Who you know often matters as much, if not more than, what you know. To that end, Harvard Business Blog offers some tips on how to secure a professional contact from someone not familiar with your stellar professional skills.
Photo by kat m research.
Harvard Business Blog's David Silverman cited a letter he received asking for some professional contacts. According to David, the letter failed to follow some important protocols. Included among them is the need to give the person you're addressing something to copy, paste and forward on to the contact in question. This requires writing something more substantive than, say, "I appreciate any help or introduction you can make." The post suggests the following fleshed out template (which should be filled with information relevant your work) before incorporating the above line:
If it helps open a dialogue, my company offers specialised licensing programs for global consumer goods companies. We've developed techniques for growing brand awareness and sales, and do it in a very cost-effective way. For example, a program we did for Starfish Foods grew their sales by 18%.
Making contacts and inroads with new colleagues can be difficult terrain to navigate, but a well written, well worded letter or email can make all the difference. (Ed. note: Don't make the person you're contacting feel like they have to work to understand what you do and why you're contacting them, and really personalise your message (beyond mail merge) if you really want anyone to pay attention. Browse the full post for other ways on how to curry favour from a professional contact you barely know, and feel free to offer your own methods in the comments.
How to Ask a (Near) Stranger for a Favor [Harvard Business Blog]