I recently told a new LinkedIn connection that NO ONE I know who’s successful in the Salesforce Ohana attained their success WITHOUT connecting with a stranger. The amazing thing is that everyone is so gracious, that it’s a lot easier to get advice, help and insights from said strangers, simply because of the culture of generosity and giving that the Salesforce community embodies.

 

As someone who continues to reach out to virtual strangers (I was holding my breath that David Liu would do the call with me!) as well as someone who receives a number of emails each week (I try to respond to all), I want to share some tips so you can enlist this stealth source of aid to reach your goals even faster, while respecting the busy person on the other end of the ‘Send’ button!

Cox Media Group's Tonia Collins (l), Deloitte Technical Architect Charly Prinsloo(m) and yours truly at the Women Code Salesforce event in Atlanta Tuesday

*It goes without mentioning, but observe common etiquette such as spelling the person’s name correctly, and thanking them for their time. Sometimes this may require you to brush up on the cultural nuances of professional communication for the country where the person you’re contacting resides.*

Focus Your Outreach

With all of the successful Salesforce professionals in the ecosystem, you’ve got a target-rich environment of potential supporters and mentors. But I recommend being more strategic in who you approach. Look for people who have overcome a similar challenge you’re struggling with, who may share a similar background or who does EXACTLY what you’d love to do. Of course, don’t limit your outreach to people just like you, but when you have a pressing question or want guidance, you’ll do better connecting with someone who has expertise in that area as opposed to reaching out to any and everyone with a Salesforce cert.

Do Your Research

If they have a blog, many of your questions are already answered there or on their About Me page. So skip the basic “how did you get started” or “how do I get started” questions, and take the time to truly research what’s out there. If they’ve spoken at Dreamforce or a regional event that was recorded, watch the videos. Check out their guest posts on other blogs, or if they’ve been interviewed for the Salesforce Adminspodcast. Peruse their Twitter feed to see what they find interesting. When you’ve done your homework, they’ll be impressed that you’re not asking a generic question, but something that reflects your knowledge of this person–which will make them want to help you even more.

Know Your “Ask”

Based on your challenge and research of the person, come up with a main item you need help with. Asking lots (more than a couple) questions in an email or DM can be overwhelming and if the person you’re reaching out to is super-busy, they may not get back to it at all. Give yourself the best chance of a helpful response by having a specific item and being clear on what you’d like from that person. An introduction? A review of your approach so far? Thoughts on additional resources?

Share Your Story

It’s always helpful for me to know what you’ve done thus far or where you are in your journey to provide context to my responses. If you let me know that you’ve been interviewing but aren’t having success, share the feedback you’ve received, what you think the issue might be, how many interviews you’ve been on and what kinds of roles you’ve interviewed for. From here, I can give you much more specific insight rather than the basics I would have to go on if you simply told me you’re having problems landing a Salesforce gig.

Close the Loop

Of course, you respond with thanks when someone emails you. But be sure to reach back out if you implemented the recommendation someone offered, or got an amazing new opportunity through your efforts. Most people will feel motivated to continue to offer support when they know their advice or insights didn’t fall on deaf ears and that you’re doing well. We all love a good success story! By the same token, I have people reach out when they’re at low points and might just need an encouraging word–that’s fine too. Our journeys are replete with ups and downs and no one expects yours to be exempt from that.

Pay It Forward

One day, you’ll have your dream job and someone will reach out to YOU. Remember the grace that was extended to you, and vow to pay it forward by helping someone who was where you were a short while ago!

Always connecting,

Toni

Short & Sweet

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