Lately, I’ve gotten a career boost by reaching out by email to a small but mighty group of entrepreneurs who I look up to because of their momentum, their networks, and especially their success. While I don’t always get a response, I have learned to separate my message from the masses, and elicit some sort of feedback to my question.
Most People: You’re awesome! I’m such a huge fan. How do you get the motivation to accomplish so much?
Most of these messages are written in the heat of the moment and (very clearly) have little thought put into them. There are three components to that message, and this person is going about them all the wrong way. Let’s walk through each:
1. The Introduction
If this is someone who you know, and they don’t know you, they probably know that they are awesome. While you don’t need to say it directly, you should mention something to the effect of, “Mr. Maxwell, such an honor to have a chance to connect with you.” Be polite, but not overwhelming. Here is an example of an introduction I used to connect with Andy and Mike Dooley:
I’m a member of TUT and the inspiration you spread every day. I share your messages daily with some fraternity brothers I have stayed close with since graduation. It’s amazing how it helps us stay connected.
2. The Comparison
The introduction is simply meant to set the stage for the conversation. It lets them know that you appreciate their work and might have valuable information for them. The next step is to differentiate yourself from every other fan. What you need to do is find a relevant gem from their writing or content and refer to it. Below is my comparison when reaching out to Lewis Schiff, author and founder of the Inc. Business Owners Council.
I just started reading about the Business Owners Council program, as an acquaintance recently got the position of executive director for his city. I kept clicking through websites and eventually came across your letter to business owners. I look forward to meeting you, learning from you, and sharing what we know with each other. That being said I have two ideas for you. Do with them what you like.
3. The Ask
This is a much more relaxed component. By this time, they have either stopped reading or are ready for whatever you have to ask. My advice is to be bold, but always have thoughtful questions, and pad your questions with relevant information. When possible, be friendly and funny. That will get you farther than you think.
Let me know the next time you’ll be in the Midwest. Everybody’s gotta eat, and I’d love to take you out to lunch if you can spare the time.
Aside from pure experience, what is the best way to make a mark that digital marketing agencies will recognize and appreciate? As I move forward in my career, I want to make sure that I am creating my future, not simply reacting to it. Any thoughts?
So what was the career boost that came from these emails?
- Andy Dooley—YouTuber, comedian, story manifesting coach, author, speaker, artist, and world traveler—called me on my cell phone,
- Lewis Schiff, author of Business Brilliant: Surprising Lessons From the Greatest Self-Made Business Icons, offered me the opportunity to serve as the executive director of the Inc Business Owners Council in Des Moines, and
- Larry Lieberman, CEO at Mouse.org, and I had a later meeting!
Follow Beth at LinkedIn.com/in/marybkelzer