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Increased Traffic in Response to the Link Request Itself from Webmasters

While this might seem the same goal as traffic from links themselves it isn't exactly. A link from a high traffic site may or may not yield you lots of future traffic but visits from the webmasters of hundreds or thousands of little sites in response to your link request is traffic just the same. Rather most of these webmasters have what it takes to build high traffic sites to enable them to send you traffic or not does not change the fact that they can send traffic in other ways. In general people that run sites are more vocal and share things that interest them on the web with those they know. If a small personal geocities webmaster can not send you one visitor a year from his site he can send you perhaps one repeat visitor himself and refer you to many of his offline friends. This word of mouth traffic type generation can be effective in ways that direct link generated traffic can never mimic. You get this in addition to traffic from any links that small webmasters might place to your site and as you become an "industry leader" you will get to be able to watch many of these smaller sites grow and be able to reward you more so in the future.
Benefit Scenarios

By mailing out link requests to webmasters in your field you could theoretically experience the following type of benefits in addition to direct traffic from any links set up:

20% of webmasters emailed visit your site

1% become regular visitors

2% visit your site and email or tell a friend about your site