Lean in a little closer… I have a secret to tell you.
The biggest mistake you can make when going to ask for a meeting is to make it about you.The biggest mistake you can make when going to ask for a meeting is to make it about you. Click To Tweet
Most amateur networkers ask for a meeting like this, “Hey ____, my name is ___. I just started ____ and I’d really like to network with you to see how we can be mutually beneficial.”
There are a few issues with that…
Firstly, you have no credibility… so what you want is irrelevant (sorry).
Secondly, if you’re brand new, the exchange of value isn’t going to be equal… So what you’re really asking for is their time to get something out of them but probably won’t be able to contribute anything.
Thirdly, you haven’t given any context to HOW you can help each other.
Instead, I want you to focus on connecting, relating, offering value and going for an assumptive close.
Asking for a meeting after someone introduced you
Here’s an example of the introduction email that I got from someone…
Alexa, meet Maria. Maria, meet Alexa.
Alexa is easily the most entrepreneurial and enterprising leader of her generation. In addition to her work as a realtor with Keller Williams she has founded Millennium Empire Builders, a leadership cultivation organization dedicated to helping Millenials achieve their full potential in their private and work lives. She’s done amazing work in the Broward area and is now moving into Miami-Dade with her work.
Maria is a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley. I met her through the New Leaders Task Force for the Beacon Council and can attest to her energy and drive. She’s already made some inroads in our firm and has impressed a number of our associates with her skills and presentations.
Maria lives in Miami-Dade but she works in North Dade/South Broward so it occurred to me that there would be significant synergies between the work you are both doing. That and suspect you will simply enjoying developing a relationship with each other. You’re both conquering the world in your own spheres.
Go forth and be successful.
[In this scenario, someone has made the introduction for you and probably already given you some context about each other. In this case, lean on the credibility of the person making the introduction and being that you don’t have a whole lot of context yet, you don’t need to try to sell the person since the introducer has already recommended that you guys meet and has given you a framework to build off of]
Here was my response:
Thank you so much for the intro and the kind words! Always love meeting other Empire builders 🙂
Sounds like we have some chatting to do 🙂 I’d love to grab lunch or coffee to learn more about what you do and how I can be of service. Afternoons and evenings are usually best for me so shoot me over a few dates that work for you and we’ll coordinate from there!
To which Maria responded…
Good evening Jaret,
Thank you for that wonderful introduction. I really appreciate it!
Alexa, I would love to hear more about your accomplishments and get to know more of what you do. It all sounds very interesting! I’m free to do either lunch or drinks/coffee later in the afternoon on March 13th or March 15th. If those don’t work, I’m also available for dinner on March 21st or lunch April 4th. Let me know where your office is located. I work right on Las Olas but I’m flexible and we could pick a spot that is in between us. Look forward to hearing back from you and setting a meeting to meet in person.
It’s that simple… Don’t overcomplicate it.Don't overcomplicate it. Click To Tweet
There are a couple of reasons why this was so easy…
- The person who introduced us is well respected by both of us. If he makes a quality intro, I’m definitely reaching out ASAP.
- He gave us context and a reason to connect.
- I responded right away to acknowledge the connection and to go for an assumptive close (I mentioned that I’d like to have lunch and then assumed it was mutual, so I asked for specific dates and times)
- She responded back with specific dates and times
- Boom, done.
… but what if you want to meet with someone that you just met, but haven’t been introduced to?
Drum roll pleaseeeeee….
Asking for a meeting after you’ve made a new connection (that wasn’t an introduction)
In this scenario, you have a little less credibility because you haven’t had someone else vouch for you.
Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world…
You just have to be a little more strategic with how you ask for a meeting.
We’re going to assume that you’re asking for a meeting with someone that you’ve recently connected with.
Now let’s get down to business.
The biggest key here is to follow-up with them while they’re still hot.
… and when I say “while they’re still hot”, I mean ASAP, like within 12 hours.
If you meet them at an evening event, follow-up that night or the morning after.
If you meet them in the morning, reach out by the end of the day.
I hate to break it to you but you’re not as memorable as you think… So if you don’t follow-up right away, their interest in reconnecting with you starts to wane.You're not as memorable as you think... So if you don't follow-up right away, their interest in reconnecting with you starts to wane. Click To Tweet
The faster you follow-up, the more likely you are to get the response you’re looking for.The faster you follow-up, the more likely you are to get the response you're looking for. Click To Tweet
Oh, and I know I mention this in like every post, but you have to earn the right to ask…
That means if you just tossed your card at them and collected theirs but didn’t have any meaningful conversation when you met them, you haven’t earned the right to reconnect with them yet.
By the time you took their information, you should’ve had a meaningful conversation where you know at least 3 things about them.
In fact, I wrote a wholeeee post about how to exchange business cards to make following-up wayyyy easier.
So, now that you’re ready to go for the ask, how do you actually do it?
Just kidding… Sort of.
Your follow-up should include a few elements…
- Thank them for their time.
- Give them context about why you should follow-up the conversation
- What you’d like to come out of the meeting
- A general timeframe
Here’s a few different examples of me asking for a meeting…
(ps. Don’t stress over the subject line of the email… “Following up” is literally one of the most opened email subjects in the history of ever)'Following up' is literally one of the most opened email subjects in the history of ever Click To Tweet
Example 1. Asking A Potential Mentor and Sponsor For A Meeting
Luis came to speak at one of our workshops before and now that we just launched our Miami chapter, I wanted to reconnect with him but since I don’t have a whole bunch to offer him, I offered to make an introduction before I asked for the meeting. Here’s the email chain for you (prepare for a bunch of “he said” and then “I said” lol):
Hope all is well 🙂
Not sure if you remember me but you came to speak for my young professionals last year about how local politics works.
I met a gentleman who’s heavily involved in the Government Contractor’s Association recently and instantly thought of you!… His organization teaches small businesses how to secure government contracts and being that you work in the lobbying field, I figured you might be interested in speaking for them and could possibly get a few clients out of it since that’s right up your alley.
Let me know if you’d like me to make the connection 🙂
I never want to come across as a taker, so I always like to open a cold follow-up with some sort of value first… and 9 times out of 10, that’s an introduction (more on that in another post). Literally five minutes later, I got this response…
So good to hear from you.
Thank you for thinking of me. Please make the connection.
Which lead to…
Awesome… Will do right now!
Also, would love to grab a quick lunch or coffee with you… We also just started our Miami chapter and would love to pick your brain about connecting with the Miami community since it’s a wholeeee different beast than Broward!
I’m sure you have a TON going on so just let me know what your schedule is like for the next week or so and I’d be happy to accommodate… If Wednesday works, I’ll already be in the area. Otherwise, I’ll work around your schedule 🙂
Hello back! I’m unavailable next Wednesday.
How about Monday or Tuesday next week? I’m available from 1:30-2:30pm on both days.
Easy as that.
A few key takeaways here…
- If it’s a cold person, offer value first. That value can come in the form of an introduction, book recommendation, article, check-in, whatever. I don’t usually just go for the cold close because even if they agree, they’ll question your motives.
- Once you’ve offered value, don’t be afraid to go for the ask. In Luis’ case, I know that he knows his shit and he likes to do workshops. He’s a lobbyist so I knew that the connection would be valuable for both Tony (the guy from GCA) and Luis. I also know that he likes to mentor, so “picking his brain” is a hugeee compliment to him.
- Give them an option to say no while still going for an assumptive close. Yup, that sounds counter productive but I promise it works. By acknowledging that he’s super busy and that I would work around him, I’m showing how much I respect his time and that I’m not going to waste it. At the same time, I’m already assuming he’ll say yes so I gave him a few options.
Example 2. Following Up With A Potential MEB Member
Oscar came to one of our social events…
Just wanted to reach out and thank you for coming to our mixer at the Wilder! It was so much fun meeting you and I’m curious to hear more about what your working on and how I might be able to help so I’d love to grab lunch or coffee sometime next week!
Afternoons and evenings generally work best for me, so let me know what works for you!
In talking to tonssss of young professionals, I know that they are alwayssss open to a great, intellectually stimulating conversation. Seriously, ask a group of young professionals if they’d like to hang around more “like-minded” people and almost every one of them will raise their hands. With that in mind, I always focus on THEIR goals and how I can help THEM. I don’t even mention MEB or trying to get them to join.
Thank you for following up.
I can do lunch on Tuesday if you are available. I will be in the Cooper City area in the morning and can possible meet you Broward Mall area after.
Let me know!
There you go.
Asking for a meeting isn’t difficult… Focus on how you can help and get out of the mindset that you’re “bothering” them.Focus on how you can help and get out of the mindset that you're 'bothering' them. Click To Tweet
If you REALLY are coming from a place of helping and contributing value, your request to meet will be totally welcome.If you REALLY are coming from a place of helping and contributing value, your request to meet will be totally welcome. Click To Tweet
After you meet with them, your work isn’t done… You’ve got to stay in touch.