Get a Referral From the CEO


A couple of years ago, I reached out to a business colleague when I was looking to sell a domain name. He gave me the contact information of  a friend of his who is CEO of a medium-sized company (LinkedIn says 51-200 employees) that we both  thought might be interested in the domain name.

When I reached out to the CEO, I assumed he wouldn’t be the best person to ask about the domain name. Instead, I asked him if I could contact the person who manages  the company marketing to discuss the domain name opportunity. He said that would be a good idea, and he provided the employee’s email address and phone number. I then emailed the Director of Marketing at the company, making sure to mention that the CEO referred  me to him to discuss the domain name. The company ended up buying the domain name from my company.

I am not sure how much a “referral”  from the CEO boosted the prospect of the acquisition, but it couldn’t hurt. I think this might be a good tactic to use if you are able to get in touch with a company CEO. I hadn’t really thought much about this until last night, and I wanted to share it with you because it seems like it could be effective.

There are a couple of big issues with this strategy. The first issue is that it relies upon being able to get in touch with a CEO who doesn’t handle marketing decisions. I would imagine most of the CEOs who are answering their own emails or who take the time to answer a random email about a domain name would likely be the key decision maker. If that happens, there is no reason to ask for the marketing person. The second and bigger issue is that many CEOs of larger companies have assistants that answer emails or would ignore your email.

While it’s great to get in touch with a marketing decision maker, having an introduction email from the CEO or at least a referral from the CEO might be more effective than a cold call. I am going to try this out and see if it is helpful.

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