Top Secrets of Emails That Open Networking Doors

November 6th, 2010 No Comments


What’s up with this? Emails that actually get a response from strangers? Most people think it’s hard to send an email and get a response from a contact person they haven’t met, especially if they have no introduction or referral. But really it’s possible to connect with leaders in the field or a center of influence via email, even if you haven’t met them and have no introduction or referral. If you just know what to do and how to do it, then you’ll be amazed at the doors that open that you never thought possible before.

Once you get a contact person’s name and email for networking, most people think… “Isn’t it simple? Just ask for what you want and state your business? After all, isn’t it the trend in business to be direct and succinct these days?” Yes, it might be the thing to do when you jot out a quick email to a colleague or friend you already know. But to adopt this style, when writing to someone you don’t know, is courting disaster.

The first secret to creating emails that open networking doors is to raise “curiosity” in the subject line so they will open your email, then write so you create a “visceral experience” of connection so they are drawn to getting to know you better.

If you follow the steps below, then you’ll dramatically increase the probability of getting a response and opening the door to further contact, whether by email, phone or in person. You’ll find the door opening to you from people you’ve been dying to meet for personal interests or for business! They might be leaders in their field, hiring managers, account managers, event coordinators, or other people that you’d like to meet to further develop your relationship for mutual benefit, professionally or personally. Your objective may be a personal alliance, an informational interview, a speaking engagement, a job interview, sale possibilities, or a business opportunity.


Even before you begin writing, there are four secret prerequisites that are important to attaining successful results from your email. They are (1) the state of mind you are writing from, (2) your tone of voice in approaching your contact, (3) your openness in including a splash of your personality in your email, and (4) your willingness to “go the extra mile” to research and get to know your contact person before you connect with them via email. These are described in more detail below.

1. The Connecting State of Mind–Be Sincerely Passionate.

When you are sincerely passionate about something, your enthusiasm naturally overflows into your communications, even in writing. When you meet someone who loves what they’re doing and it’s also what you love doing—whether it’s a project, a career, a hobby–there is a natural connection and excitement. Common interests that you and your contact are passionate about are what you want to aim for in your networking whether in person or in emails. So how do you establish connection, especially with someone whom you’ve never met?

2. The Right Tone of Voice–Approach a Human Being, Not a Commodity.  
A human being has needs and desires and is looking to satisfy them, just as you are. No one likes to be used as a commodity to meet someone else’s needs only to be thrown aside when he/she is no longer needed. Therefore, your tone of voice should be one of congeniality, respect, admiration, and gratitude. It’s important that, as soon as possible, you also look for ways that you can give back to your contact, whether it’s information, contacts, or opportunities they are interested in. This is the emotional, mental, and spiritual position from which connection is created and maintained.

3. Bring Your Email to Life–Add a Splash of Your Personality. 
If you write formally, drained of all emotion and color, as we are all trained to do, your email will be lifeless like a “flatliner”, a body that appears to be alive but is essentially dead. Without being totally inappropriate, venture out from the confines of formality, and add a touch of feeling, humor, mischievousness, and color to make your email stand out and show signs of life. Most people don’t relate well to a cold corpse. It’s the same for a cold email. Bring it to life with a splash of your personality.

4. Go the Extra Mile–Research and Learn about Your Contact for Common Interests
Research your contact’s professional experience, passions, interests, hobbies and background. Identify any common areas of interest, which can then be included as topics of conversation in your email to establish the connection you seek.

What are sources of information available to research your contact’s background? Social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are natural resources to turn to. Look for a repeating pattern of employment or interests as well as any mention of hobbies or extracurricular activities. Look for achievements or awards that are exciting to you as well as to them. If the contact is linked to you, within the first 3 levels of connection, find a mutual connection to introduce you or at least tell you more about your contact’s background. It’s very helpful to be able to say your mutual colleague or friend referred you. Look for groups your contact has joined on social media and see if they strike your interest as well.

Google their name to see what comes up. Other resources? You may be able to think of several yourself. Be sure to include them in your research.

Now, you know what you two have in common. Whenever mutual areas of interest occur, it is important to mention them appropriately in your email to show the connections you do have in common. Build on them appropriately. Common areas of interest create the feeling that this person is a lot like me, creating good feelings and a sense of trust. When this happens, your new contact person will be drawn to you and will want to connect further. This is when your contact person willing opens to door to communicating by email, phone, or in person.


Once you’ve met the prerequisites stated above, be sure to implement the five secret techniques to writing a door-opening email.  Here they are!

1. Get Them to Open Your Email–First Impressions Count!  

The first impression about your email is created by the subject line, the first thing your contact person reads. It must arouse interest or curiosity so he/she will want to at least open your email and see what it’s about—rather than delete it as junk mail.

If you have a strong introduction or a referral to your contact person, you can include that person’s name in the subject field. A strong relationship between the referrer and the person you’re trying to contact will create a sense of social obligation on the contact’s part, so he/she will be more likely to open the email.

           Subject Line: Nancy Wells suggested I contact you.

If you don’t have a referrer’s name, include the contact’s name in the subject field along with a curiosity raising phrase or sentence. Then be sure to follow up that phrase in the body of the email with something positive and affirming about the individual.

          Subject Line: Bill, I heard that…

          Dear Bill,

          I heard that you have an outstanding reputation for….

Or if you like, simply use a statement that will be affirming of the individual. If they are known for a major achievement or are passionate about a particular interest, hobby or sport, use the jargon of that activity or achievement in a relevant way in the subject line of your email. The phrase should be a sign of what you’ll talk about in the body of the email.

          Subject: I loved your book! It meant so much to me.

          Subject: I loved the way you scored on that project!

Now, that you’ve gotten some examples, I’m sure you can think of curiosity-raising subject lines on your own, tailored to your contact’s interests, so they will be thinking… “Who is this person who sees the world the way I see it? Let me open this email and find out!”

2. Get Them to Smile and Be Happy!–First Paragraph.  
Get them to smile and be happy that you wrote to them. Begin by saying why you are sincerely excited about what the contact person has done or achieved that is related to the subject matter of your email and your request. Be sure to include a splash of your personality and your related interests. This step is essential in engaging your contact so he/she wants to read further. You may add your request either in the first or last paragraph. Your request will be to ask for time to meet with your contact in person or by phone. See “Fourth Paragraph” below for details.

3. Give the Handshake of Credibility–Second Paragraph.  G
State your credentials—experience and background—or common areas of interest that are impressive from the contact’s perspective, so he/she is excited about getting to know you. Here you might include your elevator speech, otherwise known as your “Unique Selling Proposition” that mentions your strengths and expertise as well as what makes you unique in relation to the areas that you and your contact are excited about. Just as people use the strength of a handshake to assess a person on their first meeting, the information about your experience and background will be assessed in the same way. Be sure to provide just the right amount of information that is keenly relevant to the subject matter and objective at hand.

4. Attract the Embrace of Opportunity–Third Paragraph.  
After the handshake, comes the embrace. In this paragraph, you want to paint a picture that helps the reader envision the benefits of a future meeting with you. The picture should be inviting so that he/she wants to embrace this as an enjoyable and beneficial opportunity for him/her. I call this the EMBRACE. To accomplish this, think WIIFM—what’s in it for me, from the contact’s perspective. What resources, talents, and experience can you offer that would make the contact’s life easier, more productive, or more interesting? All of these should be selected and included because they directly or indirectly benefit or impress the contact person.

5.  Trigger the Response, “Let’s Talk!”–Fourth Paragraph.  
By the time the contact person gets to the fourth and last paragraph of your email, he/she should already be impressed and curious about you. S/he should be thinking… “Let’s talk!” You have already laid the ground work in the preceding paragraphs. The response is a natural outcome of your good work so far. While keeping the same tone of admiration, respect, and gratitude, request a time to meet in person or talk by phone. Indicate you would like to discuss a specific subject for a specific amount of time, such as “web analytics” for 30 minutes. . If you have a phone number, state that you’ll be calling to see if you two can agree on a mutually agreeable time to do this. If you have no phone number and can only wait for a response, indicate, in your own words, that you will be waiting for a response with excitement and anticipation, not just simply waiting for a response.


What follows is an email written by a former coaching client of mine.  Let’s call him John.  His name and contact information are fictitious to preserve confidentiality.  He was in career transition and exploring a field that was somewhat new to him, “web analytics”. He’s writing to a leader and authority in the field, who is also the author of a well known book on the subject. John emailed him without any introduction or referral, so this is a cold email. Even so, he created an experience of connection, and the outcome was that the author, while traveling, emailed the newcomer saying, “I will be back in town in a few weeks. Let’s talk then.”  The author’s name is not changed since the title of the book gives it away. My client felt a sense of urgency in sending out this email so I was not able to give it a final review before it went out. You will find the email has incorporated many of the points mentioned above and produced the desired outcome—a warm response with an invitation to talk further.

Hi Avinash, 

Your book Web Analytics: An Hour a Day has rekindled my passion for web   analytics and I am avidly reading it. Your book makes it very easy for me to benchmark my     web analytics project experience at Cadence Design Systems in 2004 against current best practices and caveats. Working as the web analyst for the Cadence Customer       Support portal opened a whole new world for me. 

Web analytics connects all the things I’ve done before or have been interested in–the customer perspective, usability studies, informational architecture, experimental   validation, web programming, and data mining. Unfortunately, an organizational restructuring eliminated my position. After that, I became involved as an instructional design and curriculum program manager in an internal training group at Cisco Systems. 

My dream job would be making significant contributions on a world class web analytics team gauging and shaping the business impact of web sites. 

I deeply respect the depth and insightfulness of your work, and would greatly appreciate a 30 minute meeting with you for advice and guidance on how I might best reenter the web analytics field. I would appreciate an in-person meeting, if possible, in Silicon Valley. If not, a phone conversation would also be helpful. 

Sincerely yours, 

John Winston 

Cell: (408)960-1111



So here’s what you’ve learned about writing a door-opening introductory email.

Apply the 4 Secret Prerequisites Even Before Starting to Write Your Door-Opening Emails 

  1. Get into the right mindset for creating connection–be passionate and sincere.
  2. Speak in the right tone of voice–approach your contact person as a human being, not as a commodity who exists solely to meet your needs.
  3. Bring your email to life–add a splash of your personality in your email.
  4. Go the extra mile–research and learn about your contact to find your common interests.

Apply the 5 Hot Techniques That Will Open Those Doors! 

  1. Get them to open your email–the secret is to arouse in the subject line.
  2. Get them to smile and be happy–the secret of admiration and excitement, 1st paragraph.
  3. Give the handshake of credibility–the secret of delivering your credentials from the reader’s perspective, 2nd paragraph.
  4. Attract the embrace of opportunity–the secret of continuing to show the benefits you are bringing to the reader, 3rd paragraph.
  5. Trigger the response, “Let’s talk!” — the secret of maintaining the tone of respect and admiration in your request and all the way through to the final sentence–4th paragraph.


There isn’t a minute to lose when you are armed with these top secrets that will open those important networking doors! I invite you to try these powerful secrets and see what happens!   Your friends and colleagues will be amazed!  And you will be too!

About Roseto Sprouts and Roseto Group:

Roseto Sprouts is a blog of Roseto Group.  Roseto Group is a business and technology consulting firm in the San Francisco Bay Area. We are a coalition of experts in diverse fields offering customized solutions for our clients’ career and business needs. Our services include: Career and Leadership Coaching; Talent Development and Training; Logo, Web design and Social media; Software Engineering Quality and Process; Product Management; Branding and Marketing.

Joyce Kawasaki, J. D. is a consultant, facilitator and speaker, specializing in career transitions, career passions, and employee engagement. She has personally been through 7 successful career transitions and speaks from the voice of experience.  She helps you get past your inner roadblocks to get on track to uncover your career passion!

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