This post was originally published on Jan 13, 2013, and updated on April 4, 2023.
A while back I got the following email:
This is Chris Carmichael, partner @ GoldMail in N. California. I’m planning a trip to Birmingham this week and ended up on your LinkedIn profile. With everything that you do and have done I thought it would be good to connect on our simple app. You’ve undoubtedly seen similar applications in the e-learning space. We’ve found an inexpensive, easy to use and scalable way to voice over content (ppt, pdf, images, anything…). When you have 90 seconds just click on your image to view the personal message for you in our product. Your speakers must be on.
Embedded in the email was the image you see above. It went to a video (that no longer works) that the guy had done that followed his script. The interesting thing about the video was that it started out with me.
(Just to be complete – the email was from a service his company was offering. Guess they have either gone under or sold to a new platform name. The original link was http://play.goldmail.com/i56wtkm3xe8e)
Now if you got this email – with your photo and directed to you – would you open it?
I did. I had to see what the video said. It was 90 seconds and in the first few seconds it said something like:
Just wanted to connect (showing the image above). I see where you work for the UAB School of Engineering (while showing an image of my UAB page) and have a company (showing my company page) and are a leader in technology (showing the professional association in tech on which I was on the board)
The rest of the message was about his trip and how he was hoping to connect.
Again all in 90 seconds.
Since several of the slides were related to me and the things I am involved in – I immediately recognized them. He had researched ME.
Would you agree to meet this guy?
I did. What I learned about his product (Goldmail) was nice, but the staggering thing was Chris’s story.
First – He had no business connections in the area. He had never been to Birmingham. He was coming to a wedding.
Second – He used LinkedIn to find people he felt were well-connected in the area. Using videos like the one above, he contacted each person. I forget how many total – but less than 10 as I remember.
Third – He got meetings. I asked him who else he had met with, and was stunned to find out he had connected with some of the heavy hitters in the local network. He had, in one day, met with some of the key players that local people are always trying to meet. In fact, Chris is now better connected in Birmingham than most people who have lived here all their lives.
Stunning! A few weeks ago he was blind to this city – now he was connected.
Two key actions yielded his success.
1 – He was willing to do the work on the tools that make it available. (In this case Google search, LinkedIn, and Goldmail) The work was not huge – but still – he did it.
2 – He connected to the person. By putting the personal touch, he got meetings.
Sounds simple. And, really it was.
So … why don’t you use LinkedIn to work a town you are planning to visit? They could be in your own city or across the country. Still easy to find and connect.