On a regular basis, I receive emails from people I don’t know (yet) who reach out to set up a meeting or a call. In the email, the sender states no specific reason for me to meet with them other than to “connect,” “compare notes,” or “get your advice.”

There is nothing wrong with reaching out. Quite the contrary: It’s awesome to receive inquiries.

I can guarantee that your cold call response rates will shoot up once you do these three simple things. Tweet This Quote

But asking someone you don’t know to take time out of her day to meet for no other reason than a vague “connect/get some advice” is simply not helpful (especially not when you can safely assume that the recipient of your outreach is a busy person).

What’s more vexing is that often, when I take the meeting or call, the person who asked for the meeting truly had no other agenda than to make benign small talk. So, my advice for those who wish to connect from cold calls or emails is this:

  1. Figure out what you want from someone before reaching out (and be specific!).
  2. State your points clearly in your email.
  3. Be sure to answer the equally important question: What’s in it for the recipient of your message?

I can guarantee you that your response rates will shoot up once you do these three simple things.

Happy connecting!


This post originally appeared on Medium.

About the author

Pascal Finette

Pascal Finette

Pascal is the Managing Director of Singularity University's Startup Lab. He is also an entrepreneur, coach, and speaker who has worked in Internet powerhouses, such as eBay, Mozilla, and Google, and Venture Capital—starting both a VC firm and accelerator program.