A personal referral / introduction makes all the difference.
When you call someone and mention that one of their friends or colleagues suggested you reach out, you almost always get the other person’s attention.
Who do you know who knows someone who you would like to meet? Leverage LinkedIn to see what common connections you have, then reach out to a shared connection and ask for a referral or better, a personal introduction.
To find shared connections...
Login to your LinkedIn account.
Search for the person who you would like to meet.
If you have any shared connections, on their LinkedIn profile, right below the number that shows how many connections they have, you will see how many mutual connections you have. Click the “mutual connections” link and see who you both know.
Reach out to the shared connection and ask for an introduction to the person you’d like to meet or ask if you can use their name when reaching out to the individual.
If you have no shared LinkedIn connections, conduct a LinkedIn search using the person’s company name. If it’s a multiple word company, but the search within quotation marks, e.g., “widget corporation.”
On the results page, click the People button.
Click the Connections pull down and select the 1st button.
The result list will show people who you know who currently, or used to, work at the company. Reach out to any of these people to see if they know the person you’d like to meet, and if they’re willing to make an introduction.
Even if you send an email or leave a voicemail, when you reference a personal referral you almost always receive a response.