The Anatomy of a Networking Email

Something happened to me a few months ago that was entirely unexpected. A happy accident. And a PERFECT illustration of so many of the ways of talking to people that I’m trying to teach you.

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Why I’m telling you

The MAIN point I’m trying to get across when I talk about networking, is that it’s NOT about schmoozing: it’s about having lovely conversations with people you like. Basically, it’s doing what you already do with your friends – just with some other people.

It’s why I want to reframe networking, by calling it MIFing, or Making Interesting Friends (sometimes I even amend this to Making Industry Friends).

It’s why I love to surprise (and delight!) my clients when I tell them that they’re already good at networking – they just need to realise that and use it to their advantage.

It’s why my tagline is “Networking that’s actually FUN“. Because, believe it or not, networking can actually be FUN. Fun for YOU. For real.

The story I want to tell you illustrates all of this – and I’ve put in links to other blogs that expand on each tip I mention:

A little context

Kendrick Shope is a business coach, who makes awesome weekly videos with advice about how to do sales in an ick-free way. Long before I ever had any services to sell, I watched her youtube blogs religiously. Why? Because she’s charming, engaging, and has excellent, spot-on advice in an area I’d been struggling with: Authentic Selling. i.e. not being all car salesman, PLEASE BUY MY STUFF-desperate – but, instead, finding the people you KNOW you can help, and allowing them to discover what you can offer them.

There was a point, during August last year, when on Kendrick’s emails, the link to her blog hadn’t come through for a few weeks in a row. As I’m the kind of zealously helpful, feedback-loving, advice-giving person who takes the time to email hippy teabag companies about whether their packaging relates to their environmental message (twice)(I’m not kidding, two different companies)*, I thought I’d let her know.

What I wrote, and why it got amazing results

I sent Kendrick an email where I did a few different things, which I’ll break down. I want to show you it, because every single bit was written from a 100% genuine place (rather than a schmoozy one). It just so happens, that all of them are also great networking tricks. (You can see the actual email below).

1. I began with a (genuine and specific) compliment and some social credibility:

I told her that, after working with business coach Jenny Shih (a friend of hers), I had just begun to write my first ever sales copy, and had found Kendrick’s latest video blog a great help in this process. 

3. Then I added more value by pointing out the email error that had been happening, in a clear and constructive way, making a suggestion for how else she could link to the blog.

4. I ended on a positive note by thanking her again, before signing off.

If you want to read the email, click on the pic of it, here 

In all honesty, I thought at best, I’d get a thank you email. Instead, she sent me a lovely, deeply grateful email, that ended with this:

As a thank you for taking the time to reach out, I’m happy to read through your copy once you have it written and offer sales language suggestions, if you like (no pressure and no charge). Simply to say thanks.

Whilst I was enormously grateful, my expectations were, again, low: she’s a busy, popular lady with a lot of high-end clients. I assumed it meant that I’d get an email with a couple of sentences of written feedback.

The huge surprise

What in fact happened knocked me for six: she spent an entire hour on the phone with me, going through every single line of my copy. This is the sort of thing her clients pay her vast sums of money for. But I was getting it for free.

Also, it was AMAZING. Kendrick truly has a gift. It felt like she climbed inside my brain and unlocked all these doors I hadn’t been able to get through. It completely shifted my mindset around writing sales copy (something that had previously felt for me like the worst type of school-era physics coursework).

It doesn’t quite end there

To say thank you, I sent her a nice card and, because she sings a line at the beginning of each KTV episode – and we’d discussed her singing in the call – a prop sparkly microphone. Again, I did this not because I thought it would be an excellent networking move, but just because I was SO grateful, I wanted to make her happy by sending her actual post (as well as the thank you email I sent), and who doesn’t love getting a little package? (even one that only cost $4.25 to buy, wrap and send?).

For postal-related reasons too boring to go into, she didn’t get the package until last month. Guess what turned up on KTV a week later, along with a name check for old Yes Yes (Yes) Marsha?

Given that I’ve watched this show every single week without fail for almost a year, this was a VERY exciting moment.

And what I love most is that everything I did was done because I felt moved to and it felt good to.

Two lessons from this 

1. If you add value to someone – without expectation of reward – there’s a very good chance it’ll come back to you. Sometimes in a much more substantial way than you gave.

2. Once you start applying the methods I suggest for networking – mostly things that you are already doing with people you know – then they will become second-nature. And you’ll start getting free stuff all the time, even when you’re least expecting it.

A note for you if you HATE writing Sales copy – or feel as stumped as I did pre-Kendrick:

Kendrick has just put some FREE Sales training up online. If you want a little of the magic I got to experience, check it out HERE: yym.ca/salessch

Your Turn

Have you ever done someone a favour without thinking – only to get something in repayment that was well beyond your expectations? Or have you ever felt moved to give above and beyond in gratitude to someone?

Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks,
You rule,
xx (Yes Yes) Marsha

 

PS want to know my best-ever client secret – and get even more advice, tips, plus stories that I won’t put on the internet? Come and join the Yes Yes Family – it’s free! Just pop your details in below:


PPS Want to grab that FREE Sales training from Kendrick Shope? GO HERE.

Footnote:
Full disclosure: at the end of last year (after I sent the mic and card off, but before she got it), Kendrick got in touch saying she’d love me to apply to be one of only 10 women she coached in 2014. And I was both so impressed by what she’d done for me already (for FREE!), and so convinced that we had all the right chemistry, that I made the big decision to go for it. Two months in and I’m SO glad I did. As I said, she has a gift. Any big things that happen here at Yes Yes Marsha Towers over the next few months you can credit to her coaching.

*For interested fans of either tea brands or the planet, it was Stash and Yogi Tea. Each gave me a brush-off response. And no coupons.

10 Comments

  • Kourtney Thomas

    Reply Reply March 6, 2014

    Agh, love! You know, I am always struck by the impulse to write or respond to various people or brands, even with just small thoughts or compliments. I sometimes go ahead and reach out, but many times I don’t because I think to myself, “meh, that would be a waste of time, I’d be bothering them, and I’d never hear anything anyway.” But thanks to you, I am realizing that this is a phenomenal way to just make connections, and your tips on how to do this well are so helpful! Maybe one day something awesome will come out of just being a nice person, haha! You rock, Marsha 🙂

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply March 8, 2014

      Kourtney, this makes me SO HAPPY.
      In our culture, I feel like we’re brought up to think that compliment is embarrassment, and it’s SUCH nonsense. Because it leaves all these people not knowing the impact they’ve had. And, when you DO tell someone, as you say, wonderful things can happen!

      So next time you get the impulse – go for it! Here’s to being a nice person!

  • Adam Piscitelli

    Reply Reply March 7, 2014

    You’re so right. I did a small favor and got a huge reward. A few years ago the secretary for the athletic director at a local high school asked me to send her a photo of the baseball team since they made the playoffs and she was going to do a press release. I shot their pictures earlier in the month so I had a recent one and sent it along. No charge. She passed it along to a friend of hers who is also the editor of a local magazine. She liked my work, asked me if I’d like to do an assignment or two for the magazine. Why not? So, I’ve been working steadily with them as a stringer for the past two years. Added bonus: every time I go on an assignment I meet new contacts and widen my circle and get more jobs!
    What you say in your blog works. Be nice, do favors and don’t always expect an immediate payoff. The payoff will come; just be patient.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply March 8, 2014

      Adam – YES! i LOVE this story!!

      And, “What you say in your blog works. Be nice, do favors and don’t always expect an immediate payoff. The payoff will come; just be patient.” – I need to put that on a billboard or something.

      Thank you!

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Reply Reply March 8, 2014

    Ahhh that was YOU who sent the mic! Freaking fantastic! As a big fan of Kendrick’s, and knowing how amazingly helpful she is (sales school is fabulous), this story has a big impact on me. Also? You’re the best! Your uncanny ability to add value is a big lesson to anyone out there wondering how to authentically connect with other people.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply March 12, 2014

      Jen! You say such lovely things!
      And Kendrick – she’s the bloody best, isn’t she? I can’t BELIEVE how much value she delivers in Sales School. I mean, my expectations were already high, and she’s surpassed even them!

  • I used this *exact* email template to one of my biz heroes (she had a glitch on her website, too!) and got a response with 4 hours. 4 HOURS! I know this woman is incredibly busy and important so that is pretty freaking amazing. Also, now she sorta knows my name. At least she knows that someone enjoys and reads her website with eyes like a fine toothed comb. So that’s a warm fuzzy thought!

    Thanks Marsha! Ever since I’ve started reading your blog and implementing your tips, people have begun to compliment me with “but Aaaaannn you’re always so confident! It’s easy for YOU” and I think, “Noooooooooo it’s not easy for me! But -oh wait- yes it is! Because Marsha.”

    Because Marsha ::mic drop::

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply March 12, 2014

      ANN!!!!

      THIS MAKES ME SO HAPPY!!!!!

      Sorry for shouting – but I’m SO HAPPY you could use this as a template and that you got a response so early on! And YES, she not only knows your name, she also associates you with good things – “Ann from Southern Social – oh yes, that helpful friendly one!”. GREAT WORK!!

      Also, HOORAY that you’re learning to create your own confidence! Remember, it’s about faking it, not until you make it, but until you BECOME it, just like me and Amy Cuddy.

      Also also, can we make “Because Marsha ::mic drop::” a Thing please? Thanks.

  • Kendrick Shope

    Reply Reply March 10, 2014

    Marsha you continue to be truly delightful! I remember this well and was so thankful that you took the time to let me know the link was broken. Most people just ignore when there is an error like that. I always try to provide a huge thank you when people are a thoughtful as you were. This is a BRILLIANT way to grab the attention of someone, even someone that seem unreachable. Do something nice for them out of the goodness of your heart and you will be remembered. Case and point I will NEVER forget you for your kindness.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply March 12, 2014

      Kendrick! You’re my total hero! Thanks again for that amazingness, I was actually SO excited after we spoke that I wrote a page of journal entry to capture the feeling!

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