All this week I'm sharing my top tips for building your professional relationships. So, now you've got a purpose and an initial list of contacts, then what?
Tip #3: Consider your heroes.
These are your "cold" calls — but you can look for connections that your "warm" contacts have to these folks. Your "warm" contacts may be able to make an introduction for you. LinkedIn or other social networking sites can help you see who your contacts already know and might be able to introduce you to.
Tip #4: Be specific in your request.
BEFORE you pick up the phone or type an email, review your purpose in networking (tip #1) and be able to articulate verbally and in writing why you're calling and what you want.
(Note: I think with the volume of email people get these days, that a phone call is likely to get you further, but use your own judgment).
The basic script for anyone you contact is something like this:
Then choose some acknowledgment of them, such as:
"I'm thinking about a shift in my current career direction and wanted your advice"
"It's been a while since we've connected, and I always find our conversations valuable"
"I've got an idea I've been mulling over and wanted to get your thoughts on this topic"
Lastly, make a specific request:
Most people will give you at least 30 minutes for a meeting, either by phone or in person.
You'll also need a way to keep track of who you've
talked to, when you talked to them, their contact information, and
who've they've referred you to. This can be a simple as some 3×5 cards
or as complex as a computer spreadsheet. You decide what works for
Come back to tomorrow for tips to use at the actual networking meeting!