You’re at a dinner with a networking partner talking about a large prospect “I keep calling their controller, but the gate keeper never lets me through!” Then your friend gives you the key to the account. “John, you’re calling the wrong guy! You need Joe Smith in Finance. I’ll plant some seeds, but you’re on your own on this one.”
Armed with just a name the company they work for, how do you get in? This is where a well-timed email can change your next call from a “cold call” to a “warm call.” Luckily, it’s possible to find most anyone’s direct email address online using a few key tools.
Step 1: Google
The first thing you’ll want to do is determine their standard email format. Most companies have an email design policy and stick to it. Search Google for *@examplecompany.com, as in the image above. Replace “examplecompany.com” with the website URL of the company your contact works for. The asterisk serves as a wild card. In many cases, you will see one or two email address in the search results on the first page.
If nothing else, this will verify what the second half of their email address looks like after the @ symbol. If no emails are listed, go to the “help” or “careers” page on the company website and look for any internal email addresses. Some companies use a different domain name for their email vs public website (i.e. e-co.net is used for emails, but examplecompany.com is their full website).
You can also find their LinkedIn account very quickly by searching for their name plus site:linkedin.com. This allows you to search only on LinkedIn.com, and is useful for verifying the spelling of their name for the next step.
Step 2: Email Verification tools
Rather than sending an email and waiting to see if it goes through, you can use online tools to validate that the email address is legitimate. I’ve worked with several in the past, but have had the most success with email-checker.com. These tools do not confirm who receives the email, but it does confirm that the email will not bounce back.
You can also use this tool to search for multiple versions of the email address. For example, if I’m looking for “Joe Smith” at Company.com, I can test email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com, and see which one (if any) works.
Optional Step 3: Paid Services (or “Free Trials” of Paid Services)
If you can’t get anywhere with Google and Email Verification tools, your next step may be to sign up for a paid service (or free trail) with 3rd party data mining sites. I’ve had the best luck with Data.com and InsideView. Data.com allows limited access for free in exchange for sharing your own contact information, and InsideView allows for a free two-week trail. While I can’t fully recommend this, you can use websites like mailinator.com to generate a disposable email address to gain access indefinitely.
Do you have additional tips or tricks for finding email addresses online? Let us know in the comments below.
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