My friends frequently ask me the secret of how I connect with influential people. It is actually quite easy, but people do not think so. They want to complicate things. Life is simple, but our notions are complex. In this article I am sharing the secrets that I have uncovered in the two years of my startup life.
Twitter is the most effective tool for finding influential people in my industry. You can try the same in your industry. Start searching with the keywords of your industry. Add people to a Twitter list. Find relevant people on others' Twitter lists.
You can easily connect with top influential people on LinkedIn. Don't send them spam-like messages while connecting. We will discuss how to connect with them in the next step.
This is not a secret - you can find interesting and relevant people by searching on Google.
Some blogs feature interviews of powerful people on their blogs. Spend some time to find the Top10 influential people in the finance industry in India.
What you might be doing...
….looking for their email id on their website. Most likely you will find info@domain or help@domain.You cannot be certain if your email will reach the Founder or not. Company Founders do not disclose their email ids on their websites - to avoid spammers.
What your should do (email by jugaad)
We Indians are known for jugaad - the rest of the world calls it Lifehack. If you can’t find the email id from Twitter, then compose an email and send it to <firstname>@domain. This jugaad works for almost all startups, but may fail with the big companies. If your email bounces back, try sending the same email to firstname.lastname@domain.You can also take help from tools like rapportive.com.
[On a lighter note, I have to reveal here that if you want to reach out to me, you don’t have to ask for my email id! You can send emails to Pardeep@cashoverflow.in]
Connecting over Twitter
In most cases, people do respond on Twitter. You can simply tweet about why you are reaching out to him/her and politely ask for an email id.
Sample tweet: “I read about you in < source>. I work in the <education> industry and need some assistance. Would you like to share your email id via DM?”
Subscribe to their newsletters
You can subscribe to company newsletters. You may receive newsletter emails from an automated email channel, but in many cases there is a welcome email from the Founder’s email id. Try to locate the id in the welcome email or just press reply and you will see his email id in the ‘To’ field.
Connect with the person over LinkedIn and you may find his email id in the contact me section.
Do not send him a LinkedIn invite with the default text that appears on the Invite screen. Send him a relevant and personalized message. I do not accept LinkedIn connections where I cannot see the purpose in the connection. It is difficult to filter out which is spam and which people are genuinely interested if you just say, “I want to add you to my professional network.”
Sample LinkedIn Invite: “I read about you on <channel>. I find that you have worked on educating people in personal finance. I am helping a fin-tech startup with data analytics. I want to share my financial insights with you, and seek your help in improving our platform. It would be great to be a part of your network.”
In this way, you are conveying in the first line that you read about him somewhere and are not just hunting people on LinkedIn. In the second line you are telling him what you like about him. Next, you tell him about yourself, followed by how you can help each other. You can customize your message using these parameters.
The best way to connect with them is via email.
Wait!! Before shooting them an email, you have to think about your purpose of connection and the level of the influential person.
Are you reaching out to a CEO of a big company or startup? Do you want to get hired or have partnership proposal? Are you looking for investment for your startup?
You have to reach out to the right guy for the right purpose. If you have critical work like hiring or investment, then try to find out a common connection. You will find someone in your network who knows your target person. LinkedIn is the best place to find a common friend.
Ask your common link to introduce you with the influencer. Warm introductions work way better than cold emails.
If you can't find a common connection, then figure out people or startups in his connection whom you can connect with. Try to establish a connection with them using the same method. Meet them and win their trust. Ask them for an introduction.
For cold emailing, send the person a short and crisp email. You can refer my article that I wrote on drafting precise and concise emails.
After sending an email, tweet him/her that you just sent an email and are waiting for a response. If that person is not active on Twitter, then send a message on Facebook or LinkedIn. People get tons of emails daily: a small tweet will help them in recalling the context - if you already had a discussion. You twitter image and bio will help them connect with you better when they read your email.
You have now done more than ninety per cent of the work - more than anyone else who might still be cold emailing influential people. You can apply these simple tricks to connect with investors, customers, and advisors.
Let me know if any of these hacks work for you. My articles are worthwhile only if they help you move forward. Your comments motivate me to write better and share more.