The agitating line: the paragraph every cold email should have (a fintech perspective)

The agitating line: the paragraph every cold email should have (a fintech perspective)

You don’t consider it, but your prospect has 101 other things on their mind when they open your cold email. But how can you move them from that state… to thinking about the problem your fintech product/service solves, in a way that stirs them to curiosity. 

PS: The end goal of many cold emails is to book a meeting. But being a fan of side projects, I’ve had to sell tiny products that allowed for a no-meeting email close. The key to these types of emails is framing them around a line that agitates–in the first quarter of the email. As such, fintech cold emails meant to book meetings could benefit from the same principles. Here’s how:

Agitating cold email line prerequisites

  1. Be clear about the problem you are solving for your prospects

Talk to customers, read their reviews, and case studies, listen to sales calls, find conversations on LinkedIn or Twitter… Do all you can to find the words your customers use to describe the problem you solve for them (Long yawn..). Okay, let’s stop the theory and be practical here.

Role play: You’re going to pretend to be a PPRO salesperson churning out cold emails like ping-pong balls.

What you are selling

From what I could dig out, PPRO provides infrastructure that allows companies to accept payments in different countries using local methods. They work with payment service providers (PSPs) like PayPal, who avail PPRO’s payments plumbing to merchants. 

Step 1

Look for any place where their customer speaks, e.g. testimonials. This is “voice of customer” data, a favourite tool for any snooper.

Here are some of the keywords and insights we gathered from PPROs’ customers.

“Our merchants are coming to us looking to expand into different regions; we are able to help them accelerate that.”

“Expand into different regions”, is the job to be done PPRO’s customers are helping their merchants do. The use of the word ‘accelerate’ shows speed is an important value proposition in this relationship.

Study this image.

  1. Be clear about the impact of the problem you’re solving

The obvious impact for a product like PPRO’s is on their customers’ revenue; payment service providers can expand to different regions and help merchants accept payments without a hit on conversion rates. 

However, revenue is too broad as an impact; we need to be specific. Hence, when you talk to customers or study the voice of customer data, look for the intermediate impacts that precede revenue.

For example, the customer in the testimonial screenshot above mentioned the importance of providing a choice of payment methods to their merchants as a reason for engaging PPRO. If you asked them why this is important to a payment company, their answer would probably show you the impact.

In a testimonial video on the site, PayPal’s director of alternative payments, Lolke Bijlisma talked about the payment company’s Smart Payment Button being a key payment offering in Europe. “Our relationship with PPRO helps us expand into other markets soon as well,” he said. 

This is important because it’s the only place where I could find the impact of PPROs product on the payment service provider rather than the merchant (the end-user).

If you’re selling B2B fintech where your customer is not the end user, ensure you differentiate between the impact of your product on the end user and the impact on your customer. Don’t lose the nuance.

In this case, the impact on the payment service provider (PPROs customer) is the ability to expand into multiple markets fast and allow its merchants (end-user) to accept local payments. PS: Speed seems to be a factor here.

Let’s craft our agitating line

  • Problem being solved

Merchants who are expanding into different regions, ask their payment service providers to help them accept local payments and provide choices to their consumers (which boosts conversion rates). These payment companies use PPRO to solve this.

  • Impact of solving/not solving that problem

The payment service provider (PSP) will be able to expand into different markets quickly and serve its merchants who want to sell in these countries. The more countries they can offer local payment options to, the more attractive they are to their growing merchants.

So this is what our agitating line (highlighted below) could be:

“Hi Payment Service Provider X, noticed {an intro sentence}.

“Curious how you’re dealing with your merchants who are expanding into different countries (mention them by name if you can) and can’t offer their customers a variety of local payment methods?”

The aim of the agitating question is to shift the email recipient from what they’re currently thinking (101.22 things) to the problem you’re solving: not being able to offer their merchants multiple choices of local payment methods. 

Our agitating line will do its job as is, but we can amp it up by highlighting the impact too. For example,

“Been working with PayPal, Credorax and Global payments (these are PPROs existing customers) and noticed…

“Expanding to new markets quickly would have been difficult for them, without the ability to offer local payment methods to their fast-growing merchants.” Wondering if you have experienced this too?”


When you understand how your customers view the problem your fintech product/service solves for them and its impact. You can create a variety of agitating lines that move your prospect from whatever else is occupying their mind to the problem. And then stir their thoughts enough to engage in conversation because of curiosity.

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Gabriel Onyango
Gabriel Onyango
[email protected]

About Me

A writer, in a marketer's skin, wearing a cold emailer's floppy socks. The unorthodox combination of these is what you've probably experienced in this blog. Freelance cold email manager; open to working with teams on cold email campaigns, copy, ICP research (snooping()and custom list building. Connect with me on LinkedIn

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