How to get a meeting with any Silicon Valley exec

Silicon Valley Meeting

How do you get the attention of a top executive, let alone schedule a meeting with one?

Not only can their contact information seem difficult to come by, but with their full schedules and army of assistants, you need to have a pretty appealing offer to earn an appointment.

The average corporate employee sends and receives over 120 emails every day. For most executives, this number is even higher. How do you stand out in a sea of words? How do you make an offer that they can’t refuse?

Hint: It all comes down to making the right contact with the right person.

Although the best way to connect is through your network or in-person, sometimes this isn’t possible. When that’s the case, the next best strategy is through email.

Here’s how to find executive email addresses, and connect in a meaningful way.

Start by finding the right decision maker’s contact information

When reaching out to a company, it’s worthwhile to discover who the actual decision maker is in your situation. Using the spray and pray method rarely works, and often leaves you and your brand with a bad reputation.

Instead, seek out specific contacts within each organization that are capable of making the decision. Is it the CEO, CFO, CMO? Don’t waste the time of other executives – go straight to the decision maker that matters to you.

If you don’t know who this person is yet, that’s alright. The following four steps can help you find the right prospect, and appropriate contact information, for your campaign:

1. Find possible connections on LinkedIn

If you’re lucky, your search could end before it even begins. Check LinkedIn to see if you or any of your associates already have connections within the targeted company or, better yet, with the executive directly. If they do, then ask for an introduction! You’ve just avoided the outbound process altogether.

Of course, most connections aren’t going to be that easy. If you don’t have any common connections, move to Step 2.

Related: SaneBox Releases SaneConnect to Help Employees Find Warm Introductions With a Simple Search »

2. Map the organization

If you can gain a solid understanding of your targeted company’s org chart, you’ll be able to gain a decent understanding of who the appropriate decision maker is. To map a public company, take a look at their 10-k filing. For private companies, it can take a little more work, but using an advanced search tool like Sales Navigator when visiting profiles should help you make an educated guess.

If it’s a particularly large company and you have a dozen or more potential decision makers but can’t decide who to pursue, proceed to Step 3.

3. Visit profiles to narrow down the list

With your narrowed list of leads, it’s time to start looking at each individual profile – keeping your eyes out for two main things:

Length of service: Look at how long target prospects have been in their current positions. For example, if a VP has only been at that company for two months but a Director has been there for three years, chances are the Director has more influence and buying power.

Skills and endorsements: Looking at this can give you a sense of who is qualified to make this type of decision. For example, you can look at tools they use, management skills they possess (like coaching), or the tactical skills someone must have to really understand your product.

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4. Find the executive’s email address

Once you know who you want to contact, it’s time to hunt down their email address. Although this was an arduous process in the past, it’s become relatively easy thanks to the use of tools like Clearbit and LeadGenius.

These companies have developed long lists of leads – and may already have the contact information for the executive you wish to reach out to. And if not, their software will help you find the appropriate email address in no time at all. Simply include the prospect’s name and company website – and let the tool do the rest!

Making contact with the executive through an irresistible email

Finding the email address is just the beginning. It’s now time to make contact. Reach out the right way and you’ll make connections and close deals. Poorly execute this campaign and you’ll never hear back.

Fortunately, there is a degree of science behind sending high-converting cold emails. By using the following steps when contacting an executive through email, your odds of receiving a response are substantially higher.

1. Find a reason to connect

Give your prospects a reason they should want to connect with you. This requires research. I always like to start with LinkedIn, as it’s the most up-to-date source for relevant business information on any prospect, then move to other tools across my sales stack. Cover all your bases, and check their Twitter, skim their blog, visit their AngelList page, etc.

Find a common group or interest, accomplishment worth congratulating them for, or industry issue that you would appreciate their insights on. This is your “excuse” for reaching out in the first place.

Keep this section at 1-2 sentences max.

2. Share why it matters to them

What can you offer the executive? Why should they speak with you at all?  Don’t waste your time or theirs. Clearly and concisely explain your value proposition. It’s going to be tough and will take tweaking, testing and wordsmithing different value propositions to get it right, but is tremendously powerful when you nail it.

But remember, what works for one executive may not work for another – make sure that you keep this relevant for each person you make contact with.

Try to accomplish this in 1 sentence.

3. Bridge the gap between the reason to connect and your value proposition

Next, it’s time to connect the reason you’re reaching out with telling them about your product or service. You’re going to insert this between the two sections above to connect them. Since the two previous sections are distinctly different ideas, without a transition, there will be too large of a gap in ideas for the prospect – and the disconnect will turn them off.

This could be as short as a few words, but no longer than one sentence.

At this point, you should have a three things in your email: a reason to connect, a transition word or statement, and a sentence about you or your product/service.

4. Give a clear call-to-action (CTA)

The goal of your email is not for a casual hello – but to lead to a specific action. So make that clear in your email. What’s the next step? In this case, it’s getting a meeting in-person or over the phone.

How do you do this? Simply ask! Follow up the previous sections with a brief statement like: “Do you have 10-15 minutes on Monday or Tuesday morning to chat about how {{your company or service}} can help you?”

Keep your CTA reasonable. Asking for 10 minutes of an executive’s time is much more reasonable than asking for 45 minutes. Make the hurdle as low as you can– and only have one CTA for each email. You want to make it easy for them to say yes.

As with the following sections, your CTA should be one sentence.

5. Write the subject line last

Why should you write the subject line last? It’s a reflection of the email’s content. Therefore, it should be written last. If you write the subject line first, you’re biasing the rest of the email and may conform it to that subject line. You risk overlooking more important and relevant information.

Since the goal of the subject line is to get the recipient to open the email and read the first sentence, I like my subject lines to reflect step 1 — the reason I’m reaching out to connect. For example, if I’ve found a great blog post my recipient wrote and open the email with a reference and nod to that post, I might thank them in the subject line: “Thank you, {first name]!”

A few great words to use in your subject lines that are proven to help boost your open rates include:

  • Tomorrow
  • Free
  • Alert
  • Daily
  • Update
  • Follow-up
  • Intro/Introduction

Meanwhile, avoid the words:

  • Final
  • Reminder
  • Sale
  • Meeting
  • Tempting
  • Specials
  • Complimentary
  • Help
  • Exciting
  • Unique
  • Discount
  • Solution
  • Partner
  • State of the art
  • {{any other buzzword}}

Finally, keep your subject line to seven words or fewer.

Related: [Urgent] The Most Important Thing You’ll Learn About Email Subject Lines Today

6. Edit and send

At this point, I like to step away from my email for a little bit and come back later with a fresh set of eyes.

Once you return to the email make sure that it’s clear and concise, easy to read, uses the “you” more than “I”, truly feels personal, and is something that you would be willing to respond to if received from a stranger.  

The following template has been proven to be the most effective for any outbound campaign – and will certainly assist when reaching out to top Silicon Valley executives. Simply mix-and-match the pieces above to develop a high converting email campaign.

If you want to see more examples on how to develop high converting outreach emails, check out the free PersistIQ Cold Email Generator tool where you can find 40+ proven templates ready to go. You can even send yourself the plain text, then cut and paste into your favorite outbound sales platform, like PersistIQ.

Conclusion: Start lining up those executive meetings

Once you have the correct contact information, and a high-converting email campaign in place, it’s time to start sending out emails!

Although it’s still not easy, using the right process can provide a substantial boost to the number of executive meetings you line up. In fact, it’s not unheard of to receive a 70%+ response rate when following the strategy outlined above!

For the comments: If you’ve tried the strategy mentioned above, or an entirely different technique, share your experience below! We’d love to learn from your successes and challenges.

About the Author

Brandon Redlinger runs Growth at PersistIQ. He has been in sales and marketing his entire career, leading teams across the country from NYC to Denver to the San Francisco Bay Area. In his spare time, you will find him buried in a book, hitting the gym or on an adventure exploring the world. You can follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Lee_09

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