Last Updated May 7, 2024 by
10 Cold Outreach Blunders That Make You Look Desperate

If you've ever dipped your toes into cold outreach, you know it's like dancing on eggshells—you’re trying not to sound desperate, but still hoping to get a response. 

Nail it, and your business could score big. 

Fumble it, and your pitch will hit the trash faster than leftover pizza.

So, let's save you some heartbreak with these 10 cold outreach blunders that can make you look desperate.

1. Starting with “To Whom It May Concern”

You might as well write, "Gimme money" as your opening line.

You need to at least try.

Are we writing a formal letter to some faceless entity? 

Nope, this is cold outreach, and it should be personal.

Take a moment to find your prospect’s name and use it.

It’s like opening the door with a friendly smile instead of a blank stare. 

2. Writing a Novel

Writing a Novel

Long emails are overwhelming

If you can't get to the point quickly, your prospect won't stick around.

Keep your message brief, sweet, and clear.

One paragraph to hook them, a few sentences to explain your offer, and a call to action to wrap it up.

3. Sounding Like a Script

If your pitch reads like it was churned out by a robot, recipients will feel like one of many names on a long list. 

Ditch the cookie-cutter language and add some flavor. 

Personalize your outreach by referencing shared interests, mutual connections, or recent achievements of your prospect.

4. Over-Promising or Exaggerating

Promising “guaranteed results” can backfire.

One key in outreach is believability.  

Don't inflate claims or make unrealistic offers just to lure someone in—it’ll raise suspicion and reek of desperation.

Instead, share a success story or concrete data that speaks for itself.

Sharing someone else's success doesn't seem like bragging (but it's basically the same thing).

5. Following Up Like a Pest

Following Up Like a Pest

Persistence is good, but don’t be a bull in a china shop. 

Follow up politely without bombarding inboxes.

A quick reminder email after a week, then maybe another in two or three weeks, shows persistence without crossing into annoying territory.

Spam complaints almost always come from too many follow-ups.

6. Not Offering Value

If your pitch is only about you—your product, your service, your goals—it's a one-sided conversation.

Nobody cares about you. (You're a stranger in their inbox.) 

Instead, focus on solving the prospect’s problem.

What can you offer them to improve their situation?

Provide value upfront to show you care.

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7. Ignoring the Prospect’s Preferences

Maybe they prefer to communicate via LinkedIn/X(Twitter), or maybe they're only available in the afternoons. 

Respect their preferences to avoid a cold shoulder.

Tailor your approach to their communication style and availability to stand a better chance.

8. Being Too Formal or Too Casual

Being Too Formal or Too Casual

Finding the right balance is tricky.

Too formal, and you sound stiff.

Too casual, and it can come off as unprofessional.

Strike a middle ground—be friendly and approachable, but don’t call your prospect “buddy” or "sir" unless they’d use that word themselves.

9. Pushing Too Hard

Pressuring your prospect into a meeting or decision is a surefire way to get ignored. 

No one likes being cornered

Instead, ask open-ended questions to gauge their interest.

If they seem unsure, give them a reason to think rather than forcing a quick decision.

10. Not Researching Enough

Nothing screams “I didn’t do my homework” like pitching to the wrong person or offering something irrelevant. 

Before reaching out, make sure you've got the right contact, and that your message matches their needs.

Otherwise, you might as well ask them to mark your message as spam yourself.

Wrapping Up

Cold outreach is like walking a tightrope - you have to find the right balance without overcorrecting. 

Avoid these blunders, keep your approach genuine, and you’ll be less likely to come off as desperate.

Remember, you’re starting a conversation, not making a sale right off the bat. 

Keep things light, offer something valuable, and the doors will start swinging open.

Ranked: Cold Outreach Tools

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About the author 

Nick Patrocky

Nick Patrocky is an online entrepreneur who's used cold outreach to help build multiple successful businesses. His agency has helped clients all around the world fill their sales calendars with qualified sales appointments. Nick’s main focus is using to help others build successful businesses leveraging cold outreach.