Proven 4-Step Cold Email Framework (Any Industry)

Let’s face it—most cold emails suck. Cheesy openers, misleading subject lines, body copy that drawls on and on. It’s no wonder why the response rate for them is often less than 2%.

But the most frustrating thing about it is cold emails don’t HAVE to suck! Because there’s a simple, 4-step structure you can follow to make any email stand out in any industry for any customer…

Today we’re hitting on a subject that should be near and dear to any sales professional, cold email.

We’ll be covering one of my favorite Selling Made Simple Academy processes, The Strategic Cold Email Framework. It’s made up of just 4 short steps:

  1. Get Attention
  2. Demonstrate the Need
  3. Earn Their Trust
  4. Call to Action

Now, I love this framework because it’s just so versatile. You can apply it to any industry, from textiles and candy bars to professional services, luxury goods, and enterprise-level software.

And like I said, it comes directly from the Selling Made Simple Academy. We won’t be able to cover it as in-depth here, of course. But it’ll be a great overview so you can at least get some actionable strategies you can start using today.

And at the end, we’ll put it all together and share a template you can start using today.

1) Get Attention

In the increasingly busy and crowded world of email, if you can’t stand out from the rest right off the bat, your cold email is going straight to the trash. Buyers won’t even bother opening them.

So, which subject lines get opened rather than sent to junk?

A. Direct Subject Lines

Direct subject lines like “The world’s fastest CRM tool – 20% off today”

B. News Subject Lines

News subject lines like “Law [X] has moved on. Has your insurance followed?”

C. How-to Subject Lines

How-to subject lines like “How to reduce your advertising spend in 14 days”

D. Question Subject Lines

And question subject lines like “Is [X] costing you more to operate than it should?”

2) Demonstrate the Need

Once you’ve got their attention, it’s time to demonstrate the need.

What can you offer? And why should they devote their time to listening to you?

One of the best ways to do this is by using the reality gap method. This method involves three steps.

A. Current Reality

Outline their current reality, typically by highlighting a problem they’re dealing with today. Next…

B. Desired Future Reality

Show their desired future reality once that problem is solved. And last…

C. Reality Bridge

Build the reality bridge by providing the steps they need to take to get them from where they are now to where they could be—i.e., use the solution YOU are offering.

Here’s what that might look like in practice:


Hi [NAME], 

I recently worked with [NAME], he is in the [INDUSTRY] like you. 

Traditional salespeople had failed [NAME]. Here is his story – [LINK TO INSIGHT POST]

He went from zero motivation, to proactively racing to get to his desk each morning to prospect. 

All by implementing proven frameworks to relieve the pressure of choice from his job.

Does it make sense to jump on a quick call to see if you can use these frameworks too? 




3) Earn Their Trust

Earning the buyer’s trust.

Social proof is the name of the game here.

What kinds of success stories have you had with past clients? What amazing ROI did you achieve that lines up with what you can offer this prospect?

Try to include social proof directly in the body copy. For instance, when building out a reality gap, use quantitative results from people in similar companies, preferably ones the prospect will recognize.

But if you really want to see your open and clickthrough rates explode, use a referral.

A referral is without a doubt the most effective piece of social proof in your arsenal. So if you have a colleague in common, be sure to leverage their name right in the subject line.

Another trick you can use is to include links to testimonials in your email signature. It’s an easy way to point prospects to even more social proof without seeming overtly spammy.

4) Call to Action

And the final step of the Strategic Cold Email Framework is the call to action.

At the end of the email, just ask this:

“Does it make sense to jump on a quick call to… [achieve a result]?”


Don’t mix up your messaging by having multiple CTAs. Don’t overcomplicate things with a lot of fluff. Just ask the question. Bam.

Pulling It All Together

Now, what does this look like when we put it all together?

Well here’s the cold email template I mentioned earlier that has all four elements in one winning email.


Subject: Referral from [NAME] at [COMPANY]: Should we connect?


Hi [NAME],

I was chatting with [NAME] last week, and he said [INDUSTRY] is tough at the moment. 

I told him that we help [INDUSTRY] salespeople close more sales in just 28 days, guaranteed! He was a little shocked… 

That is a bold statement, right? 

Well, we have helped [RELEVANT COMPANY] increase their sales by X% in the past few months. [NAME] their sales manager is dancing on tables right now. 

Does it make sense to jump on a quick call to see if we can increase your sales too? 




See how we’re leveraging social proof right in the subject line and first sentence? Then we’re moving on to demonstrating the need and giving proof. And finally we’re wrapping up with a clear, straight-to-the-point CTA.

This is the exact template I use with my cold outreach. And if you use it for yours, I guarantee you’re going to see some pretty spectacular results.

And the coolest thing is that is isn’t just the team using this cold email framework, there are literally thousands of ofther sales professionals using it too.

Here you can see the Selling Made Simple Academy community and there are thousands of examples of people sharing their emails, getting feedback and getting success from them too.

If you’d like to find and close more deals in the next 30 days or your money back, click the link below to book a call with one of our team and we’ll see if you’re a good fit for our program.

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