How to “Hack” Prospecting with Rapportive

By Patrick Merfert on July 10, 2012 in Tools - 4 Comments

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.

Homepage for RapportiveWhat 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):


Oh hey, Andrew Mason.

If the email address is invalid, Rapportive will return a “?” and no details about that person. Worry not, once you guess the correct address, Rapportive will display that individual’s profile, Bingo.

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.

About the Author

Patrick Merfert works at Contactually (, a startup that has created a tool that helps you follow-up with the most important people in your network. Patrick is passionate about startups and regularly attends tech events and is a voracious reader of tech news. You can follow Patrick on Twitter: @patmerf.

4 Comments on "How to “Hack” Prospecting with Rapportive"

  1. chris July 12, 2012 at 8:09 am · Reply

    Installed, thanks! Impressive tool. When it asked me to import contacts from other sites I was amazed how many profiles I maintain (google+, facebook, linkedin,, etc. etc.) – since I use gmail for most mail its a no-brained to have this integrated. Chris

    • Steve Castaneda July 12, 2012 at 8:11 am · Reply

      Glad you installed it, Chris! One of the best things you can do right away, is open up client emails and see if it can find their social profiles and begin friending/following your existing and past clients.

    • Patrick Merfert July 17, 2012 at 7:40 am · Reply

      Chris, happy to hear that you found the tool useful! Make sure to review your own profile for accuracy and to control what you share with others who may be using Rapportive.

  2. Paul August 10, 2012 at 7:10 pm · Reply

    Rapportive! I’ll give it a whirl! Always interested in new people in companies just starting up in Nova Scotia.

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