Think about your own inbox. Which emails do you respond to the quickest? Do some emails take a little more thought and time to write your response. Are there ones that you delete with no response? I receive around 10 ‘sales’ emails every day. It’s very rare that I reply to them. Some of them just aren’t relevant, some of them are generic and sometimes I’m just too busy so it’s easier to press delete. The ones I do reply to are crafted specifically to me – they have taken the time to get to know the issues important to my role at Stellar. What about you? Do you ignore emails from senior leaders within your organisation? Thought not. Well at least if you know what’s good for your career.
Our friends in the community team at Officeworks talk about how referrals from senior leaders within their organisation almost always get a response or a meeting when requested. People don’t ignore those in senior roles to them. It’s why it’s crucial to get yourself a warm introduction to the prospect you’re trying to meet with. It will stop them hitting delete on that carefully crafted email you’ve sent. It means they’ll probably read it thoroughly and give some thought to what you are asking for.
If you want to get in front of a prospect the easiest and quickest way is to get a warm introduction to them. So how do you find warm introductions?
I love LinkedIn as a tool for corporate partnerships. Once you have your prospect company search for them as a company on LinkedIn. This will bring up their company profile page with boxes such as ‘Home’, ‘About’ ‘Posts’, ‘Jobs’ and ‘People’. Click on People and you’ll find a treasure trove of information. It will tell you how many employees, where they live, where they studied and list all of the employees in the company. Underneath the profile tile for each employee, you will see the number of shared connections. Can one of these offer you a warm introduction? It will dramatically speed up the amount of time it takes you to acquire a new partner.
This is why its super important to keep your LinkedIn profile up to date. Are you connected with all of the senior executives within your organisation? What about your board members – have you LinkedIn with them too?
Also, note that LinkedIn provides a wee snippet about the employee profile of a company. How long the average tenure is for, and whether the company is growing in the number of roles or decreasing. This is valuable information that you can discuss with your prospect in the discovery meeting.
Do you have friends that work in a similar industry? You never know unless you ask. They might just know somebody at your prospects company that you can do a fact find with to establish who is the right person to talk to.
Other social platforms – they have already done the work of navigating the 6 degrees that separates us all. It will take a quick 5 second search on socials to see if you have any friends in common. They might have their social locked down in privacy settings but hey, you’ve only wasted 5 seconds. And if they haven’t, it can give you a good snippet of their life and lifestyle.
Ask for it
Is your prospect pipeline visible within your organisation? Make it visible and ask your own organisation if anyone has a senior level executive within their network at the list of your companies. If you don’t ask, you can’t receive. You need to work out a way of promoting your pipeline through your internal communication channels. Whether that be through all staff broadcasts, board papers or through putting posters up in the toilets (yes, we did this!). This also helps give you visibility to the whole organisation about what you’re up to in partnerships.
Have you done a search in your database for people on it who have the @companyname.com.au email address? You might be surprised by what you find. Again, it’s just a quick database search. Have you got any company employees that are currently donating to your work? They are already warm to you, they love your work enough to donate to it and they know who you are. Now you just need to establish whether they will be willing to provide an introduction to somebody within their organisation who might be the right person to talk to about partnerships. This simple search has caught me out. I was trying to get in front of a large Australian mining company and was having no luck. I once took a call from the EA to the CEO who wanted to give a large tax time donation. The CEO had been giving to the charity for 10+ years. Gah – they were right under my nose all along. Don’t be me and do a quick database search.
All these searches will literally take no more than 10 minutes of your time and finding that warm connection will stop them pressing the delete button. It also might lead you to your next valuable partnership. Is all lost if you don’t have a warm connection/ introduction? No, but you need to be smarter and put a bit more work in to find the right contact to warm them up. More on this later. If you’re struggling to get meetings at the moment join our WIN more partners program which delves deeply into the tactics for securing meetings with warm or cold prospects.