How to get a meeting with anyone.
Posted by Molly Wendell // in Networking
So, you’ve done your homework. You know with whom you’d like to meet. You even have a referral to that person (and if you don’t, get one!). Now what do you do?
Well, here’s what you don’t do. You don’t try and meet with them over email. So often, I ask people if they’ve connected with one of their networking targets, and they say “I sent an email. I haven’t heard back.” Do you realize how easy it is to hide behind email? Of course you do…you’re probably guilty of it yourself.
Instead of hiding behind your mysterious email veil, do something really crazy. Pick up the phone. You remember what a phone is, right? It’s that ringing thing you answer anytime, anywhere (which is a completely separate discussion altogether!!). That’s right. Make Bell proud. Pick up the phone and call that person. But be strategic. I typically use the call/call/email approach. Here’s what it looks like:
Make the first call when you don’t believe they’ll be there. I’m going to assume you’re calling someone’s office, so call sometime between 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Leave a message like this:
Hi Bill, this is Molly Wendell. Curt Fletcher suggested I give you a call and set up a time to meet. Curt said some great things about you and I’m really looking forward to meeting you. I can be reached at 480-123-4567. Again, my number is 480-123-4567. Thank you.
WARNING!! Bill may actually pick up the phone, so be prepared for this. I remember I was getting out of a meeting one day and my phone rang. It was someone I had met at the meeting about an hour before. I picked up the call, and the person said “Oh, I was expecting to get your voicemail.” So, I said “Great. Let me help you with that.” And I hung up. He called back and got my voice mail…just like he wanted. Right?
Okay, back to Bill. After this first message, will Bill call you back? Probably not. So, you call again (maybe 3 days later). This time, you call at a time when you believe Bill will be in the office. This call sounds something like this:
Hi Bill. Molly Wendell again, referred by Curt Fletcher. I’m really looking forward to setting up a time to meet with you. Tell you what. I’m going to send you an email with some possible dates/times. If it’s easier to get back to me that way, then great. Otherwise, I can be reached at 480-123-4567. Again, 480-123-4567.
Then, you’ve earned the right to send an email right away. I assume that if you’re smart enough to dial a phone, you can probably figure out how to get someone’s email. Calling the company and asking, or checking online and looking at how other people’s emails are structured would be two easy ways. This is what your email looks like:
SUBJECT: Ref’d by Curt Fletcher
I’m really looking forward to getting a few minutes of your time. Curt said so many great things about you. Please let me know if any of these work for you:
Tues., 11/25 or Wed., 11/26 – anytime after 10am.
And you know what. Chances are good that Bill will respond (and if he doesn’t in a timely manner – timely being about 2-3 weeks – I will go back to Curt and ask for his help in gently reminding Bill about me). The meeting may be further out on the calendar than you want, but that’s okay. Just as long as you secure a meeting. Remember, Curt didn’t give me Bill’s info because he DIDN’T want a meeting to happen.
ANOTHER WARNING: If they offer to have the conversation over the phone, simply say “Oh, I’d much rather meet in person. When’s a good time?” DO NOT meet people over the phone unless you live across country. And even then, if there’s ever a way to meet in person, take that option. Even if it means it will be six months out!
So, getting a meeting is that easy. I’ve employed this strategy for every meeting I’ve ever wanted. And I’ve met with hundreds of people (maybe even thousands at this point). Believe me. It works. And it’s a lot more effective and a lot less frustrating than waiting for a response on email that’s never going to show up!