Here’s a universal truth: Smart people WANT to meet with smart people.
That means you, if you send a great email, have incisive questions, and are interesting.
People do not want to meet with people who waste their time. That includes people who…
- Ask worthless questions (“Dear Ramit, what should I do with my money?” Uh….read the last 12 years of my site or my New York Times best-selling book?)
- Ramble (“Hi I’m blah blah and I’m really interested in blah blah and once when I was a kid we went to the park and blah blah and…well I guess this got really long, so…yeah. Thanks for reading.”)
- Only talk about themselves (Hi Mr. Senior Exec at a Fortune 100 company, let me tell you about my background, what I studied in school, what I’m interested in….”)
So let’s talk about what makes a great email introduction — the kind that makes someone want to meet you as soon as they can.
5 traits of email introductions that get results
They’re simple steps, but 99% of people skip them. Don’t.
The best people:
Reached out through a warm contact.
If they didn’t have one, they spent the time to find one by studying who I know. (The info is out there. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, 8 million pages I’ve written, the “Acknowledgements” page of my book. And this isn’t just about me, it’s about any busy person you want to meet.)
Explained any similarities we had.
An alum reaches out to me who seems genuine? I’ll almost always take a phone call, or if convenient, a coffee meeting. Maybe they grew up in my hometown, or went to my high school.
They reached out with a BRIEF, CONCISE EMAIL.
I will show you the exact words to use so you don’t instantly eliminate yourself.
They met with me and asked very insightful questions.
GOOD: I noticed you did XYZ. It’s interesting because Very-Important-Person took a different approach and did ABC. What was your thinking? BAD: I’m so unhappy at my job. What should I do with my life?
They never outright asked for a job, which you never, ever do in an email introduction.
They also gave me an “out” in case I couldn’t/didn’t want to help them.
NOTE: These were not all the most socially smooth people. But the very best showed a remarkable level of preparation, which anyone can do — but few actually do.
As a result, many of these people stood out among tens of thousands of others who left comments/emails/tweets. Not only do the very best top performers have an uncanny ability to reach extremely busy people, but they can turn a one-time meeting into a long-term relationship. And over time, that is worth more than almost any technical skill or amount of experience.
How to introduce yourself over email (the right way)
OK, let’s get into the specific. To meet anyone over email, follow these steps:
- Brainstorm a list of 10 people you’d like to connect with. Start with these people: People who have a job title you’re interested in learning more about. People who work at companies you’re interested in potentially working at. And people who are doing interesting things you want to learn more about (e.g., you read about them in a magazine/blog post).
- Get their email address. If you can’t find this you fail at life. But you read this site so I suspect you’re cool.
- Use the script below. 1-2-3. (Oh, and don’t forget to send a thank you note to anyone who does help you.)
An email introduction script to meet anyone
Here’s a template you can use to meet just about anyone along with analysis on why it works.
Subject: Michigan State grad — would love to chat about your work at Deloitte
My name is Samantha Kerritt. I’m an ’04 grad from Michigan State (I know you were a few years before me) and I came across your name on our alumni site. [TELL THEM HOW YOU CAME ACROSS THEIR NAME SO YOU DON’T SEEM LIKE A CREEP.]
I’d love to get your career advice for 15-20 minutes. I’m currently working at Acme Tech Company, but many of my friends work in consulting and each time they tell me how much they love their job, I get more interested. [THE FIRST SENTENCE SAYS WHAT SHE WANTS. MOST PEOPLE ARE FLATTERED THAT PEOPLE WANT/VALUE THEIR ADVICE.]
Most of them have told me that if I’m interested in consulting, I have to talk to someone at Deloitte. Do you think I could ask you about your job and what motivated you to choose Deloitte? I’d especially love to know how you made your choices after graduating from Michigan State. [“MICHIGAN STATE” REINFORCES SHARED BOND.]
I can meet you for coffee or at your office…or wherever it’s convenient. I can work around you! [THE BUSY PERSON IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU. TREAT THEM ACCORDINGLY.]
Would it be possible for us to meet? [A BUSY PERSON CAN SIMPLY REPLY TO THIS WITH A “YES” — PERFECT. NOTE THAT I DIDN’T ASK FOR THE TIME/LOCATION AS THAT’S TOO MUCH INFORMATION IN THE FIRST EMAIL.]
You now have both the tactics (the email script) as well as a strategic approach (what the busy person is looking for and how you can adjust accordingly) for great email introductions.
For even more, I have more email scripts you can “plug and play” today for free.
Just enter your email in the box below for instant access to scripts for:
- How to ask for recommendations for people to talk to
- How to cold email a stranger for advice
- How to write a pitch for a consulting gig or a job interview
- And more!