Example of a Magic Mail

October 6, 2011

Last week I mentioned that sending Magic Mails is an excellent way of leading by example to receive referrals.

Some readers asked for an example.

So here is one (from the book “How to REALLY use LinkedIn“)

To: eric.rogers@best-accountant-in-the-world.com
Cc: john.johnson@web-designer-number-one.com
Subject: introduction

Hi Eric,

I want to introduce you to John Johnson (in cc). John is the Managing Director of Web Designer Number One. John may be the guy that can help you out with your new website. They make great websites (on their website http://www.web-designer-number-one.com you find lots of examples and references). I’ve known John for a while and even worked with him at ABC Company. One of the things I will always remember him by, is his ability to offer a solution that satisfies the needs of the customer while staying within the budget. He is really customer focused. I even recall him a few times recommending another solution or even another vendor if he thought it was in the interest of his customer. I definitely recommend him and his team!

John,

Eric Rogers is my accountant and also a personal friend. In fact, he is such a good accountant because he is more focused on people than on numbers! Eric is looking for a new website. And because of our joint experiences and the great job you did for SuperMarket XYZ (I accidentally heard their Marketing Manager bragging about you at the last Chambers of Commerce meeting), I thought you might be the perfect candidate.
I suggest the two of you get together for a talk. Maybe you can do this combined with watching a soccer game? I understood the both of you are fans of Manchester United.

Eric, you can reach John at: (telephone number John)
John, you can reach Eric at: (telephone number Eric)

Good luck!

Jan

 

 

Let’s take a look at the “ingredients” of the Magic Mail:


Header

• To: the person who is the “receiver” of the product, services or help.
• Cc: the person who is the “supplier” of the product, services or help.
• Subject: “introduction”: this makes very clear what this email is about.

You can put more people in the “to” and “cc” field if that’s appropriate. You can also put everybody in the “to” field, but for me this makes it easier to know who I introduced to whom. This is especially useful for your own “follow-up” or “stay in touch” actions.

Body

• First I address the receiver then I address the supplier.
• I always give the reason for connecting the both of them.
• After addressing the receiver I also always address the supplier so he knows something about the receiver and especially about my relationship towards the receiver. This makes it easier for him to find common ground. And to start the relationship on a much higher level than with a “cold call”. In this example I even go a bit further: I go to the “value” level. Both are very customer and people focused. This is a very strong basis to build a relationship on. And especially when a third party with whom they both have a good relationship with points this out (which is me in this case).
• The same applies, of course, for the receiver with regard to the supplier.
• I include what I appreciate about the person, organization, product or service. This way I maintain and strengthen my relationship with every party. Even when there is no future interaction between them, the email was worth the effort as a “relationship building action”.
• I also try to find commonalities on another level than the professional one. In this case they share a passion for soccer and they even support the same team. There is an instant bond. This bond exists most of the time (remember the 6 degrees of proximity), but we don’t always find it in a conversation because we didn’t talk about the areas where we might be related. If you as the connector know about the interests that two people share, tell them. This way you help them to get a flying start.
• Include other references and objective parties if possible. The better the receiver knows them the better the reputation of the supplier. In this example I first referred to the references at the website of Web Designer Number One. Then I gave a second reference: the Marketing Manager of Supermarket XYZ.

Conclusion

• Call to action: I suggest that they contact each other. This means:
– THEY are expected to take ACTION, and there are no barriers to do this, because I (the respected and trusted third party) suggested them to do this.
– I put the telephone number of the “supplier” first, because I want to encourage the “receiver” to make contact. This is more comfortable for the “supplier”. This way I try to decrease the feeling of “selling” something as much as possible. And I open the possibilities of building a relationship and helping each other out.
– They contact EACH OTHER, not me anymore. I step out of the process. I did my part of the job: connecting them. Now it’s up to them. This helps me to spend my time wisely as I’m not the intermediary.
• Telephone contact data: so they can quickly reach each other. If they want to have contact via email, they already have it in the header of the email. I don’t recommend following up on an introduction like this via email. The way is wide open for a personal contact via the telephone.

For some people this example might be perceived as too pushy. Please note that this is an email to two people you already know and have a good relationship with. In this case I am very confident that bringing them together will be beneficial for both of them.

To your success !

Jan

PS: there is a free light version of the “How to REALLY use LinkedIn” available in English or Dutch. Click on the link.

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The Powerful Concept of Contact Spheres and Power Teams

May 19, 2011

Lately we have been doing a few seminars for BNI (Business Network International, the largest referral organisation worldwide) in the Netherlands.

One of the most powerful concepts within BNI are those of Contact Spheres and Power Teams.

These are the definitions:

A Contact Sphere is a group of professionals who complement rather than compete with each other.

A Power Team is a subset of your Contact Sphere that actively works together to pass referrals to each other. An example of a Power Team might be a caterer, a florist, a photographer, and a travel agent, the so-called “Wedding Mafia.”

These are very powerful concepts to stimulate referrals. And the good news is that you even don’t have to be a member of a referral organisation to enjoy the benefits: just set up your own. However, what we have seen in reality is that most people don’t take the initiative to start their own groups, so BNI and other organisations might be a better way to go to make sure it WILL happen.

Listen to the podcast by Ivan Misner, the founder of BNI, in which he talks about these Contact Spheres and Power Teams.

To your success !

Jan


Nielsen Study confirms the Power of Recommendations

May 5, 2011

Last week I wrote about the Forrester Research Study confirming the power of the Magic Mail.

In the same email from Bill Cates there were also some numbers from Nielsen that I would like to share with you.

The Nielsen study measured the level of trust people have in certain “forms of advertising”.

At the bottom? “Text ads on mobile phones” at 24%. “Online banner ads” rated 37%.
“Emails signed up for” rated 54%.
“Consumer opinions posted online” was a strong second at 70%.
At the top? “Recommendations from people known” at 90%. AKA – a referral.

Of course we all know this, but is nice to have some rational study confim it, doesn’t it? 🙂

Now, if we combine the results from both the Forrester Research Study (emails from people you know are the most trustworthy source) and the Nielsen study (recommendations from people known is the best “form of advertising”), then you understand the power of the Magic Mail.

When you use LinkedIn to prepare yourself to find out who can write the Magic Mail for you, then you understand that doing business almost becomes a no-brainer.

To your success !

Jan

PS: get your free light version and free updates (50 pages in the meanwhile!) of the book How to REALLY use LinkedIn (or in Dutch: het boek Hoe LinkedIn nu ECHT gebruiken)


Forrester Research Study confirms the Power of the Magic Mail

April 28, 2011

In our presentations, training courses and in “How to REALLY use LinkedIn” we talk a lot about the power of what we call “The Magic Mail“.

In that email you are introduced by a common contact to the person you want to get in touch with.

We already knew from experience that this approach works like magic (hence the name :-)).

Now I’m glad that a research by Forrester confirms what we have been speaking about the whole time.

This is the conclusion of the study sent to me by Bill Cates, President of Referral Coach International (sign up for his referral tips, they are great!)

The Forrester Research Study measured the level of trust people place in different sources of information.

At the bottom of their trust scale was a “company blog” – receiving a trust rating of 16%.
In the middle were such things as “radio” – at 39% – and “social networking site profiles from people you know” – at 43%.
At the top of the list was “email from people you know” at 70%.

70% is already a great number (especially when compared with the other sources!), but it can be higher if the right words are used. More about that in a future blog post.

To your success !

Jan


How Solo Entrepreneurs Might also Benefit from the LinkedIn Lever when Blogging

April 7, 2011

Last week I shared some insights and numbers to show how a blog might benefit large organizations.

Many readers of this blog are solo entrepreneurs, so they might have felt “left out”.

However it doesn’t have to be the case.

Remember that the power of networking is in the second degree.

How apply this to blogging in a business environment?

These are the steps:

  1. Define your target group.
  2. Think about other suppliers to this target group.
  3. Invite them to start a blog TOGETHER.
  4. Make a list of topics and who’s going to write about which topic.
  5. Make a timeline and make sure the team has a blog post at least every week.

The advantages are:

  • You don’t have to write so much yourself. For example: if there are 5 contributors each if you only has to write 10 blog posts a year!
  • You benefit from each other’s network: their network will read it and you will appear on their radar screen. The same thing happens with your network and your fellow bloggers when you post your tips and insights.
  • You have partially the same advantages as larger companies when using Twitter, LinkedIn Status Updates and posts in LinkedIn Group Discussions.

To your success !

Jan


Why Blogging is so Interesting for Organisations in the LinkedIn Era

March 31, 2011

Two weeks ago I wrote a blog post about the pros and contras of blogging.

Blogging might benefit companies and organizations even more when they empower their employees to use LinkedIn (and other social media).

Like I wrote last week it starts for companies with rethinking the relationships with their employees first.

But let’s assume that there is enough trust, then LinkedIn might be a gigantic lever for a company when they blog.

Let’s look at some numbers:

  1. The larger the organization, the more people can contribute once in a while. If you have only 50 people writing 1 blog post a year, you already have enough content for a whole year.
    1. Remark: in reality you will see that there is a small group of people who are already writing and would love to contribute on a very regular basis. Just ask around who is interested.
  2. When you link your blog to your personal LinkedIn profile and your Company Profile it is automatically updated.
    1. If you are the only person working in your organization, the “leverage factor” is not so big: 1 blog post is shown on 1 LinkedIn Profile and on 1 Company Profile (if you don’t have one read the benefits of setting up a Company Profile). Let’s assume a person has on average 50 connections on LinkedIn and a small business has 30 followers via their Company Profile. Then the potential readership via LinkedIn is 80.
    2. But if you are working for an organization with 1.000 colleagues then the “leverage factor” increases to 52.000.
      1. 1.000 colleagues times 50 connections = 50.000
      2. 2.000 people following the Company Profile = 2.000

Of course, this is just the potential. Not everybody reads the blog posts on their connections’ profiles.

But you can increase the chances:

  • Ask everybody to mention the blog post in a Status Update.
  • Ask people who have a Twitter account to mention it there as well.
  • Ask (a select group of) people to post it as a Discussion in the Groups.

Big remark: people will only take these proactive steps if the blog posts are interesting and helping other people. So they need to contain free tips and they can’t be sales pitches.

In this way the potential readership can be increased even more.

Let’s assume that:

  1. 200 people share it via a LinkedIn Status Update times 50 connections: 10.000 extra potential views.
  2. 100 people share it via their Twitter account times 50 followers: 5.000 extra potential views.
  3. 50 people share it via a post in a LinkedIn Discussion with a membership of 1.000 people per Group: 50.000 extra potential views.

Result: in total we have 112.000 potential views.

Even if only 1% of the potential readers actually reads it, then your blog post still has 1.120 readers.

An extra benefit is that this blog post will end up higher in Google. Why? Google takes traffic to a webpage into account. As a result many more people will discover this blog post when searching for information on the web.

Not bad for 30 minutes work per year (assuming that you have a pool of contributors who write one blog post per year).

To your success !

Jan


LinkedIn and other Social Media invite Organizations to Think about Human Relationships

March 23, 2011

Many companies are realizing: LinkedIn and other social media are here to stay, but how can they benefit us as an organization (versus as individuals)?

The answer is: by tapping into the power of the second degree!

In this case the first degree is the management team of an organization (or other central departments like marketing or recruiting).

The second degree: all the employees of the organization.

The task at hand for the “central” unit is to help the rest of the organization by OFFERING them good content for their individual LinkedIn Profiles. When all employees put this content on their Profile their network (and people who visit their Profile) will see this. Do you see the exponential power?

If you want to be successful with this, it’s important to remember that it’s about OFFERING them content, not FORCING it upon them. The latter will create more resistance than gratitude for help.

This is how LinkedIn for example can be beneficial, but this is only the end of a process, not the beginning. And that’s where many organizations drop the ball.

Being successful with social media starts with creating a great working environment in which people are empowered and trusted. Only then organizations will really benefit from the tremendous power of LinkedIn and other social media.

Employees have always been the ambassadors of an organization.
In the past it was at parties with friends, in the gym and in the pub. Now it is also on the Internet, which makes it more visible. The latter makes organizations that are more hierarchical or “dictatorial” nervous. They are loosing control over their “slaves”.

LinkedIn and other social media invite organizations to look inside again and work on human relationships first. They invite organizations to rethink why these people are working together and how the talents of each individual can be recognized and allowed to show and grow for the greater good of the organization.

In other words the “new” media invite us to connect with each other again as the wonderful, talented and inspired human beings we are and to invite each other to live up to our potential.

And isn’t that what it has always been and always will be about?

To your success !

Jan


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