The Ultimate Relationship-Building Email Template [96% Success Rate]

The Ultimate Relationship-Building Email Template [96% Success Rate]

Business professionals are busy people, and the last thing they want is an email from someone who needs a favor. Messages like these can be a distraction and burdenThat’s why when I network and send outreach emails, I am careful to always ask for advice and not a favor or hand out.

In fact, as I wrote my new book, Wait, How Do I Write This Email?, a collection of 100+ templates for networking, job search, and LinkedIn, I used this tactic multiple times. Out of 24 outreach emails to people that I wanted to help guide me through the book creation process, 23 of those people responded and offered their help.

That’s a 96% success rate. 

Bottom line: Business professionals enjoy sharing knowledge, particularly when someone is willing to be a sponge and soak it all up.

That’s why a networking email like the one below, which asks for a favor right away, is the wrong approach.

The email is polite, sure. But it has flaws.

PROBLEM #1: Jane assumes John and Jim are friendly.

What if John and Jim don’t know each other very well? And now Jane has asked for a favor that’s either awkward for John to complete or not possible.

PROBLEM #2: Jane gives John a homework assignment.

John’s first encounter with Jane is an unpleasant one — he now has to find time to help a stranger and expend his own relationship capital in the process. What a hassle.

So what’s the solution to Jane’s misguided email approach?

“Important” people like John and other business execs will often stop in their tracks and respond to an email if the subject line contains a powerful three-word phrase:

“need your advice”

The “ask for advice” strategy is non-threatening and a breath of fresh air. You don’t want people to do work on your behalf; you prefer to absorb their wisdom. We spend our lives amassing knowledge but rarely have an open invitation to share it with someone else. What a luxury to be asked!

When you sit quietly, listen to the person’s advice, and come back with smart follow-up questions, you also build a relationship. Each new conversation strengthens your network, which in turn helps your business.

Here’s the outline of the email Jane should have written to John:

Here’s what the email template looks like in practice:

Note how Jane asks for advice to build trust with John and, over time, make him part of her network. As she grows her pet food business, she will need mentors and allies.

And it’s possible that, after the coffee chat, John will agree to connect her to Jim White — the owner of Acme Pet SuperStore that she so wants to meet. But that’s because she’s created a level of trust and built a relationship the right way.

Here are more subject lines for this type of email that you can use or adapt for your unique situation:

General networking:

Friend of [mutual acquaintance] who needs your advice

Fellow [your industry] professional who needs your advice

To college alumni:

Fellow [your college] grad who needs your advice

Someone notable you admire:

Big fan of your work who needs your advice


New employee who needs your advice

Good luck with your next outreach email and remember: the best way to build a relationship is to listen, learn, and ask questions.

Go to our website:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s