Networking emails may not have been a networking method you used often in the past. But, times have definitely changed. “As many professionals embrace a hybrid remote work environment and the future of in-person events remains in flux, the ability to network remotely is an essential skill,” explains Danny Rubin in an article for HubSpot.
You’ve likely used email as an engagement tool in the past, but what about for networking purposes? To a stranger? There are certain points that can make a networking email especially effective, and thankfully, Rubin discusses these must-add points in his article.
Networking emails are more important than ever
While in-person events and meetings are still on hold for many, embracing email as a way to network is a smart move. There’s a chance that hybrid work will actually continue well into the future regardless of COVID-19. A July 2021 SalesForce survey found that 43% of reps expect to return to the office full time after the pandemic.
And not only are emails now a safer and easier method of communication than in-person, buyers actually welcome sales emails. SalesFuel’s 2021 Voice of the Buyer survey found that email leads as the top way they prefer to interact with salespeople; this method edged out both in-person and phone calls.
How to reach out to a stranger
Rubin points out that networking email strategies should differ depending on who you are emailing. If the person is someone you have not yet met, your cold email should be constructed a bit differently than usual. He shares points that you should try to include in this type of email:
Tell them something about their work you admire
If this is someone you’d like to engage with further, whether as a prospect or even a mentor, hopefully you’ve already done your homework about them. When reaching out via a networking email, make mention of something they have said, done or written that impacted you. Did they share an article on LinkedIn? Or lead a webinar about an industry topic? Whatever it was, be as specific as possible when mentioning it; this shows you are being genuine.
This can be easy to do if you both attended the same college or belong to the same professional organization. But Rubin says that smaller similarities also work. Keep an eye on their social media posts if you’re stumped about a commonality; at some point, they’ll hint at a hobby, favorite sports team or travel destination that you have a link to.
Show what value you can offer
Likely, you are reaching out for a reason. Maybe you’d like to know if they’d be a good fit for what you’re selling. Or, perhaps you’re looking to learn more about their industry and want to schedule a Zoom chat. Whatever the reason, you can use your networking email to offer a little something of value to them as well. “Consider how you might be able to assist them in return,” Rubin writes. “Can you write a blog post for their website? Is there someone you could connect them with in return? Make this a mutually beneficial exchange.”
More points and templates to guide you
These are just three of the tips he shares for writing networking emails to someone you haven’t yet met. He then goes on to share must-add points for writing to someone that you have met, highlighting different ways to make a connection. Also, for both, he includes template networking emails that you can use to model your own after. Now is definitely the time to hone these skills, especially if a hybrid office schedule is here to stay. And, just as you would in-person, use your networking emails to showcase your professionalism and skills. As Rubin adds, “The best way to build a relationship is to listen, learn, and ask questions.”
Photo by Brooke Cagle