It’s Neville here, and I’m about to let my friend Sam Parr take over for a second to show you how to contact anybody….BUT….the reason Sam is such an interesting example is cause he’s a nobody.
You see, my Jew-friend Noah Kagan is great at cold emailing also, but he’s like a mini-celebrity in the tech community, having been employee #30 at Facebook, worked with Mint, started AppSumo etc..so OF COURSE he’ll get responses right?
Well not Sam.
He’s a total loser.
And if Sam can this, you can do it too!
(just kidding Sam) :-P
Well, here’s Sam! Make sure to bookmark this post or share it with someone it can help, it has some kickass templates you should save for your personal swipe-file:
———-Sam’s turn to talk——— ———-Sam’s turn to talk———
What up friends? This is Sam, the founder of Hustle Con.
Last August, I wrote a post on Nev’s blog explaining how I hosted a conference made me $40,000 in 7 weeks. You people loved it. So, since Hustle Con is happening again this year on April 24th in San Francisco, I thought I’d teach you another cool lesson:
How to get in touch with influencers.
In this post, I’ll explain step-by-step the four ways we convince big time founders to speak at Hustle Con. If you follow these steps you’ll be able to connect with pretty much anyone with an email address.
Oh, and before I do, if you wanna come to Hustle Con, use the discount code “nev” for 20% off your ticket. The founders of the following companies are speaking: Pandora, NerdWallet, Coffee Meets Bagel, Teespring, Imgur, General Assembly, Third Love, Getaround, Tilt, iCracked, 500 Startups, Udemy, Sprig, Mixergy, and BackToTheRoots.
…..and now I’m about to show you exactly how I got all these big-wigs to show up to my conference just with just some cold emails.
Cold email like a boss!
In 15 years our kids will be shocked when we say, “back then you could email anyone on earth…and they’d actually respond!” A lot of people don’t realize this, but getting in touch with someone via cold email is shockingly easy. I’ve had email convos with Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon), the founder of Twitter, even famous actors…all because of cold emails. Here’s how I do it…
I’m using Tim Westergren, the founder of Pandora, for this example. He’s agreed to speak at this year’s Hustle Con after a few cold emails.
—Step 1: Find the person’s email —
Obviously we have to find the person’s email, right? Most email addresses are pretty simple, but there’s one tool that’ll make the guessing game super easy: Thrust.io
Thrust is super simple. Enter in your target’s name, what company they work for and watch the magic happen. Thrust uses wizardry and finds your your target’s email:
I typed in “Tim Westergren, Pandora”
— Step 2: Craft an irresistible email —
This is where the Hustle Con team and I really kick ass. We know how to make participating in our conference a no brainer.
It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, make sure your “ask” clearly shows how it benefits the receiver. If you’ve never studied copywriting before, take Neville’s Kopywriting Kourse. It’s a game changer for cold emails. If you’re too lazy to take it, here’s the summary: no one cares about you…they only care about themselves.
Here’s what I sent Tim along with his response. If you wanna write your own, use the AIDA formula:
Click here to see the actual email
(image opens in new window)
Check out the gif we sent Tim. This is our secret touch. We made one for each speaker. They’re pretty easy to make. We took photos of us spelling out “Hey will you speak at Hustle Con?” Then, when we sent an email, we Photoshopped the person’s name on a blank photo.
— Step 3: Follow up and CLOSE —
Here’s where winners emerge. Big shots get 100’s of emails a day, so they’ll most likely ignore you. Don’t take it personally. You must follow up. When I was a noob, I thought this was nagging. It’s not. Just make sure to add an easy out. Something like “if you’re not interested in this, no sweat…I’m still a fan of your company.”
As long you’re tasteful, you can send 7 to 10 emails every 5 days without being annoying.
Here’s how many emails I sent Tim Westergren:
See, it’s not nagging. Tim responded after three emails!
I can’t emphasize enough how important following up is. I’ve chatted with the founders of GoPro, Thrillist, Gilt, and Twitter all because I’m constantly following up. Sure, they may not always say yes, but they will remember me.
Hell, I’ve followed up so much that the founder of Legal Zoom and Honest Co. (aka Jessica Alba’s cofounder) offered me a job:
And finally, here are three emails that required tons of followup. In fact, I followed up with the founder of Imgur for literally 6 months before he said yes.
Use your current network for a warm intro:
Rick Marini, the founder of Branch Out and Tickle, was one of last year’s most accomplished speakers at Hustle Con. He sold Tickle for $100 million, founded one of the fastest growing social networks in the world, and is an extremely successful angel investor…so he gets literally 100’s of emails a day.
To contact Rick, I used a mutual connection using this 5-step process. Sure, it’s mostly common sense, but you’d be shocked at how many people fail after steps 3, 4, and 5.
Use your current network for a warm intro:
Step 1: Find your target’s Linkedin account
Simple enough, right?
Use your current network for a warm intro:
Step 2: Find mutual connections
Next, I scrolled to the bottom of Rick’s profile and see who we had in common. Sweet! Looks like my buddy Joey is LinkedIn buds with with Rick.
(If you don’t have any mutual friends, use this same tactic but on Facebook or skip to the cold email step below):
— Step 3: Ask for an intro but write the email for your mutual connection —
I asked Joey for the intro, but I made sure to write the majority of the email for him. (Here’s a link to the exact email I wrote for Joey. Feel free to copy)
Remember, he’s doing me the favor. I should make life as EASY as possible for the person doing the intro. That’s why I write the email for them. Otherwise it’ll never happen.
And if your friend decides to write a little message, like Joey did for me, your email with the important details is still at the bottom.
My initial email to Joey. Assume that your target will see this email, so include all the details:
Joey wrote his own message but kept our original email at the bottom.
— Step 4: Create a powerful first impression —
Once you get the opening, respond FAST and hit your mark. I try and respond within 30 minutes, but ideally within 5. Rick is doing me a favor by even talking to me. He’s a successful and busy guy, so he most likely won’t respond first.
Think of networking or sales like hunting. This is your chance to make a fantastic first impression and get the kill. The goal of this hunt isn’t a deer, but a relationship. And you’re not using a bow and arrow, but kindness, sincerity, promptness, and salesmanship. So basically, be Cupid.
This is your opening…make it count!
I wanna point out two crucial parts of my message: specifics and writing style
You’ll notice that I mentioned how I knew Rick worked at Fisher Scientific years ago.
How did I know this?
Because I watched every YouTube video about Rick. I wanted to make sure he’d be a good fit for the event, but also to better understand my “customer.” Before I talk to a potential customer, I read/watch everything about them so I know their wants and personality. If you’re trying to make a sale, make sure to comment about something very specific and meaningful to that person so they know you’re sincere.
The research isn’t hard to do, it just takes time. Google the person you’re contacting and read everything from pages 1 to 5. Yes, some may think it’s strange to tell Rick how much I know about him, but in doing so I prove that I genuinely appreciate him. Basically, I want him to know I’m willing to work hard to get him to come. It’s called the rule of reciprocity.
The second thing to notice is my writing style. Always remember to write like you speak and know your audience. I wouldn’t say the word “badass” if I emailed a Stanford professor. If you wanna learn more about this, take the Kopywriting Kourse (Nev also spoke at Hustle Con).
— Step 5: Close —
The purpose of each step is to move closer and closer to a predetermined goal, which in this case is a phone call.
Never end an email with “so what time works for you?” Be as specific as possible. This is easier for your customer.
I suggest ending your ask email with 3 possible times so the person can simply say yes to one and not have search their calendar for a free space. Or, if you get lucky like I was with Rick, your customer will suggest a time:
Luckily Rick suggested a time.
Our call was fantastic and Rick agreed to participate!
— Step 6: Send thoughtful gifts —
Sending a thoughtful gift to a potential client is a pretty bold move, but it has the potential to work wonders. My most recent gift-giving campaign was to Noah Kagan, Andrew Warner, and Neville. Neville and Andrew both said yes, but Noah couldn’t make it.
Who can I send gifts to?
To send gifts the right way (thoughtfully, tastefully, not at all creepily) , you have to know your audience—even more so than sending cold emails. I suggest only sending gifts to someone you’ve spoken with before or someone who at least knows you exist. This includes:
- Clients in a similar industry as you
- Someone you’ve shared an email exchange with
- Mutual friends
- Someone with a fun personality
- Someone you know has heard of you or your company
If your target fits into one of these categories, here’s how you send a gift.
Gift-Giving Step 1: Find out what they’re into
90% of cold emails, calls, or gifts are completely thoughtless and bland. You’ll really stand out from the crowd if you just take 10 or 20 minutes and stalk your recipient. Find out what they like, want, and how they think. I go about this using a few different methods:
Constantly listening: Because I’m such a fan of gift-giving, I always keep my ears open for a good gift idea. For example, when Neville spoke at Bootstrap Live he told how much he loves Dave Matthews Band, specifically his live shows.
So when I asked Neville to speak, it was obvious what kind of gift I should send: a DMB live DVD:
Small gifts really show that you care.
Use Twitter, Facebook, or their personal blog: What’s amazing about the internet is that wants someone writes something, it’s there forever. This makes stalking crazy easy. I wasn’t personal buds with Noah when I asked him to speak, but I had emailed with him a few times.
Plus, Noah is super active on Twitter and his blog, so researching what gift to send him wasn’t difficult. I found a post where he wrote about eating healthy, which gave me the idea to send a Magic Bullet for smoothies. I then did a little Google-ing and found another post about how much he loves The Magic Bullet.
If you notice, the post is 2 years old, and if you’ve ever owned a Magic Bullet you know they don’t last very long. To me this meant that a Magic Bullet was the PERFECT gift…so it’s what I sent him!
Gift-Giving Step 2: Write a handwritten note
I didn’t realize how powerful handwritten notes were until Andrew Warner of Mixergy sent me a handwritten thank-you card for introducing him to a buddy of mine. It was just a small note, but it made a huge impact on me.
Here’s the exact letter I wrote back to Andrew when I asked him to participate at Bootstrap Live. I’ve had a lot of success with that letter’s format, so feel free to copy it. If you wanna learn more about how I snagged Andrew as a speaker, this post will answer your questions.
Gift-Giving Step 3: Find the address
This step is obvious, but here’s one extra tip: make sure to send your package to the recipient’s office! Imagine yourself in your recipient’s shoes, opening a flattering handwritten letter and gift in front of coworkers. Feels good, doesn’t it?
Gift-Giving Step 4: Make sure it looks amazing
You’ve picked out a gift, wrote an awesome handwritten letter, and know the end address. Now it’s time to ship it off! But before you do, make sure that your gift looks amazing.Preparing and delivering the package for Andrew Warner of Mixergy.
I started to see the importance of packaging after reading Steve Job’s biography. I’m not saying you need to package your gift as meticulously as an iPod, but some nice gift wrap, a perfectly fitted box, and a fancy label will make a huge difference.
Welp, that’s it ladies and gents. That’s how you get in touch with anyone on earth!
If you wanna learn more cool shit like this, make sure to come to HustleCon on April 24th, 2015 in San Francisco. And, since I like you, use the code “nev” for a 20% discount.
P.S. Back to Neville. Comment below with some examples of cold emails, any cold-email success stories, or if you learned anything in this post!