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Craft your messages and hit send

By now you have thoughtfully created a short list of people who can help you reach your goal, and you’ve identified how each contact can specifically help you. But to really get what you need from them, you’ll need to craft a message that they will feel compelled to respond to. 

So you don’t overwhelm your inbox and calendar, we recommend doing this outreach in chunks instead of writing to your whole list at the same time. Find a rhythm and cadence that works best for you and your current bandwidth.‍

Craft your messages

It is important that you craft relevant messages for each of the contacts you’ve identified. If you send a generic, vague message to a contact, you actually run the risk of damaging the connection—people can spot a mass correspondence template pretty intuitively. Plus, it reduces the likelihood they will respond. What most people feel compelled to respond to is authenticity and recognition of their unique insights, so we’ll work on incorporating those aspects of a message.

Here are a few principles to write by:

  • Keep it concise and authentic to your relationship. This means you’ll want to draft your letter and then take the time to edit it to be simple and to the point. 

  • Make it personal. Incorporate something from a previous conversation you’ve had with the person, or an article that reminded you of their work or knowledge. Identify why you feel they are uniquely suited to being able to offer the insights or help you are asking for, and acknowledge what an asset that is. 

  • Include the purpose of your outreach and why you want to speak with them specifically. When people feel seen and recognized for their work and unique expertise, they know you have done your homework and will usually feel more inclined to help you. Getting to the point with your purpose quickly also helps them feel that you aren’t wasting their time with a vague request. 

  • If you want to set a meeting time, suggest a few options so they don’t have to. Make it as easy as possible for them to say yes.

People’s LinkedIn inboxes can get pretty noisy with recruiters, requests, and introductions, so if you have their business email, we recommend reaching out that way to stand out.

Here’s an example of an outreach email geared toward asking someone for advice. Feel free to use it as a template or structure you can adapt for your own email, or use the exercise in the workbook to craft your own structure. 

Hi {name}, 

I hope you’ve been well — I just read this article {link article}, which reminded me of our conversation last year at the {event that you were at together}. How are things going with that project? 

I know you have a great deal of experience in {x topic}, which is relevant to a project I’m working on. Are you free for a brief chat? I’d love to share some things I’ve learned recently that you might find of interest and get your take. 

If you’re free over the next few weeks, here are some times that work on my end (and I’m happy to provide alternatives if none of these options work!). 

Time option 1 

Time option 2 

Time option 3 

Let me know and I can shoot over a calendar invite to you. 

Hope to hear from you soon!

- {Your Name}

Hit send!

Once you’ve crafted your messages and properly proofread them, send them off! However, be prepared that not everyone will respond. Sometimes that’s due to a person’s current bandwidth, or glancing at your message but forgetting to respond, or just not being interested.

If they haven’t responded, follow up about a week later with a short note. Something along the lines of:

 “I know your inbox is probably crazy, but do let me know if you’re available to meet or if your schedule clears up in the future. Happy to reconnect any time!” 

At the end of the day, some people just won’t reply. And that’s ok! The important thing is to keep it moving. Even one response will likely lead you to more opportunities and potential connections, and that is what’s important to keep in sight.

We recommend keeping track of your interactions and conversations with people through a CRM of your own. Some popular CRM tools that we’ve seen are:‍

  • Notion

  • ConvertKit 

  • Harlow

  • Hubspot

  • Bonsai

  • Honeybook

  • Airtable

  • Google Sheet‍

Congratulations! You’ve completed your outreach and you’ve seen the opportunities to generate new business. Some key takeaways to remember:

  • Identify the kind of person you want to reach

  • Search for keywords that would be in their bios

  • Have a clear purpose for your outreach

  • Leverage LinkedIn search

  • Try to email them, but DM is fine too

  • Make custom messages to improve your response rate

  • A hard-earned connection can be ruined by one bad interaction

  • Some people just won’t reply, and that’s to be expected

  • Keep track of your interactions, conversations, and new connections that come up

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