Outbound Email Framework Based On Psychology of Influence [video]

(Tried putting this in video form as an experiment on linkedIn. Will likely use Facebook video next time.)

The topic of what to do/not do in a cold email or outbound email framework has started to feel like debating the financial crisis at a family dinner ..  everyone has an opinion but not many people are actually sure what happened or why.

And believe me, I’m with you. I’m a big fan of personalized outbound and going out there to create your own opportunities.

However, I encourage people to step back and remember that it’s just one person trying to connect with another to start a conversation… likely based on the premise you can help them with something.

While it’s easy to get lost in the tactical advice it’s not like you’re writing an open letter to your city complaining about the pot holes or lack of bike lanes. In that case you literally have NO IDEA who is going to read it or if they will at all.

Before we all had the tools to send a “custom” email to an unlimited number of people the cold email situation was very much the online version of forming a real relationship IRL.

It took a lot of work to find an email or you needed to be introduced OR have given them something in exchange for their info… I think about the real life version like being at the local grocery store and you ask the person beside you: “Hey, I noticed your basket full of avocados.. how would I be able to tell which ones are ripe?”

Two years later… we’ve been able to simultaneously clone ourselves to every store in America, grocery or not, and are asking each person in that establishment, regardless of context, how to tell if our fruit is ripe. (Hey, I mean if 2% of people happen to get back to me with my answer I’m winning right??)

I emphasize the ridiculousness of it because I think the only thing that won’t change in our lifetime in terms of outbound is the psychology behind starting a conversation and how people are influenced to make decisions.

It’s already been proven that we’re all emotional decision makers. As much as we’d like to think we do things rationally almost all our decisions are made first with emotion … then we rationalize. Just think back to the last expensive purchase you made.

Maybe the only good part about this is that we’re aware society has conditioned us to be biased towards certain things.

In fact, psychologists like Robert Cialdini have even put together lists to tell us all the things that people are likely to be biased towards. There’s even an order for the most effective way to persuade someone’s irrational decision-making.

Rather than spending time focusing on the next best tactic or template, I’d encourage anyone to read Cialdini’s books, among others, to get a better understanding of heuristics and intuitive decision making. This way you’ll continue to be influential and persuasive whether you’re sending morse Kode message vibrations through an apple watch or dm’ing a prospect’s Instagram.

For now, here’s the order and how they can be applied to an outbound email framework.

1. Gain attention by starting with Pre-Suasion and the confirmation bias

The idea here is you gain someone’s attention by making the message self-relevant and about them (hence the reason for personalization). You can activate the confirmation bias as part of this if you’re able to do some research and confirm an opinion you know they already have (hopefully in an authentic way where you share the same beliefs).

2. Build interest by using someone’s bias of liking and reciprocity.

How are you similar to the person you’re reaching out to and are you able to do them a favour or give them something in advance?

3. Create desire by leveraging the bias towards authority and social proof.

This is why influencers are a thing. It’s a natural bias that we all have. It works the same way if you have proven results for your existing customers.

4. Inspire action by confirming personal alignment and introducing scarcity.

Rationally we know there will be another sale yet for whatever reason we still bought more stuff than we intended. You can use this in your business emails by confirming that the message is for that specific person by using a disqualification question (eg. to be sure I don’t waste your time with this do you even eat avocados …)

If you’re interested, I built a workbook that helps you create your own messaging based on these biases… I’m only going to leave it up for a short amount time so this method doesn’t get too overused so download it now.

… see what I did there 🙂