While cold emails might be worth trying as a last resort, there is so much more you can do to strike up a conversation with a desired potential partner or mentor. That’s why we asked 12 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) how they go about getting the attention of higher-ups.
Here’s what YEC community members had to say:
“Any savvy networker always knows to do some research to identify the connections they have with a desired business prospect. Look up mutual connections on LinkedIn or Twitter to figure out who has the closest connection, then ask them for an introduction. When asking for the introduction, make sure you give them a clear reason why you want to connect and how you can add value to their contact.” ~ Andy Karuza, FenSens
“Whether you publish on Medium, LinkedIn, Twitter or elsewhere, the best way to get on someone’s radar is to write about them. This cannot be superficial (“She’s great!”) but should aim to tease out a deeper meaning in her work. If the piece is actually useful, folks will share it. You can then approach the leader, credibly claim that you’re an admirer, and ask for a meeting.” ~ Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches
“Instead of drowning in the noise of the crowd asking the leader to review the business opportunity right out of the gate, first try to add value in other ways. You will be surprised by how much more receptive someone is to learn about a business opportunity if you have first demonstrated that you genuinely want to collaborate and not just take time and investment capital.” ~ Doug Bend, Bend Law Group, PC
“A key leader rarely dictates their own calendar. More often than not, there’s an assistant who holds the power in terms of who gets slotted, who gets bumped, and who gets a meeting over a phone call. Figuring out who that person is and speaking to them will not only create an internal advocate for you but they can help position you to be in the right place at the right time.” ~ Kim Kaupe, ZinePak
“Approach a leader in a way that demonstrates that you respect his or her time and will use it wisely. Ask yourself a few questions before reaching out: Do you have a real reason to connect? Why is this leader the best person to talk to? Have you exhausted all other possibilities? And are you really committed to what you are doing?” ~ Christopher Kelly, Convene
“Most key leaders have some sort of online presence. So commenting on their blog posts or social media profiles with intelligent, thought out comments or questions will get you to stand out from the noise. From there you can leverage that connection into a conversation with them, either through social media or by email. ” ~ Stanley Meytin,True Film Production
“I’ve secured a number of calls and meetings with key leaders through video greeting cards. You can record a personal message onto a greeting card with a built-in screen and speakers and ship it to the person’s desk. The idea is so novel that they’ll feel bad if they don’t call you back.” ~ Douglas Baldasare, ChargeItSpot
“It really depends on the opportunity, but if we’re talking broad-based, start looking for mutual connections either through Linkedin or other resources. Try to find a common ground, a common connection, ask for introductions and start from there. ” ~ Jayna Cooke, EVENTup
“Here’s the thing: key leaders in any industry are inundated with requests. To get their attention, start by offering value — something that saves them time or money is a great place to start. Once you can show someone you have something to offer, they’re far more likely to engage and offer back.” ~ Andru Edwards, Gear Live
“You can upload a custom list of contacts to Twitter and show your ads only to those users. In this case, the list can be one person and you can serve up ads positioning yourself as a thought leader and knowledge expert promoting content that addresses the target’s pain points or needs. The content should have a clear CTA because eventually the key leader will see you as an expert and click through.” ~ Nick Chasinov, Teknicks
“A leader’s time is always in demand, so you need to stand out. Pay attention to where they are engaging online. Follow their posts, tweets, etc. and comment or like their content so that they become familiar with you. Reach out for advice with some aspect of your business where they can add value, and be persistent. Don’t ask for something huge right away, but focus on building the relationship.” ~ Ajay Yadav, Roomi
“We have used lumpy mail to reach high-level prospects. This means sending them a package with something of significant value with our pitch or a request for a call. It could be a fruit basket or something that relates directly to our offer like an iPad with a video of our pitch. This is only recommended for high-level prospects because of the cost involved.” ~Justin Sachs, Motivational Press
Whether you want to launch an idea, spark a movement or simply get people talking about what you do, you have one shot
at delivering your message in a way that matters. Let’s make sure you do it right.