Ever struggled to find an email address for a prospect?
You check the website for the business or magazine you want to pitch. You do an exhaustive online search. You even use software apps to try and find an email address for the right person. But all you get is frustration.
Do you settle for the black-hole of email addresses and send your pitch to info@ or editor@ and hope for the best? Don’t do that, OK. There’s a better way.
It’s time to put on your big-girl pants and be a little more clever and gutsy. If you have to work to find an email address, you might as well make it fun.
Using my brilliant tactic, I have never been denied the email address I want. Never!
You’ll need to pick up the phone and leverage the art of creative rhetoric to make it happen (some writer’s might need a personal pep-talk to get started).
But it’s worth it to find an email address for a prospect you can turn into a client. Here’s how I do it:
Failure to find an email addresss?
After I exhausted online options to find an email address, I began making phone calls to law offices (my niche). I thought that if I knew the name of my prospect and asked for their email address, it would be easy to get.
But almost every time I used this approach, a receptionist usually said:
- Who is this?
- What is this about?
- We don’t give out email addresses.
- You can can send your email to info@…
Ever had a phone call with the gatekeeper for a prospect like that? I was rarely able to find an email address this way. Sometimes I’d wait at least 24 hours and call back to try again. But that usually didn’t work either.
Sound familiar? I was tired of wasting my time. I needed a better way to find an email address when I wanted to send a letter of introduction to a prospect.
The play-it-cool phone call
Then one day, I decided to take a different approach to making a phone call to find an email address. I acted like I already HAD the email address and knew the name of the person I needed to reach.
Once the receptionist answered the phone, I spoke as if I were a tad confused but still self-assured. The conversation goes like this:
You: Hello. This is (your name) (like, of course, the company already knows who you are). Paul asked me to send him a confidential email, but I must have his address wrong.
You: Here’s what I have. (Then, you guess a probable email address like FirstName@, FirstNameLastName@ or FirstNameInitialLastName@
You: Do I have that wrong, because my email keeps coming back to me as undeliverable?
The result: Every single time, without fail, I’ve been able to find an email address this way. Most receptionists want to be helpful and friendly. When you ask for an email address this way, you’ll usually get what you want.
They’ll even spell it out for you if it seems unclear. P as in Paul. S as in Sam, etc. In some cases, the receptionist asks for my email address so they can send my prospect’s email address to me, so I don’t have a problem again.
If you don’t know your prospect’s name…
What if you don’t know your prospect’s name? All you know is the job title of the person you want to send your LOI to?
You might think that’s a good enough reason to give up on that company as a potential prospect. But it’s not. It’s just as easy.
Here’s how to make that phone call to find an email address when you don’t even know who the right person to pitch is:
You: Hello. My name is (your name). I was at a conference a few months ago (or something else that sounds plausible) and met your content manager (or whatever the title is you’re looking for) and got their card. But I lost it. Can you help me out?
You: They wanted me to send them some confidential information. Geez, my memory is terrible. Could you please remind me the [title’s] name?
Tip: Believe it or not, you can just use “they” instead of “his” or “her.” When I’ve used this approach, I always get the name and email address.
Find the right contacts to pitch for freelance success
I’ve used the play-it-cool phone call strategy more than 200 times to find an email address for a prospect. It’s a little clever, a little gutsy. But it’s worked for me 100 percent of the time.
Looking for the right person to pitch, along with their email address? Pick up the phone, and you’ll be one step closer to freelance success.
Debra Holz is a seasoned copywriter and content marketing pro who writes for law firms.