How to best contact me (& sell to me) and other people in the modern age.

I hope this doesn’t ALL read as being obnoxious. It’s not my intention.

But because I do quite a lot of writing, because I have over 200,000 followers on LinkedIn & because I work for a company that invests $36bn a year on our clients’ behalf…..I get a lot of inbound.

I thought it could be both interesting and helpful to explain how things are from my side.

For context……On Linkedin alone per day:

  • I get 50+ inmails.
  • I receive about 1000 Notifications, often people making smart helpful comments .
  • I get 50+ invitations to connect.

In addition: I get about 100 pitches of varied nature to my personal email, a lot of inbound on Twitter, I even get the occasional thing on Instagram and of course texts.

Of course, I have my normal “day” job, where, like everyone these days I get 200–400 emails a day. That has to be my priority.

I’m not boasting, this is nothing to be proud about. And I am certainly not complaining. It’s a privilege to be in a situation where people deem you interesting, nice, valuable, useful enough to get in contact. I will never complain.

It’s also absolutely my job to deal with this. This contact isn’t spam. It’s stuff that helps me do my job. I need ALL of this to thrive.

So the following is merely information and a personal, honest, unfiltered guide from me about how best to get in contact. And as cheesy as it sounds……to help me, help you.

I may not be right to think this way, I’m not proud to think this way, but I currently do.

1) Brevity

Your note needs to make the point as quickly as possible.

In 2017, being terse isn’t impolite, it’s considerate.

It’s unlikely I will read past the first 30 words unless you’ve hooked me.

I’m not proud of this. I feel bad. It’s just the only way I can cope.

2) Email.

My Linkedin mail box is awful. I just can’t deal with it. I won’t explain why, but please don’t write to me there.

Same with Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, etc.

Email is better in every way.

Use that please. ALWAYS.

tomfgoodwin at gmail dot com

3) Clarity

Our world is full of buzzwords and trendy expressions.

Screw “working to maximize synergies to create real time data driven insights”

95% of the pitches I get are designed to obfuscate me into thinking you are smart. It makes me think you’ve not thought about it from my side. It makes me annoyed.

Tell me simple things, very quickly. That’s all.

I’d love a pitch “ We think mobile ads are terrible, so we got 5 great people together and made ads that are beautiful, load fast and we’d like to tell you about them”

P.s Having something you can send me is good. Either a 1 min video or a one page pdf. I’ve no idea why, but I personally find this way easier.

4) Honesty.

Please be clear with what your intentions are.

Being clear is really helpful for both of us. I admire honesty in every way.

Don’t feel vulnerable.

5) Empathetic

Selling is 99% listening.

I’m very very easy to pitch to because my innermost thoughts and beliefs are on the internet a lot.

Your pitch needs to be either.

  1. I think you have this problem, this is how I/my product can best solve it. or
  2. I think your clients or you would love to do this amazing thing that’s not been possible before, here is what we can now do.

I don’t care about anything else. I don’t care where you went to school, that you left Google to set this up, that you have $100m in funding. I don’t care about anythinginitially other than what precisely and quickly your company can do that’s useful

P.s I’m amazed how many people these days don’t use LinkedIn to research someone before they meet them. That’s just silly. Don’t ask questions that show you haven’t spent time researching first.

6) A non reply isn’t what you think it is.

If you genuinely think you’ve got something of value, email me again, maybe up to 4 times, briefly.

A non reply could easily mean I took a week off, tried to ignore my phone, and came back to 1,200 emails and I can’t process that.

7) Take no’s

If I reply, very quickly, to say, “ Sorry, this isn’t interesting to me” or “ Not for me, try X”

Please try not to ask me more questions. I’ll then not reply and feel rude*. I don’t have time to tell you their role, their phone number.

* I feel quite guilty in life about all the people I don’t reply to in life and how brief I am. But it’s the only way I can operate.

8) Meals/ Coffee / Pick your brains.

Please be careful with how you express your requests.

I don’t want to “have my brains picked”.

A free meal isn’t that exciting to me. The time I spend on a free meal is far more valuable than the food.

What is important is.

  • Meeting people who are interesting and I can learn from
  • Meeting people who are doing amazing things and have great companies.
  • Meeting people who are nice, who are funny, who have interesting challenges.

Use this to best pitch me.

This sounds really dickish, but try to think about what’s in it for me. I know this is annoying. But there are not many people that want to give away their ideas for free, or do a customer satisfaction survey, or take part in a focus group. If you are asking a favor, make sure your note acknowledges that.

9) Careers

I’m really lucky to know a lot of people offering good jobs and many bloody amazing people who are open to moving. As a result I’m increasingly connecting people ( and it goes without saying, I do this for free) but only for the best people and jobs. I may have to stop it, as it’s taking up a lot of time.

What amazes me is how many people who’ve not thought about what they want to do. I get two types of inbound in particular that I’d like to help guide.

A) I’m awesome, I’d like a job with in Media / in your team / in Advertising / In the USA.

I see this more. I think it’s a product of people growing up today. Not complaining, just saying.

People who may or may not be brilliant, somehow thinking that the job search revolves around them.

Nepotism excepted, there are probably fewer than 0.000000001% of jobs awarded this way. It’s a very unusual company that just wants amazing people and will fit around them. Recruitment doesn’t work like this. There is no open rec for “wonderful people, we will figure out what to do later” . Despite companies websites who claim to “always be interested in the best people”, this doesn’t happen. They find great people and then stick them in the box they need someone in.

If you are someone tempted to write this, please meet half way.

There are many companies who often work with exceptional candidates to mold the job and person in one. I’ve recruited people this way.

But the process can’t start with “I’m amazing, get me a job’

It has to start with “ I’m amazing, I’ve done this and this, I’ve been thinking about your likely needs and I think I could do things a bit like this and this for you. I think I’d be really good at them because X and Y. I know you don’t have a job like that now, but if you think that I can be helpful, let’s chat”

B) I see this role you have and maybe I can just about do it

This is the opposite approach

It’s people really keen to get “a” job.

Getting “a” job should never be the goal. Getting the right job should be. It’s like dating.

Assuming you are a professional candidate, with say 5+ years experience (and not facing some horrible personal circumstance that is understandably causing you to get desperate)

If you are really keen to get many different jobs, it means you’ve not thought enough about what job you should get and trying new jobs by getting them isn’t that good for either side. Thinking is free. It’s possible anyway. As is reading.

I always think a job hunt should be 60% thinking about what you want, being really introspective, talking to people, listening to people, reading about the subject, following people on Twitter, you get the idea.

38% of the time researching companies and roles in that specific area. Know what place would really be best. Think about you and these companies. Ask around. Prod people. Hang out in the bars near their offices and overhear stuff.

Just 2% working surgically and precisely on the very specific companies and roles in the entire world that are best suited to you. If you’ve done the above, you will convert 50% of slightly open goals.

I don’t need to see people who’ve spent their whole lives tidily in one area. Heck, my career has been a total mess. It looks quite tidy and smart in retrospect, but it’s been a bloody disaster when played forwards and in real time.

But I do need to see people who’ve

  • Clearly thought a lot about what job they want to do next.
  • Clearly have met a lot of people about that move, have spent time considering what they have that is going to be uniquely useful to that employer.
  • Got clued up about that business. The competitors, culture, environment, challenges etc.

10) Fun

I don’t know. The world seems like a total mess right now. It’s crazy.

Sad things are all around us.

Maybe I should be horribly saddened and serious all the time, maybe this is trite, but my general reaction is ( while not remaining ignorant to all the insanity of it all) to try and least have some fun.

Maybe help me. Smile a bit, write silly things, get my attention by not assuming everything we do matters so much. Be nice. Be considerate.

I hope this note is taken the right way. I’d love to see your comments and will work hard to read them.