Is Email Dead? Why Phone Calls and Networking Work
As an entrepreneur I faced many challenges when growing my network of contacts. After years of building an impressive list of managers, agents, and record label contacts as a TV producer, I came to realize that as an business owner, I was going to need to widen my network to meet the right clients for Wise Owl. I also had quit my corporate job, so I couldn't rely on that to get me through the door anymore either. So, I had to ask myself, what kinds of clients am I looking for?
Once I had a better idea about who I wanted to reach I began to notice that contacting potential new clients on email was only getting me a 25% response rate, if that, I actually think I'm being nice with that figure...and worse part I wasn't the only one. Whether it was PR, Management, Booking Agents, etc...no one had time to connect anymore.
I wanted to allocate my time while retaining and expanding my network, so I decided to scrap the long pitch emails and instead, go for the old fashion phone calls and meetings. Being born in the 80's I remember the days when you were pretty much forced to connect given the lack of cell phones and slow ass dial up internet, so it wasn't intimidated by the idea of calling people. What I didn't realize is that people use social media and email so much now, that they were a bit caught off guard when I would call. For me, that was a good thing because I was going directly to the source and avoiding the back and forth. Granted, not every phone call I make is a knock out of the park, but I was getting responses, and that was better than the email waiting game.
Meet-ups were also very valuable because you were able to grasp a lot about the client when interacting in person, and get to know the individual. BUT this can get costly, and with LA being such a large city, sometimes finding a place to meet can be difficult. But there are was to get around that and now, years into my business, I'm finding even more creative ways of connecting with others, expanding my contacts, without always spending.
With phone calls and networking garnering better results, I thought to myself, is email dead?
Not at all, email is still a great way to follow up on meetings and events where we meet people, to recap important conference calls, and send details and content to others. Not to mention email lists that help bring huge revenue to websites.
BUT if you want to start meeting the right contacts, and start creating stronger connections, we still need to get out there with our voices and presence. If you're not sure where to start, here are 5 tips to help you.
PREPARE FOR THE CALL
Before you start dialing, make sure to prepare for your call. Research the company or individual you're contacting to make sure your pitch fits with their brand, its important to find commonalities.
By practicing what you're going to say you'll be able to stay focused on the key points that will make the person on the other line, more assured about working with you. Make sure you know why you want to approach this contact and what you want out of it.
There are many ways to connect on social media, but a free tool people don't use enough is LinkedIn. With a professional resume, access to businesses, and individuals of every career background, there are many ways to grow your connections by using this platform. Simply use the search tool to find and filter the contacts you're looking for. Don't be afraid to send a note to connect because people are there specifically to link up with other professionals, not just post their latest selfie with a #. Because not everyone checks their LinkedIn, once you do connect, make sure to ask for their email.
I do recommend looking into investing in the monthly premium deal when you're ready. With it you can tap into special features like InMail and LinkedIn Learning, both great resources for businesses and entrepreneurs. I've noticed even stronger connections building because you are able to access even more exclusive contacts.
DON'T WAIT TOO LONG
We are all very busy, and constantly on the move. When you spend a night networking you might find yourself with a pocket full of business cards and not sure what to do. Do not wait to long to circle back with the people you want to build a business relationship...Do a quick follow up email or call within 48 hours. Why? well because in a few days, we will all be at another event, meeting another group of people, and if we haven't made the initiative to keep the conversation going, it will fizzle quickly.
FIND MEET UPS
Networking can be very easy in a city like LA. Using platforms like Eventbrite, and Meet Up, you will be able to filter the types of events you're looking for, a lot of which come at no cost. People want to meet up and connect with like minded entrepreneurs and career folk so, know that you're not alone, and thats a good place to start if you're a bit uncomfortable with approaching people in person. TimeOut & local websites, are also another way of finding some great events and meetings in your city.
MEET ONLINE - Face to Face
If you want to avoid the driving, parking, and the money that comes with daily meetings, just use one of the many online conference services to have face to face features, and keep track of the conversation. Zoom, Free Conference Call, Skype, FaceTime, and Uber Conference are just some of the many resources out there for use to connect with people all over the globe. These calls can be very effective and help you put a name to the face you're speaking to.
It is very useful to use your voice and personality to build a great list of contacts. I hope these tips help you make better connections and use email more effectively.