How 3 emails tripled my number of potential clients
I started my style coaching business, Greater Than Rubies, last year. I wanted to help women quit feeling like they had “nothing to wear” so they could free up their time and resources to focus on more important things.
But I was struggling. I wasn’t growing as fast as I wanted to.
When I took a step back, I saw exactly why: I wasn’t networking.
I knew that’s how I would meet people who would help me grow my business and introduce me to potential clients.
But the thought of networking made me super nervous. It brought on hives and visions of sleazy salesmen dancing in my head. I didn’t want to be like that.
So I shied away from going to events that could help shift my business from just “making it” to becoming sustainable and profitable. No wonder I only had six clients in all of 2015.
Everything changed, however, when someone told me that when they network, they see it as an opportunity to help whoever they’re talking to. They also said that “networking” is everything from going to an event to sending an e-mail.
This simple explanation really resonated with me. It immediately shifted my mindset from seeing it as a necessary evil to seeing networking as an easy way to help more people, which is something I love to do.
It didn’t happen overnight, but this new mindset made it easier to approach people.
At events I’d look for a way to help at least one person I talked to. It made networking fun, and I started seeing the benefits right away:
- More people naturally learned about my business
- When I offered to help, they would often ask how they could help me in return
- And a lot of people offered to introduce me to someone who could also help me
Networking like this was working so well I decided to come up with a way to do more. I could only go to so many events, so I began sending three emails a week to connections, too.
Once I did this, in just three months, I tripled the number of people who became clients and I got three times as many press and speaking engagements as I did in all of last year.
In this post, I’m going to share my email scripts so you can build your relationships and revenue by contacting three new people a week.
These emails will help you:
- Spread the word about your business in a non-sleazy way
- Provide value to others by helping them, making them more likely to later help you
- Gain more customers
Let’s get started with the first (and easiest) email.
Email #1: Make people remember you
So often we mean to send a thank you, and then our busy schedule takes over and we never get around to it.
But taking just a few minutes to send a thank you can be the difference between meeting someone at an event and later having them introduce you to your “big break” press opportunity — or fading from that person’s memory forever.
Ramit calls this the Closing the Loop technique. It’s an easy email to start with, because no matter how successful people are, they like knowing they’ve made an impact on someone else.
Recently a connection of mine, Nicole, introduced me to Lisa, who has helped businesses across Dallas coordinate and organize everything from events to startups to construction projects.
Lisa is super connected. She goes to a new networking event every day in an area where my target audience lives. When we talked, she offered to put me in touch with local groups that align with my market.
Growing my client list is my main goal right now, so I decided to send Nicole a thank you email. I wanted her to feel like the effort she made to connect me with Lisa was worth her time. And by doing that, I knew she’d likely continue to introduce me to other people.
I kept the email short and simple:
Just a few lines can have a huge impact on your business
And a few weeks later, Nicole introduced me to a potential client. Other thank yous have led to an offer from a developer to work on my site (for a fraction of his usual fees), and a speaking engagement.
This email is quick and easy to do. Every week, ask yourself:
- Did someone do something last week that was really helpful for me? (i.e. introduce you to a contact, offer to help you, write a blog post that taught you something new)
- Is there anyone I’m meeting for the first time this week?
Pick the person who will be most beneficial to your business right now. Then, schedule a time in your calendar to write them so you don’t forget.
If you’re going to meet someone this week, plan to email them no later than the next business day. If you really want to make an impression, send them a handwritten note.
Whatever you do, here is a script you can follow:
Including details about where you met will make it easy for them to remember you. And giving specifics about what you’re thankful for and the action you plan to take as a result will make your email stand out.
Taking no more than 10 minutes to send this simple email every week will help you start relationships that can lead to new contacts, more clients, press opportunities, and more.
Don’t underestimate the power a thank you can have on your business.
Email #2: Be the first person others think of
This next email helps strengthen your relationships by offering to help, scheduling a phone call, or taking someone to coffee for an informational interview or to catch up.
“Touching base” like this every now and then keeps you on someone’s mind. This way, when they meet someone new, they think, “Dan has to meet Susan! He’d be a great client/connection for her!”
Plus, spending time with someone or doing something for them will help them get to know, like, and trust you more. That will make them more likely to help you out.
For example, I knew of Kristina because we’d attended a few of the same networking events. But we didn’t get a chance to talk until the ribbon cutting event for my business.
She’s very connected in the community, and while we were chatting, she mentioned an upcoming event she thought I might be interested in. I knew the attendees would be in my target audience, so I emailed her later to set up a coffee date to learn more.
This email could lead to 100s of new clients.
We had coffee, and now we’re talking about hosting an event together this fall. It will put me in front of hundreds of potential clients I wouldn’t reach otherwise. Plus, she’ll promote my company and the event to her thousands of social media followers.
Or take my email to Chayse. She specializes in helping startups become sustainable and profitable — which is exactly what I want help with. When we met at an event, she offered to get together to answer some questions.
Before our meeting, I emailed her to see if there was anything I could do to make our time as productive — and worthwhile for her — as possible.
Make someone else’s time worthwhile, and they’ll be more willing to help you.
She not only answered my questions at the meeting, she also arranged for me to speak at a large corporate event, and we’re talking about doing another. All of this will help me reach more potential clients.
This type of email can have ripple effects, too.
Because of one coffee date, I was interviewed on a radio show, which included a free 30-second commercial about my business. They replayed both several times that month, and now we’re talking about doing something similar twice a year.
To keep your business moving forward, pick one relationship to invest in each week. Ask yourself:
- Have I come across a need that I can help with? (Even if there’s nothing you’ll get out of it today, people like to help people who help them. This e-mail could open the door to an opportunity down the road.)
- Who have I met recently that I could learn a lot from? (Set up an informational interview with them.)
- Is there someone who’s been an advocate for me or my business in the past that I haven’t seen in awhile? (Reach out and ask how they’re doing, and you open a door to tell them what’s happening in your business.)
Again, pick the person who will make the biggest impact on your business and schedule a time to email.
Here is a script you can follow:
Keep the email short with a clear call to action, and add any details (like calculating the time to their time zone) that will make it easier for them to say yes.
Email #3: Grow your business
This last email asks for something that will build your business.
You might ask someone to collaborate on a project, or send a pitch to someone who has expressed interest in working with you. You could also follow up on someone’s offer to connect you with another person.
When I first started, this email was the hardest to write. Asking for things — especially sales — made me nervous, because I didn’t want to come across as pushy.
To get past that, I thought back to the networking advice that started this whole experiment: It’s not just asking; it’s offering to help. If I have a product or service that can help someone and I don’t tell them about it, I’m doing them a disservice.
This helped push me to reach out to John.
I had started doing speaking engagements, and the majority of the events were booked by women’s church groups. John is a pastor with connections at large churches all over the United States, and he’d offered to introduce me to his large network.
I emailed him to follow up on his offer.
Following up on John’s offer got my business in front of 2,500+ people.
John responded and asked for the script I mentioned. I sent it, and he not only got my business in front of his contacts, he also shared it on his Facebook page, which has more than 2,500 followers.
If you’re not sure what to ask for, here are a few ideas:
- Ask for a book recommendation about an area of your business that you’re struggling with
- Email someone in your area about the groups they’re a part of and ask if they know any that would benefit your business
- Ask a specific question about something you want to do better that you know that person excels at
- Ask a friend for an introduction to a contact you know could provide insight or connections that would be valuable. If they’ve already offered to connect you to someone, you have a really easy ask!
Here’s a script you can use:
Include anything that makes it easier for them to say yes. Maybe you offer to write a script to introduce you to their colleague. Or, if they’re super busy, you can include 3-5 specific questions for them to reply to so they don’t have to take the time to meet you.
If you’re like me and struggle with the idea of asking someone for something, remember to think about it in terms of helping versus asking.
They might say no, but if you don’t ask, it will always be a no. And if they say yes, you’ll likely get an opportunity for your business that would have never happened otherwise.
Build your business, one email at a time
These emails may seem simple — and they are.
But there’s a difference between knowing that path and walking it. The fact is, simple though these emails may be, most business owners are NOT sending them — or getting the results that I did.
By contacting just three people a week to thank them, check in, or ask for something, you’re strengthening relationships and growing your network. This will lead to opportunities to improve your business and reach more potential clients.
Comparing only the first quarter of 2016 to all of 2015, I not only tripled my number of clients, I also got to speak to all sorts of groups through radio interviews and events at Chambers, colleges, state and national organizations, and more.
Speaking to a local Chamber organization.
Of course this has helped spread the word about my business, but more importantly, it’s made me more confident.
The more I talk about my business, the more I learn how I can provide even greater value to my target audience, and the better I become at communicating that message.
Now, I want to know: Which email will you send first, who are you going to send it to, and why?
Tell me in the comments! Also, feel free to ask any questions you have, and I’ll get back to you.