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I received an email yesterday from someone who I didn’t know – which prompted me to reply immediately. Now, just in case you are wondering it wasn’t a potential prospect or a highly influential journalist wanting an interview. In fact, there may be no personal benefit to me in meeting this person. So, what did they do so well, and how can you replicate their approach?

A positioning statement

First, they included a short positioning statement (whats your soundbyte gives great way of doing this), which made me prick my ears up as it is within my target market:

I work in the xxxxx legal market in London and run a small startup company.

Now you may not occupy the same sector space as the person to whom you are writing; but where do you have connections or interests in common? (you may find some ideas in How can I use LinkedIn to connect with prospects I don’t yet know? – Click here to read it) If you can name drop at this point, then do so.

Flattery helps!

Then, they spent a good paragraph flattering me! It’s factual flattery, nothing too over the top (well, I like to think it’s not too over the top but my business partner may not agree):

I have recommended your FT book to at least a dozen lawyers and bought it as a gift for four more. I have recommended your LinkedIn and Twitter Guides to numerous people and suggested they look at the content of your workshops. I am putting together my marketing plan for this year, and have integrated your networking approach into it. I am finding your tips, templates and approach tremendously helpful as I put structure around everything.

What can you say in your email to flatter the other person? What presentation of theirs did you enjoy? Which article have you read which you have sent around to your network? Have you left a review for them on amazon for their book?

A valuable offer, but not doesn’t have to be sales related.

Then, in the email they offered me something of value – in this case, a piece of feedback on my book. However, the words used to offer this feedback was softened, particularly as they had just spent the previous paragraph explaining how much they liked my book:

May I be so bold to offer some ideas?

What could you include in your email which would be of value to the person you are writing to? Perhaps some business intelligence? An article on something of interest to them? An article which you have written praising them or their company? A point of view on something they have written?

A call to action

After a good balanced discussion, the author of the email, then included a call to action, at the end of the email:

I read in your blog and book that you work with accountants and lawyers; should you be in London and interested to discuss this angle of online marketing, particularly why it is so useful for professional women in the legal profession, I would be delighted to buy the coffee.

How could I refuse such a lovely request for a meeting? The person clearly knows that I can’t revisit an invite to meet someone well connected to the legal market place.

When you think about your call to action, do some research on the other person. What do you think will make them interested enough to have a meeting with you? Always offer to buy the lunch or coffee, as it makes it easier for the other person to say yes. After all, doesn’t everyone like a free lunch (did you read “Network whilst you eat” and Research places to meet). Remember that you don’t have to do this all by yourself, you can delegate your networking tasks!

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What has worked for you in obtaining meetings with hard to meet people?