In recent posts I have covered Finding/Searching for People on LinkedIn and Contacting LinkedIn Members, today we tackle what to say in your outreach efforts. A couple of general rules are a)keep the initial correspondence concise and b) be sure you are clear in what you want and what is the next step in the process.
In my outreach, I usually try to accomplish three things:
Establish a Connection With the Member: what do you have in common with the person you are contacting? This is a powerful first step as it gives them a reason to keep reading. Were you referred by someone? A fellow alumnus? Former co-worker? Whatever the connection you and the other LinkedIn member have, you need to establish this right away to convince the reader to continue reading your note.
- I am a fellow Notre Dame alum, Class of ’94, and also work in the sports marketing industry.
- Cynthia Johnson from Rockland Automotive (my next door neighbor) recommended I reach out to you.
- We worked together on the Vandelay Industries proposal a few years ago when I was with T-Bone Marketing.
State What You Want: let the individual know what you hope to gain (initially) from your outreach today. It is important to set clear expectations and guidelines to avoid misalignment or misunderstandings. Remember, state what you hope to achieve in this initial outreach and not the possible end deliverable.
- Career Exploration Outreach: Would you be open to a 15 minute call as I would like to ask you about your career path in sports as well as advice you would give a student trying to break into this field?
- Business Development: Would you be open to grabbing a cup of coffee to discuss your organization’s paper needs and if Dunder Mifflin could provide a better solution?
- Expertise Request: I would like to schedule a 15 minute meeting to inquire how you are handling the new SOPA regulations in your online marketing efforts?
Define the Next Step: who is doing what and by when? It is crucial to propose a clear follow-up step and who is responsible. Often, there is no clear next step and momentum is lost in one’s networking efforts.
- Would you be available next Thursday afternoon for a call? I have included my contact information below for your reference.
- I will reach out to your assistant this week to set up the meeting.
- My contact information is below, I would be happy to call you (just need a number and a time to call) if that would be easier.
Thank You and Reciprocation: This is not a fourth goal, but rather good manners. Be sure to say thank you and your willingness to assist if the tables were ever turned – this small effort is rarely offered by networkers and can be very successful.
- Thank you for considering my request and if I can be of assistance in your efforts, I would be happy to reciprocate.
- I appreciate your willingness to meet and I hope I can be of assistance to you as well.
- Thank you for your consideration and if I can help you connect with vendors in the hospitality industry, I would be happy to broker introductions.
I hope these steps can help you craft winning (and concise) outreach emails. Please share tips on what has worked in your networking outreach efforts.