John Sattler, CPC
Great marketers figured out long ago that getting people to say “yes” to 1 or 2 painless propositions prior to asking them to make a purchase is very effective. Political campaigns use this technique too. They ask homeowners to display a small placard in their window for a few days before asking them to plant a sign in the front yard. The conversion rate for this technique is amazing.
In reaching out to people in your network who are not personal friends, the same procedure works wonders. In other words, don’t send a resume on your first communication. You will receive much better results sending out a short note or 2 first, depending on your relationship with the recipient. Why? Because it is painless; you are not asking someone to open or read a document sent by someone they either don’t know or with whom they are vaguely familiar.
If you are in job search mode, you have probably heard it is better to ask for advice when networking vs directly addressing the fact that you are seeking a job. That approach runs the risk of putting you in a position of appearing subservient and/or disingenuous. Approach people as an equal. The following technique allows you to be direct, respectful, professional, and not risk the appearance dancing around the issue. Better yet, it has a personal touch.
LinkedIn makes this process very easy. With a few tweaks, it can be done either through email or LinkedIn’s message system. Here is how it works:
Hi Mary, I know of you through (a friend, coworker, event, etc) and wanted to invite you into my network. When I hear back from you, I’ll send you a short note. (NEVER use the generic note provided by LinkedIn. ALWAYS personalize)
Responds? Send 2nd note
Doesn’t respond? Wait 3-5 days and resend
Subject Line: Reaching Out
Thanks for responding. I trust this note is finding you well! I have recently launched a full-throttle job search and wanted to reach out to you. Instead of being assumptive by immediately sending a resume, a few highlights give a good idea of my value proposition as a VP of Sales:
> Increased revenue 187% during tenure – VP Sales, North America, abc Company/5 years
> Successfully launched 2 new products into new retail channel – abc company
> Served on Executive Committee, playing key role in M&A integration – abc company
> Realigned / upgraded national sales force (125) now regarded as one of the industry’s best – xyz company / 6 years
> BS Marketing / MBA
If you, a colleague, or friend knows of a relevant position, I’ll gladly forward my resume. Can I do anything for you from my end? Please let me know.
Responds? Send Resume
Doesn’t respond? Wait roughly a week-10 days and send again.
Send your resume via email as an attachment with a short note in the email body. Make sure your resume has a link to your LinkedIn profile. At this point, you have established enough rapport to personalize the note and subject line.
If you don’t hear anything back within a week, send a short follow up note asking if they need anymore information.
You may receive responses with jobs that don’t fit or you are not interested in. This gives you a great opportunity to reciprocate and recommend someone.
Expect at least a 40% substantive response rate from your bullets!