A Social Network for Women in Business, Women Entrepreneurs, and Bloggers
Perfect Your Pitch For Maximum Impact
I love interacting with people. Sometimes, I have the opportunity to be of service, either through one-on-one coaching, this blog, or as a result of connections at social sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Savor The Success. It warms my heart to receive notes from people who say they enjoy my work and have exciting ideas about how we can collaborate. In addition to those email messages, I also receive cookie-cutter messages saying how "wonderful" I am, and then asking me to do something like exchange links, feature their product or service on my radio show, etc.
Cookie-cutter pitches are incredibly annoying. I can tell when an email that purports to address me individually is actually part of a bowl of pasta that someone thew at the wall in the hopes that something would stick. Don't pitch people like that. Be genuine and sincere and you'll make perfect partnering pitches and have more fun in the process. A true story illustrates my point.
Last week, I received an email message from someone I don't know and have never heard of before. There was no "Dear Donna Maria" at the top, and the body of the message said this, "Your organizations focus on women is incredible. I've passed along this flyer so you can share it with your staff or your audience. Thank you- Name." This was followed by a business name, a street address, a phone number, an email address and a website address. The email also had an attachment, which I think she expected me to open. Before you read on, think for a minute about what you would do it you received such a message.
What I Did
My first thought was to wonder how she knew that my focus on women was so "incredible." I could have been flattered, but there was no indication that she was really talking to me. It looked like a canned message that was sent to hundreds if not thousands of anonymous people. That's not a good way to introduce yourself to someone when you want them to promote your work. Even so, I was curious.
So, I Wrote Back
I responded to the email as follows, "Thanks, why are you sending me a flyer? What is it? Who are you? What do you do ...?"
And She Responded
I received a very nice reply, which said:
Why Not Say That At First?!
All of this made me wonder why she didn't tell me all of those great and wonderful things in the first place.
When contacting someone to ask them to connect you with their audience, know that the person receiving your request will probably want to know how you heard about them. They will also appreciate being addressed by their name. And they will probably be very hesitant to open an attachment from someone they don't know.
They'll appreciate you providing enough information to allow them to "investigate" you a bit before taking any action. In my case, I get dozens of emails weekly from people wanting to connect with me and my circle of business colleagues. There are only so many hours in a day, so I focus on the requests I receive from clients and members of IBN first, and then on sincere inquiries that seem to be genuinely targeted to me. After all, if someone doesn't care enough to make their offer seem special, then they have no reason to expect others to treat it as though it's special.
If you want to use an email message to attempt to collaborate with a complete stranger, address them by name, include a short introduction about yourself and what you do, and tell them exactly what it is you want them to do with and/or for you. It shouldn't be too long and flowery. It should be interesting and easy to read, and get quickly to the point.
Sample Outreach Letter
You can use this sample outreach letter to introduce yourself and the collaborative opportunities you have to offer. It's skeletal, and meant to be that way, so that you can infuse your own details and personality into the mix. I hope it's helpful.
Dear Donna Maria,
My name is Joanna Doe, president of Joanna Doe Company. I provide products that help people do this or that. I heard about you from so and so's blog and I am writing to find out if you might be interested in working with me to do thus and such.
I know that you are a big fan of these things and those things, and since I am as well, perhaps we could join together on this project that I believe would be beneficial to each of us, and to our customers. You can read lots of details about my products at this link, but the short overview is that I would like to connect with you to create a whatever your idea is that will accomplish the goal of whatever the goal is. The benefits for you are these and these benefits. All you would have to do to participate is this and this. I will take care of the rest, such as announcing your involvement in my blog, at my website and in my newsletter, which has this many opt in subscribers. (See a recent issue, plus what my readers have to say at this link.)
I hope this interests you and I'll follow up by phone at the number at your website in a few days to discuss this exciting opportunity. I am also interested in knowing if you have any ideas so feel free to call me at the number below or send me an email with your questions or thoughts.
I look forward to connecting!
Thanks for your time,
Other marketing copy
I used some of the techniques described here to get my blog listed in the Small Business category at Alltop. And while email is great, sometimes people's websites or blogs will tell you the best way to pitch them an idea. Failing to follow their instructions to a tee is the surest way to get your idea tossed in the delete folder. And don't forget that, sometimes there's no substitute for a friendly phone calls or an in-person meeting to pave the way to new and exciting collaborative opportunities.
What do you think?
First impressions count, even in email messages. Even though technology makes connecting easy and cost-free, we still must use basic manners and etiquette. Don't make the mistake of coming across as unprofessional or insincere. Both are deal breakers, don't you think?
How do you connect with other people? Weigh in with your ideas and tips for creating new collaborative ventures that help you and others accomplish their goals. And don't forget to leave a link that describes your successful collaboration so we can find out more!
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