The Best Networking, Cold Calling, and Cold Emailing Posts On WSO

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Author: David Bickerton
David Bickerton
David Bickerton
Asset Management | Financial Analysis

Previously a Portfolio Manager for MDH Investment Management, David has been with the firm for nearly a decade, serving as President since 2015. He has extensive experience in wealth management, investments and portfolio management.

David holds a BS from Miami University in Finance.

Reviewed By: Elliot Meade
Elliot Meade
Elliot Meade
Private Equity | Investment Banking

Elliot currently works as a Private Equity Associate at Greenridge Investment Partners, a middle market fund based in Austin, TX. He was previously an Analyst in Piper Jaffray's Leveraged Finance group, working across all industry verticals on LBOs, acquisition financings, refinancings, and recapitalizations. Prior to Piper Jaffray, he spent 2 years at Citi in the Leveraged Finance Credit Portfolio group focused on origination and ongoing credit monitoring of outstanding loans and was also a member of the Columbia recruiting committee for the Investment Banking Division for incoming summer and full-time analysts.

Elliot has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from Columbia University.

Last Updated:October 1, 2022

If you are looking for anything related to finance, from breaking into investment banking, to what the latest fashion trends in the industry are, our forums are the best place to look at.

Over the years, our users have created phenomenal guides with the aim of helping aspiring candidates join the industry.

Below are the top-ranked (by silver bananas) posts related to networking, cold calling, and cold emailing.


1. Cold-Emailing Guide.
posted by @Culcet"

1) Background info- Contact people with a similar background. Don’t limit yourself to alumni- think deeper. Think about what defines you on a superificial level. If you go to UCLA and want to work on Wall street, email Cal alums in New York. Williams College? Why not email alums that went to Swarthmore, or any other liberal arts college alum that might have had to teach himself the technicals? And if you’re a non-target… email other non-targets. Simple. Emailing someone with a similar background reminds them of themselves. They are therefore that much more happy to help you. Remember though, you are entitled to nothing, and even if the guy is a complete d-bag, thank them in a dignified manner anyways.

2) Content- Keep the email short and sweet. I usually send emails explaining who I am and what my intentions are, a sentence explaining my “story, and then a graceful thank you. For what it’s worth, the whole ‘copy and paste’ thing has never been a big problem for me at the bulge brackets. For boutiques, target carefully based on the advice above and try not to email too many people. Again, if you target the right demographic, this shouldn't be a problem.

2. Keep In Touch! Networking Template posted by @valuationGURU"

As you meet contacts in finance and build your network, you will need to track and monitor your relationships with these individuals. It is important not to let a relationship die off, and it is also critical to remember certain key components of conversations of the past.

My general rule of thumb for following up with contacts is to have at least spoken to them in the last 6 months. Some may want it shorter or longer, but that is the way I have it set up right now. For my template, the "months since last contact" column will turn red when the last contact is more than 6 months. This allows me to know to email or call them soon.

3. The Truth About Networking posted by @HowardRoark"

1. Follow up after the initial meeting.

2. Build a genuine relationship. Instead of calling once or twice a month, take your contacts out for drinks or lunch, and get to know them as people. Send them emails with random articles they might be interested in. Find out if they run or play a sport, and challenge them to a game during their free time.

4. 5 Steps To Effective Networking posted by @ValueBanker14"

In my opinion, it's nearly impossible to network effectively, if you can't communicate your story, your reasoning for IB and your experiences in a cogent and compelling manner to others. Before you even begin approaching people, you should focus on thinking back about 4-6 memorable experiences in your life that have taught you a great deal about yourself and have been instrumental in molding your character. It's easy for everyone to say that they're hardworking and determined, you need to set yourself apart by showing them how you have exemplified those traits in your past.

Once you have constructed vivid outlines for answers to these questions, you need to be comfortable enough with them to the point that you can tailor them based on your audience. For instance, I usually left out the place I grew up in when telling my story. However, if I found someone who grew up in the same place or had been to that place, I would start my story with that to establish a connection from the beginning. And you'll get better at making these adjustments as you continue to network but you still need to have base comfort level to begin with.

5. Non-Target, Cold e-mailing to Multiple BB / MM SA Offers -- Yes it can be Done! posted by @Whiskey5"

While I was networking with the hard-hitting bankers, I also cold e-mailed many Senior Associates and Junior VPs. I knew they were the ones running the campus recruitment process, so my e-mails were very brief. I included my GPA, relevant internships, and why they should hire me.

My e-mails were VERY good and still, I was only getting about a 40% response rate. Cold e-mails led to responses, responses led to informational interviews. informational interviews led to more informational interviews, and then, the first round phone interview. At one BB, I had 5, yes, FIVE rounds of informational interviews before they officially put me into the process to be considered for a first round.

- 15 silver bananas

6. One Fell Swoop: Multi-Purpose Networking posted by @CRE"

I email the following:

My name is _______ and I currently work in commercial real estate. I am interested in talking to you about how you got to the position of ______ and your advice on what I should be doing to get there myself. Let me know if you would be willing to talk.

The key here is to keep it short and keep it direct. If it’s too long they’ll stop reading. If it’s wishy-washy or not upfront you look like a fool.

I make sure to send these from my work email address because my company gives me legitimacy. Also, it prevents me from having to tell them in some way that I’m legitimate. I have gotten a surprisingly high response rate from both of those emails. They key here is that when I meet with them I’m realistic. I don’t ask for a job, I keep asking questions to keep them talking, and I ask for their advice for me to make a career shift into whatever career they’re interested in. One kindly said they just wouldn’t hire me given my UG school and GPA. (Remember, I didn’t send them my resume at first. Don’t get auto-dinged!)

7. How To Really Network And Land That Offer posted by @km190"

Maintaining Relationships I maintain my relationships by updating contacts with my progress. I also touch on unique interests. Did you get that first round interview with UBS? Ask your fellow alumni at Barclays what he thinks, and maybe ask him for a mock interview if he has the time. Is one of your contacts a big Seahawks fan? Send him a quick email and congratulate them on the big win. Will you be in town next week? Send them an email and ask if they would be free to meet. Be tactful and genuine, it will take you a long way. Eventually you will find that emails become less formal and more natural. Communication becomes effortless. If you find yourself in this situation, pat yourself on the back because you are doing something right. It is only when I feel that I have built enough rapport with a banker that I will ask them for an opportunity to interview at their firm, if they have not already extended the invitation.

Learn To Close Networking only gets you so far. You NEED to master how to close. As you go about your networking process, you must be extremely aware of your strengths and weaknesses and how you can use both to your advantage. Recruitment is very competitive and the best way to stand out is to know yourself well enough to sell yourself effectively. Craft a tight story, know your resume, and mock interview until you are sick of it. With that being said, know technical questions like the back of your hand.

8. How to feel confident and get a job out of networking events posted by @Charlie_KickassAcademy"

As soon as you walk in, speak to someone (but don't get stuck) - This is where most people lock up. Their mind races, they feel uncomfortable, and they have no idea what to do with their hands (hence, the race to check email or grab a drink). You need to get out of your head and into conversation. So immediately upon entering take 30 seconds to say hello to anyone, whether they work at the company, are recruiting, or are event staff. A simple, “Hey I’ve not met you yet. I’m [your name],” is all it takes.

Aim to meet people involved in the recruiting process - Now that you’ve had one conversation and are feeling loose, it’s time to look for the type of person that can help you. At the official company events, this person tends to be in their low 30's. They are an MD or an Associate or some mid-level employee with managerial responsibilities. They will take at least one interview and have a disproportionate say in who gets though. At smaller events like coffee chats, resume reviews, and mock interviews, it is often whoever is hosting.

9. Your Cold Email Just Got A LOT Warmer posted by @Edmundo Braverman"

Follow up too soon or too often and you look like a desperate stalker; follow up too late or not at all and your prospect thinks you're a flake or that you don't care. So to know when you should follow up, you should use Yesware, a brilliant Gmail extension.

Intended as a sales productivity tool, Yesware provides you a wealth of data on the emails you've sent out - and it does it all for FREE. When you send an email to a prospect and you mark it to be tracked, Yesware embeds an HTML pixel into the body of your email that is invisible to your email recipient. What that pixel allows Yesware to do is tell you exactly when your prospect first opens your email, and how many times he or she has since read your email. And it works even if they've disabled read receipts.

Imagine your recipients' surprise when they take a look at your email for the third or fourth time and then all of a sudden there's a follow-up email in their inbox from you. Boom; better respond to this guy now before I forget.

10. Networking into a Hedge Fund? It's Unstructured posted by @WallStreetPlayboys"

There are broadly two routes to landing a hedge fund interview:

1. Directly via your network Know what you want. During your search it’s important to maintain a realistic outlook (beggars can’t be choosers) and that should not stop you from being able to articulate your grander career aspirations. You should be able to explain your goals in a well thought-out manner. In addition, it should go without saying that if you aren’t aiming high then you need to raise the bar and become inspired to raise it every day. If you are able tell your story convincingly and sincerely to people who can help you achieve your goals, then they are more likely to “buy-in” and want to help you if they can.

2. Through a headhunter The number one thing to keep in mind when dealing with headhunters is knowing how they get paid. They are there to make money first and help you second. Convince the headhunter that they can place you. Position yourself in a manner that makes it seem like you are a guaranteed hire.

11. 5 Ways to Not Suck at Networking posted by @olafenizer"

Be a sniper, not a howitzer. Find one guy and send him an email. Find the next guy and send him one. Don’t build it up and blow it all at once because chances are good that no matter how confident you are in the wording of your first cold email, a week later you’ll have already made 20 revisions. Also you need to be constantly contacting people on a rolling basis.

You need to go to your target city and meet these people in person. Take 2 days off of school and set up a trip, whatever it takes. No deal has ever been done over the phone. It shows some deep commitment to spend a few hundred dollars to get on a plane to go drink some flavored water with a guy you don’t know. That and it allows the other person to check to see that you are as smart and likable in person as you were on the phone.

12. Cold Calling 101 posted by @rothyman"

The key to a good sales person over the phone is someone who A) can appeal to the person on the other end of the line in under 10 seconds and B) asks the important questions that reveal 'the pain'.

'The Pain' is the reason you're calling these individuals. They have a pain and the whole point of the sales process is to reveal this pain so you can 'fix' them with your product. Good sales people have people 'bleeding all over the floor' within minutes. Why? Because they ask pointed questions which lead them to the source.

The main goal of a cold call is to obtain a meeting. 95% of the time, sales are not made over the phone. Sales is a sequence of 'Yeses' leading to the final yes (the close):
a) Get someone to have a conversation over the phone with you - Yes #1
b) Have them admit that they could benefit from your product - Yes #2
c) Get them to agree to a meeting in person - Yes #3
d) Meet in person and gain their trust - Yes #4
e) Create a proposal and close the sale - Yes #5

And this is essentially how people successfully turn cold calls into sales.

13. Such a thing as too much networking? - 4/20/17 - Have been aggressively networking - originally posted by @pedigreed monkey" 15 comments

Top comment by @Cornelius" (3 silver bananas)

Call them everyday until they either agree to meet with you or give you a job offer. They tell you to fuck off, you tell them, fuck you! Pay me! Right to their face. You spam their inbox, do whatever you have to do.

I once called this big swingin' dick over and over again. He wouldn't return my calls, his secretary kept cock blocking me, so i just showed up at his office on his birthday with a box of cuban cigars. Believe me, they let me in. When i got into the office, this is what he said:

"This is the kid, calls me 59 days in a row, wants to be a player. There ought to be a picture of you in the dictionary under persistence kid."

..You know, in the end, life comes down to a few moments, this was one of them.

14. 6/14/17 - Introverts Who Learned to be Successful Networkers? - originally posted by @BBA18" 26 comments

Top comment by @mrcheese321" 14 silver bananas

'll echo quality over quantity. LinkedIn accounts with 1600 connections are great and all, but they are worthless if nobody will actually make the introduction for you/be your reference when you need it.

My advice is to find a friend to go to events with and use him/her as a wing person. Don't be anti social and walk around the entire event the whole time together, but say the event is an hour long, break it up into 4 smaller networking sessions. Spend the first 10 minutes together surveying the room (see who you know and who you don't). Then split off on your own and go talk to people. Come back half way through and compare notes for 10 min. Then split off again - go find the people that each other talked to that sounded interesting. You can use each other as a reference, "my friend John met you earlier and mentioned...something you found interesting that somewhat applies to me so I came over to talk to you." That way you have a warm intro and reinforce your friend's network. Win-win.

Or if you don't want to split off again at the end, you can decide who you want to reintroduce each other to and go do that. Like you met an Associate from XYZ and he met a VP from QXY. You both are interested in those other shops so you cross introduce.

You will be surprised how many times this will make for an after event drink invite, which is where you really get to know people.

Note: if you steal my technique and I see you using it on me, while I approve, I reserve the right to not fall for it ;)

14. 6/14/17 - You're boring -- Networking - originally posted by @Appley" 19 comments

Top comment by @kayz08" 7 silver bananas

I'll start off by saying you've got to get out of your "finance-driven, dead-personality" mode. This will be hard for some because they will have probably spent a long time sacrificing their personality, in order to boost their chances of getting into the industry.

In order to improve your networking ability, you need to start being normal again. Don't look at the professionals interviewing/talking with you as omnipotent gods. Treat them like you would normal people, with friendliness and respect. They like normal things, just like you.

So when you ask "what sort of traits signal...." or "what makes you enjoy working with....". Ask yourself the same question and figure out what type of person you'd want to work with in that scenario.

And most important of all, remember everyone is different. Not all professionals want someone who likes golf and cars. Not all want someone with x personality traits. That's why the aim is to apply everywhere until you find a place where you can fit.

15. 7/7/17 - Cold Call v. Cold Email - originally posted by @sailingbill" 10 comments

Top comment by @UTDFinanceGuy" 3 silver bananas


Send over a cold email, use an email tracking software, when they open it, give them a cold call within an hour of them opening it and just mentioning why you were reaching out (networking/informational) and go from there.

Some people will be turned off by the cold call, some will be turned off from the cold email, and others will be excited and give you props. You can't please everyone. Play the law of numbers, and get your name and voice out there and you'll be able to get where you need.

16. 4/7/17 - "Cold calling" fit with this role? - originally posted by @a monkey" 10 comments

Top comment by @dmw86" 5 silver bananas

I worked at a boutique consulting firm several years ago. We cold-called a ton, and I think similar-size firms do the same. It wasn't in the budget to connect with expert networks, so often times it was calling lower-level employees, academics, consultants, or small business owners to try and get a few minutes of their time to explore some things going on in an industry.

It wasn't fun, I'll tell you that much. But it was a useful experience. Analysts at my firm were expected to source their own contacts for cold calling, as well as distilling the information learned into meaningful insights and designing decks around what we learned. It wasn't very formulaic, which was both good (allowed for creativity in problem-solving) and bad (it was a shit-pile of work).

I also learned how to talk to people from all walks of life, and how to gently steer them through a conversation so that they talk about things that I need to know instead of the things they feel like talking about. All in all it was a valuable experience, but I don't miss days of dialing dozens of numbers and dealing with a single-digit hit rate.

17. 8/30/16 - Cold Call Advice - originally posted by @heyguysandgals" 11 comments

Top comment by @Sil" 7 silver bananas

The conversations are ending with an awkward goodbye because you started the conversation with awkward questions. You need to have an actual conservation with these bankers, not just rattle off a list of questions to check the box and then ask the inevitable coded "how do I get an interview at your bank?" question.

My suggestion is to have some generic questions in mind, but try to ask some questions unique to the banker. Maybe the banker has a lawncare business that he/she started listed on their LinkedIn. Maybe the banker played professional poker for a year before starting in IB. Maybe the banker went to the same high school that you did. You get the point. After you ask a question, make sure to follow up on it. For example, say you ask the generic "can you tell me about some of your deals?" question and the banker mentions how their bank just closed an oil and gas M&A transaction. Maybe you read about a similar transaction and had a question. Or maybe something stood out to you about the oil and gas industry. Try to add something to the conversation. Imagine that you're talking to a buddy of yours, except you're talking about IB instead of football or chicks.

For the MD, try asking for career advice, about how the IB industry has changed since they started, whether they wanted to do IB long-term or not when they first got in, etc. Maybe the MD has worked in IB for 20 years. You ask him how the industry has changed and he brings up increased regulation, more competition from independent advisory firms ("elite boutiques"), stiffer competition to break into IB, etc. You then follow up and ask how clients perceive the value that a BB can bring with its balance sheet versus a bank like Evercore that has no balance sheet and only advisory capabilities.

Hopefully that helps.

18. 1/2/17 - Want to get me on the phone? Here's how - a networking overview. - originally posted by @Sil" 81 comments

Original Post by @Sil" 94 silver bananas

So, you’re trying to break into IB and have started networking. Great. Want to get me on the phone? Here’s how.


### The Preparation (April)

The first step is putting together a tracker that you will use to keep track of your networking efforts. You can use Excel, Google Docs, or anything else, but I prefer Excel.


### The Search (April)

Great, so now your tracker is in place. Now it’s time to find people to network with. If

Going bank by bank in your tracker, search through LinkedIn to find bankers who you might reach out to.


### The Execution (May)


Now, start teeing up your emails. I have typed up a few templates in various threads on WSO, so you can search for those, but I would (again) suggest getting the WSO networking guide, which has several templates in it. Please, whatever you do, type up a professional email with correct grammar. English is not my first language, so I can sympathize with others, but please, act as if you care. I’m not your bruh, girlfriend, or twice-removed cousin. Please be professional, but do not call me “Mr.” (or “Ms.” If I were female). We’re both adults, so act like it.


### The Wait (May)

Wait a week (a FULL SEVEN DAYS) and then shoot out a follow up. Make it short and sweet and to the point. If you do not get a response to your follow up, move on. Maybe the banker is busy, maybe the banker just turned in his/her two weeks notice, maybe the banker was arrested for murdering another banker with an ax. There are many more bankers for you to contact. Please learn some social cues :)


### The Contact (May)


So, anyway, the next step is setting up a time to talk. Please don’t reply with something like “I can talk whenever”. YOU are the one who contacted ME. Suggest some reasonable times. No, 7:30 AM before your first class is not reasonable. No, I will not get on the phone at 2:00 AM because you think that makes you cool for asking. 7:00 PM is usually when my senior bankers started leaving, so suggest something around then, but do end your email with a “I can be flexible” line.


### The Phone Call (May)

So, you finally got me on the phone. Congrats. Don’t blow it now.

There are two must-ask questions. After you’ve had a few minutes of conversation, you need to ask for advice. This is code for “get me an interview”. Most bankers know this and will give you advice and then finish that with an offer to pass your resume along and/or connect you with other bankers. If they do not offer to connect you with anyone, ASK. Feel free to print this paragraph out and frame it. It is that important.


### Post-Phone Call (May – July)


Once you’ve had a phone call, the next step is setting up some time for coffee. If you live in or close to NY or some other financial hub, this should be easy. Wait a month after your phone call and then email bankers for some time for coffee.


### The Ask (August)

Great, so now we’ve done the networking tango.

You can’t just straight-up ask me for an interview. Say something like “With recruiting season coming up, I was wondering how I could best position myself”. This is usually where a banker will offer to pass along your resume, talk to HR, or even come back with some phone interview times.

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