In an ideal world, high-powered people would be dying to talk to you.
In reality, however, it can be hard to get busy, successful people on the phone, much less sitting across from you in a cafe.
In a post on his website, I Will Teach You to Be Rich, GrowthLab CEO Ramit Sethi says that your initial email is crucial to getting a meeting — and he’ll tell you exactly what to write.
“This is a simple thing that signals to your expert that you are competent, won’t waste their time, and you’re capable of actually USING the advice they give,” he writes.
“One of the best things about this email is its brevity,” writes Sethi. “There’s zero fat in the message and it just tells the recipient what she needs to know.”
Here’s the exact template you can use (delete the bold type!):
Subject: Michigan State grad — would love to chat about your work at Deloitte
My name is Samantha Kerritt. I’m an ’04 grad from Michigan State and I came across your name on our alumni site. [TELL THEM HOW YOU CAME ACROSS THEIR NAME SO YOU DON’T SEEM LIKE A CREEP.]
I’d love to get your career advice for 15-20 minutes. I’m currently working at Acme Tech Company, but many of my friends work in consulting and each time they tell me how much they love their job, I get more interested. [THE FIRST SENTENCE SAYS WHAT SHE WANTS. MOST PEOPLE ARE FLATTERED THAT PEOPLE WANT/VALUE THEIR ADVICE.]
Most of them have told me that if I’m interested in consulting, I have to talk to someone at Deloitte. Do you think I could ask you about your job and what motivated you to choose Deloitte? I’d especially love to know how you made your choices after graduating from Michigan State. [“MICHIGAN STATE” REINFORCES SHARED BOND.]
I can meet you for coffee or at your office…or wherever it’s convenient. I can work around you! [THE BUSY PERSON IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU. TREAT THEM ACCORDINGLY.]
Would it be possible for us to meet? [A BUSY PERSON CAN SIMPLY REPLY TO THIS WITH A “YES” — PERFECT. NOTE THAT I DIDN’T ASK FOR THE TIME/LOCATION AS THAT’S TOO MUCH INFORMATION IN THE FIRST EMAIL.]
This story originally appeared on Business Insider.