Since venturing full-time in the entrepreneurship world, networking has become a big part of my life. Through networking I've met a ton of great people, many of whom have become not only business colleagues but also very good friends.
But as with anything, along with the good comes the bad. And I've seen my share of bad: business cards shoved in my face, hit-and-run handshakes, missed appointments.
Much of the bad comes in the forms of emails.
Version 1: Awful
Here is an email I recently received through LinkedIn. It's wrong in so many ways: It shows writer has no idea or interest in me or my business; it is presumptuous (how can they be "sure" I know anything, when they don't even know me; how do they know if I'm, indeed, fortunate?); it's in-your-face (I never asked what he/she does!) This email goes straight in the trash and the LinkedIn connection is zapped.
This may not be for you but I’m sure you know someone
who could use some residual income in their life (A Plan B)…
Here's what I do (link to their website was here) please pass along
to someone less fortunate than yourself... Thanks!!
Version 2: Tolerable
Here, the letter-writer at least personalized the e-mail by using my name. He/she established initial contact without being pushy or salesy. The website is included as part of the signature line, so I can check it out if I want to.
This email would likely get a quick courtesy reply. There isn't enough there to make me want to learn more, though.
Thanks for accepting my invite to connect on LinkedIn. I look forward to learning more about your business.
Title and business name
Version 3: Much better!
Notice this version not only includes my name, but also my company name. It also shows that the letter-writer checked out my website and is at least mildly interested in what I'm doing and what services I offer. Letter-writer makes it clear he/she wrote to me, specifically, and that this is not just a generic email sent out to all contacts.
This e-mail would prompt me to check out their website and respond.
Thanks for connecting with me here on LinkedIn. I came across you and LocalShops1 through mutual acquaintances here. I see on your website that you have a networking lunch coming up, and I'm going to try to make it. I recently started a direct-sales business and I'm looking for sales reps.
title and business name
How would you respond to such emails? What do you do when networking goes bad? Do you have any networking horror stories of your own? I'd love to hear them!
Are you starting over after a layoff? We
want to hear your story! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and
include your story and contact info. We will try to include as many
stories as possible in future blogs.Ester
Venouziou, founder of LocalShops1, is available for freelance projects:
writing, editing, design or social media. She can be reached at
email@example.com or 727.637.5586