrew Warner of Mixergy sent me a handwritten thank-you card for introducing him to a buddy of mine. It was just a small note, but it made a huge impact on me.

Here’s the exact letter I wrote back to Andrew when I asked him to participate at Bootstrap Live. I’ve had a lot of success with that letter’s format, so feel free to copy it.

If you wanna learn more about how I snagged Andrew as a speaker, this post will answer your questions.



Gift-Giving Step 3: Find the address:

This step is obvious, but here’s one extra tip: make sure to send your package to the recipient’s office! Imagine yourself in your recipient’s shoes, opening a flattering handwritten letter and gift in front of coworkers. Feels good, doesn’t it?




Gift-Giving Step 4: Make sure it looks amazing:

You’ve picked out a gift, wrote an awesome handwritten letter, and know the end address. Now it’s time to ship it off! But before you do, make sure that your gift looks amazing.


Preparing and delivering the package for Andrew Warner of Mixergy.

I started to see the importance of packaging after reading Steve Job’s biography. I’m not saying you need to package your gift as meticulously as an iPod, but some nice gift wrap, a perfectly fitted box, and a fancy label will make a huge difference.


Free Cold Email Templates

Cold Email Mail

[table id=57 /]

Purpose: Cold email looking for consulting gig

Subject 1: Need any advice?

Subject 2: Your LinkedIn profile

Subject 3: Looking for a consult?



Purpose: Cold Email Looking For Freelance Writing Work

Subject 1: Content Creation

Subject 2: A writer from your [home town].

Subject 3: Looking for writing help?



Purpose: Cold Email Looking For Freelance Writing Work

Subject 1: Can I write for your blog?

Subject 2: Some cool article ideas for you

Subject 3: You should write about this

Subject 4: Looking for writing help?



Purpose: Cold Email Looking For Freelance Writing Work

Subject 1: Need writers?

Subject 2: Need writing help?

Subject 3: Need an outdoor freelance writer?

Subject 4: Can I write for Camping World?



Purpose: Get sponsors for podcast

Subject 1: partnership?

Subject 2: Promoting your brand

Subject 3: Our listeners would love your product

Subject 4: Let's partner up.



Purpose: Looking for podcast partnerships



Purpose: Cold email to promote your podcast

Subject 1: You're audience would love this podcast

Subject 2: [Name of person interviewed]

Subject 3: [Podcast title]



Purpose: Sell your product at local businesses

Subject 1: You're customers would love this podcast

Subject 2: company name + product = $

Subject 3: Free sample



Purpose: Sell your training program to companies

Subject 1: Improve your sales

Subject 2: Sales training

Subject 3: Could your sales be higher?



Purpose: Sell leads to Real Estate agents

Subject 1: Real Estate Leads

Subject 2: Save time use my leads

Subject 3: Need leads?



Welp, that’s it ladies and gents. That’s how you get in touch with anyone on earth!


Sam Parr

P.S. Thanks Neville for letting us guest post! And signup for TheHustle.co to get updates from us!


  • Like 1

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Recommended Comments

Guest Andrew Warner


Sam's way of inviting guests is so powerful that not only did he get me say 'yes' to Hustle Con, but frankly, I would say 'yes' to pretty much anything he asked me to be a part of.
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Guest Robbie Abed


Link to hustlecon at the end isn't working. Need to add http://. You can delete comment after fixing.
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Guest Robbie Abed


This was great. I think stalking and sending multiple follow up emails are under rated. Many people are too afraid to send multiple followups.
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Guest Neville


Andrew Warner and Sam Parr gay relationship: CONFIRMED!!
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Guest Jason


I've used cold-emailing to build my business for about the last 10 years. It's one of the easiest, most effective strategies that is the most underutilized, IMO.

I'd like to add a couple of things here... If I'm trying to break into a specific niche or make contacts in a specific niche then I create something of value that can be customized for them. Example: a short analysis of their website in PDF with graphics or even video.

Let's say I want to add Accountants for my funnel creation service (yes, they can be used for service business!).

I create a very basic, boilerplate 3-minute video that talks about my services.

I go to http://www.limeleads.com and search for 'Accountants' and I buy all the leads (they come with SNAIL mail addresses as well as email and that's good because sometimes I do a postcard follow-up).

Then, I write 5 emails. The first one is basically this: "I analyzed your site and pointed out a few places I thought could get you more leads for your service. Problem is... I don't know exactly who to send the (video/PDF) to. Can you help?"

The other four are various creative follow-ups.

But... at this point I haven't made any specific videos. I just have the basic one... If they respond THEN I do a short 2-minute walkthrough, combine the two pieces into one video and send it off. (Don't let video freak you out... you could easily do the same with a short pdf and paste in screenshots).

By doing this, I can send out hundreds of emails per day to prospects and ONLY create custom videos (or PDFs) to those who show interest.


P.S. You can use http://www.limeleads.com and QuickMail.io as a pretty awesome combo... put the leads you get from LimeLeads into QuickMail and it'll execute the initial email plus follow-ups on your schedule. If the person replies QuickMail is smart enough to stop the follow-up emails. Nifty, eh? Feel free to email me with questions.

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Guest Chi Odogwu


i do love the Sam/Neville style email format but Andrew's IYH course has a nice simple template which works wonders also. I'm using a mixed approach to email guests for my podcast and i'm getting good results ( a fair bit of startup founders have agreed to come on the podcast and i'm a complete unknown :) .Hopefully, i'll be able to connect with Africa's richest man and interview him someday ). As always keep up the awesome work guys.

P.S. I use sellhack.com and find emails that work approx 80% of the time without the guess wrk

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Guest Chi Odogwu


And Scott Britton's cold email course has a ton of other tools to help with finding emails.
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Guest Neville


There's been many times when I've cleared my inbox, basically EXPECTING that important emails will be re-sent more than once, so I agree!
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Guest Neville


Jason, that was awesome!!

The video idea is great, never thought of that!

Very NevBox-worthy comment ;)


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Guest Dave Greenberger


LOVE this stuff. I'm such a big fan of out of the box GIFs, short value-add messages, endless followup, etc. I haven't heard about HustleCon before this, I'm interested....
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Guest Matthew G. Monroe


I'd like to think that I'm pretty good at getting responses from cold e-mails.

I'd like to think that my networking skills are pretty decent.

I'd like to think that my follow up is better than most people's.

I have been humbled.

Sam Parr, you are a master of your craft, and I bow to thee in complete humility. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

And NeVille? Thank you for sharing Sam.

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Guest Arnaud


Another suggestion is to send this magic email to follow up when you're being ignored. I first heard of it from Kurt of themagicemail.com. It goes: "Since I have not heard from you on this, I have to assume your priorities have changed."

It's simple, intentionally vague and Kurt gets a 50% response rate. You might think "I can't say that, it's so rude!" but it works because of the principle of loss aversion. Try it, what have you got to lose when you've already been ignored for weeks?

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Guest Liz Froment


Great post filled with tons of actionable advice. I've been cold emailing for years to people, mostly those with sites I love or great articles, it almost always works out well when you start with the research. That is the most important part that most people lazy out on. Don't be lazy!

Same goes for when pitching businesses, like Jason said above, you have to go in with something that's not only different from the masses of emails they get, but something that's awesome too. Spend 10 minutes on their site and point out specific things you can improve. Also I've learned to end my email with a yes or no question to make it really simple for people to respond.

I also use Yesware right in my Gmail to track who's opened my emails and who hasn't and you can set a reminder to follow up. It makes it really easy.

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Guest Sam Parr


ha thanks friend. I'm sure you're kickass as well.
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Guest Neville


No prob, this was a pretty cool method right!

I especially think it's impressive that it's literally thanks to this he got all these cool speakers to speak at a new conference.

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Guest Neville


Hmmm.....that MIGHT work for some people, but I personally wouldn't do it as it seems a little bitchy and might burn a bridge.

I know when people email me with stuff like, "OH I GUESS YOU'RE SUCH A BIG SHOT YOU CAN'T RESPOND" or something along those lines, I definitely will no longer engage with them.

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Guest Neville


Oh nice tips Liz!

In the past I've done something similar where I would point out obvious (and super-easy) SEO-fixes they could make to improve their ranking. Stuff like changing a Wordpress title or something anyone could do.

Thanks Liz!

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Guest Laura Moreno Cabanillas


Wow!!! Awesome post!

I just sent several hundred cold emails and ... I did it all wrong!!! Wow!!!

Awesome! I shared it with my people!!

Thanks so much for the post Sam and Neville!!!!

Besos from a dirtish bus in NYC!!!


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Guest Laura Moreno Cabanillas


I want a NevBox!!!!! Give it to meeee (not scary, right?)
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