Global Biz Dev and Networking Expert Lirone Glikman on How to Use the 3 Main Types of Outreach to Maximum Effect

Cold outreach often feels like a numbers game—you’re sending email after email, or LinkedIn message after LinkedIn message, just hoping some of the endless people you’re reaching out to will respond. But there are better, more effective methods to follow. Labs mentor Lirone Glikman, a global business development consultant and a business relationship strategist, held a Labs session about cold outreach strategies that actually work. Here are three main ones to try.

The biggest challenge with cold outreach today

“We all want opportunities to reach more clients, and we need to contact them in some way,” Glikman says. “There are different ways to do this, and connecting online is often presented as the most accessible way, but it’s a lie. We live in a world where we have great access to all kinds of people and we think it makes the chances of them answering us better, but they actually decrease because there’s so much overload and spam. It doesn’t matter if your product or solution is the best in the world if people aren’t reading your message because they have so much incoming.”

“A website called Spamlaws.com reported that in 2018, over 14 billion spam messages were sent each day,” Glikman says. “That’s 45 percent of all emails sent in a day. So you need to make sure that you’re in the 55 percent that isn’t spam and that you’re breaking through that noise. That’s the challenge.”

Networking strategy 1: Connection through a mutual friend

“Mutual friends are the best and strongest people to connect through,” Glikman says. “It’s about the trust you both have in this person, and that makes things easier. It doesn’t always mean the person you’re trying to connect with will want to connect with you, but it makes it more likely.”

The key here is that your mutual friend needs to sell you to the person you want to connect with. “And you need to give them the right information so they can sell you correctly,” Glikman says, whether that’s information on your product, your goals for connecting with the third party, or reasons why you’re worth their time.

Networking strategy 2: Meet face to face

“Connecting face to face, meaning at a convention or other social environment, starting a conversation and continuing it from there, is another way to meet people,” Glikman says. If you’re trying this strategy, “it can be really beneficial to send messages to the people you want to connect with a few days in advance of the event where you could meet. Send them a message explaining who you are, that you’re going to be at the same event, and say why you want to meet them. Explain the value you can bring to them.”

Wondering how to figure out who else will be at events you’re attending? “There are a few different ways,” Glikman says, “but start by checking out the event pages. You’ll see the sponsors, the speakers, etc. A sponsor will probably have a booth at the event, and it doesn’t mean the highest managers will be there, but it’s a reason to reach out and ask if they’ll be at the event. You can reach out to the speakers too, if they’re of interest to you. And if you’re trying to see who’ll be in attendance, if the event has a hashtag, see who’s using it on social media.”

“When you send a cold message before an event, always try to create some trust by finding common ground,” Glikman says. “It could be people you both know, a program or university you both attended, cities you’ve both lived in, etc.”

Networking strategy 3: Cold email, with a twist

Cold emails without the benefit of a mutual connection or upcoming event can still work, but you need to get creative with them. Glikman shares an example of a time she did this very successfully. “I was working for a sports innovation company and we were hosting an event at the University of California, Los Angeles,” she says. “The event was happening on the same weekend as the NBA All Star weekend and most of the media reporters would be at the All Star events. So I had to figure out how I was going to get their attention and get them to come to my event instead.”

“I approached about 30 reporters and in my email to them, I started with passion and chutzpah. I introduced myself and said ‘I see that we share a passion for sports, but do you also share my passion for innovation?’ Then I included information about the event, how I wanted to help them with introductions to people who’d be good interviews for articles, and asked them to connect on a call. Seven reporters got back to me and two ended up coming to the event, including one from USA Today. The tactic was to connect to their passion, offer them value, then have a conversation.”

Strategy 3a: Use a content opportunity as a way in

Another way to get noticed via cold email is to give the person you want to connect with an opportunity to be featured in your content. “I recommend that companies and startups have blogs or podcasts if they really want to get out there,” Glikman says. “Even if you don’t have a regular blog, ask someone who you want to connect with if you can interview them for your platform. People usually say yes because they want to share their thoughts and opinions. They want the exposure. You can even send them the questions over email and have them write their answers in return. And after you publish the piece, you can share it with them and build a relationship from there. It’s easier to ask for advice or whatever else you’re looking for if the person already knows you.”

Strategy 3b: Make them aware of a problem they didn’t know they had

Glikman says that this method isn’t as common as other outreach strategies, but it can work when it’s done well. “If you go on the personal or company website of someone you want to connect with and you see something that doesn’t work, be the person to tell them, in a nice way,” Glikman says. “There’s a very famous social and digital marketer here in Israel that I wanted to connect with, and I noticed that her main contact page was down on her site. So I let her know. These things may seem small but they’re important to people, so they pay attention to the message. And then you can continue the conversation.”

Strategy 3c: Offer something you know they won’t pass up

Let’s say you want to connect with a person you know loves a certain sport or is very involved in philanthropy in their city. “If you could get tickets to a match or a gala event, go to this person and tell them you’d love to invite them to the event,” Glikman says. “You need to be smart about it, but this is another way to give people value, start to build the relationship, then take it from there.”

Learn more about networking.

This post is based on content from a WeWork Labs programming session.

Interested in connecting directly with this mentor? Ask your Labs Manager for help.

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