How do you reach out and connect with people who have no idea who you are?
Firstly, keep in mind: the worst that can happen is that you are ignored or your request is rejected. That’s it.
Your message, whether by phone, email or in person, should:
Make sure that you block any suggested meeting times in your calendar.
After the initial contact, follow-up with 2-3 days. If by email, a simple one-liner will suffice –
“I am following up my earlier email message (below). It would be great if you have time to meet up.
By placing your earlier email (below) your follow-up message, you save them the effort of looking up the earlier email.
Before committing their time, it’s reasonable for a person to want to know a little more about you and why you would like to meet them.
Prepare! It may only be a 10-minute coffee but you need to sell the idea why they should connect with you. Research them, develop a set of questions (more on this later), share something that may be of interest to them. If you have a print-out even better – something to remember you by. Seek out ways in which you may be able to help them.
In The Education of Millionaires, author Michael Ellsberg advocates asking successful people these two questions:
Make contact again quickly (“thank you, I learned a lot. Here’s a link to that article I mentioned.”)
Stay in touch using the Edge systematic approach to networking.
And here’s some advice from Ramit Sethi on how to talk to successful people: