The way most people follow up is wrong. They’re asking strangers for things like a “connection”, a meeting and even a job without offering anything of value. Without building trust.
Often times you’re asking someone, a complete stranger to invest their time, their resources and most importantly their knowledge (which has taken them a lifetime to gain) in you, for free. While offer nothing in return.
This is a “palm down” approach. What can you do for me? What value can I beg, borrow, steal or take from you for free? It doesn’t work. Why would someone offer you their most valuable asset for free? Because you sent them follow up email?
Instead what you should be doing is earning their time, resources and knowledge. Give them value until they are compelled to give you something back.
Jim Rohn said “success leaves clues” and if you want to learn how to be successful, take a successful person to lunch… and pay! Think about that. Why would a successful person want to take an unsuccessful person to lunch? There’s nothing in it for them!
It’s up to you to earn what they have – earn what you want!
Earning help with a follow up email is easy – try using a “palm up” approach. What can I offer you?
- Start with a compliment. Do you know how many people email me and ask for my time, resources and knowledge – for free without even being polite about it? , Do your homework and compliment them on their website, blog or events you attended. Everyone loves to be complimented! If you want something from someone the best way to start your follow up email is with a compliment.
- Offer them something of value. It could be an article, a video (Ted Talks are perfect). Anything they might find interesting. Send it along with a simple note saying, “I came across this article/video this morning and thought of you. I’d love to know your thoughts.”
- Be Timely. Don’t follow up every day. Not even every other day. Send a new interesting piece of information every 10-14 days. If you really want to earn trust and get their attention, refer a friend to one of their jobs!
Let me give you an example. Here is a real follow up email I received asking for my time, resources and knowledge.“Hi Corey,Just wondering when your next networking workshop is or if you have any other networking advice you could give me. Cheers,” It doesn’t inspire me to help. But getting me inspired is easy…
What if they wrote something like this…“Hey Corey, I attended your last Career Strategy Session, I loved it – thank you. I’ve left a comment on your website to let others know how great it was. I’ll be sure to like and share any other articles you publish as well and help spread your message. I know your time is valuable and I was wondering if I could buy you a coffee and pick your brain for 20 minutes about some more networking ideas. I can’t wait for your next event and I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks”
There’s “value” for me here. A social media comment, a promise of social media shares and likes and even a free coffee. This is might be worth 20 minutes of my time!