Let’s pretend for a moment that you are a luxury real estate agent based in Connecticut. One morning, you read that Kayak, a travel-search engine, has just filed for its IPO, and at the top-end of the range, the company could be worth just shy of $1 Billion. After shaking your head in disbelief and muttering that you missed your calling as a tech entrepreneur, you pause and realize that Kayak’s headquarters are in Norwalk, CT. Your eyes light up at the thought of engaging with these local, newly minted multi-millionaires who will likely be upgrading their lifestyles in short form.
You have a target, a Kayak exec that you want to pitch, but you lack their contact information. As a tech-savvy agent, you hop onto LinkedIn hoping that you share a common connection. Unsurprisingly, you are outside the exec’s network and have exhausted your Inmails. You could try to reach your prospect by calling Kayak and politely asking to be transferred to the exec’s direct line…good-luck with that! Or you could reach your prospect faster and smarter using Rapportive.
What the heck is Rapportive, you ask? Rapportive is a free plug-in for Gmail that works with the Chrome, Safari, and Firefox browsers. Once installed, Rapportive will display your contact’s job title, location, links to their social media profiles as well as recent posts/tweets. Almost always, this includes links to the three kings of social media: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Rapportive works its magic whenever you open an email or enter a recipients email address while composing a new message. It appears on the right-hand side of the screen and does not interfere with reading or composing messages.
Ok, so how does this help you contact your prospect? Rapportive touts its ability to learn more about your current connections but does not mention that you can “discover” email addresses of non-contacts, and this is where things get interesting. With a small dose of knowledge about email addresses and an equally small bit of guessing we can “hack prospecting”. Let’s continue with our target prospect.
First, click “compose” as if you were starting a new email. Next in the “To”(email address) line, take an educated guess at what you think is your prospect’s email address. I say educated, because there are common email address iterations including, (but not limited to):
Not only do you now know your prospect’s direct email address, but also you have contextual cues from their social media presence to aid in your pitch. You can navigate to their various social network profiles to get a pulse of what that person is about and ultimately to build better rapport, hence the name Rapportive. When someone receives a tailored message direct to their personal email account, they are much more receptive and likely to respond. Even better in this example, is the fact that you are dealing with tech entrepreneurs; they live in their inbox.
While this was a hyper-specific use case (you’re very welcome, Connecticut luxury real estate agents), there are many professional situations where Rapportive can work toward your benefit including building stronger relationships with current contacts. In my own experience, I have benefitted from Rapportive by broadening my professional network after contacting then subsequently meeting in-person Co-founders of early-stage tech startups. My messaging was concise and demonstrated my passion for their company.
Rapportive is a powerful tool and with great power comes great responsibility. If you intend to use Rapportive, be sure to use it judiciously. This means do not use the shotgun approach and email entire teams. After all, they do work together and will talk to one another, so your name will get around fast. This also means to be highly targeted in your messaging when reaching out.
Finally, be aware that others can see your Rapportive profile as well as links to your social network presence. Consider editing your Rapportive profile, which can easily be done once you have installed the tool.