Whether it’s for
fundraising, business development or sales activities, being able to contact
people you don’t know is a significant factor on your way to success. So here’s
a short guide of Do’s and Don’ts.
One big don't is cold calling
people. Even if you’re lucky enough to
be answered, most chances are that the person you’re contacting is in the
middle of something else and would get irritated by the interruption.
Sending cold emails is
usually not effective as well. This is especially the case when you’re
approaching someone very busy. The business contacts you probably need, get
more cold emails than anyone could handle.
1. Find someone who
can make an introduction. The
most effective way to approach someone is to find someone else who can make an
introduction. Ideally, the person introducing you should be someone you know
well. But if you don’t have someone like that, any introduction is usually
better than a cold email. When you're asking for someone to introduce you, make
their life easy and send them a few sentences about your company that they can
simply forward on (i.e. write it in third person). I’ll try to publish an
example I've personally used in the near future.
2. Use LinkedIn. Most people still use their email as their
main communication channel. This makes their inbox extremely overloaded.
However, only few people have an overloaded LinkedIn inbox, which makes it more
accessible for you. In addition, when you get a LinkedIn InMail, you can easily
see the profile of the person approaching you. This makes the communication
somewhat more personal, and thus increases the chances of getting an
3. Network. Networking is about creating connections with
people before you need something from them. So if you’re planning a
financing round, start hanging out in events that investors attend enough time
before you want to use these connections. The same goes for business
development. Start attending conferences that are related to your industry and
make connections long before you need to start your business development
4. Ask for general
advice before asking for a specific favor. If you have no other choice but sending a cold email, then
first ask to get the person's general advice. People love offering their
opinion and are more responsive when asked for non-specific help. So first
create a relationship by asking for general advice. If it's an investor your
approaching, then if you're project is interesting enough he'll anyhow ask by himself
whether you're looking for funding.
And whatever method you’re using, keep your message short and to the point!
Labels: Business Development, Fundraising