Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: What are the proven methods of contacting successful business people? Here is one of the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread.
1. Email Introduction
The golden rule is that if you can get your friend to recommend you, you’re in. Tap your social circle and see who you know can introduce you to who you want to meet. Ask them to do a simple email introduction—”Hey , just wanted to connect you with Cole here. Cole does and I think he’d be a great resource! I’ll let you guys take it from here.”
People like to work with friends. So ask your friends to introduce you to their friends. Etc.
2. Interact On Social Media
I’m a firm believer that within the next 10 years, having a “resumé” will be a thing of the past. Instead, we will judge each other based on our digital, live, real-time resumés—otherwise known as our Social Presence. Who would you rather talk to/do business with/hire? A kid with a sheet of paper that says where he graduated and which summer camps he worked at growing up? Or a kid who has 10k followers on social media and is an active blogger and has relationships with other writers/content creators in that niche space? It’s a no brainer.
Build up yourself in the industry you want to tackle and use your social presence as leverage. Trust me, this tactic works.
Once you build yourself up a bit (1-2k minimum) you should then start reaching out, interacting with, and starting conversations between other thought leaders in the space.
3. Email/Social Outreach
Sometimes all it takes is simply asking. I would suggest email, although I’ve heard of success being found through Twitter as well. Pick who you want to get in touch with and shoot them a message. KEEP IT SHORT. Something along the lines of, “Hey, I wanted to reach out because . If you have 30 minutes to spare sometime this week, I’d love to meet up for coffee to pick your brain a bit.” If coffee isn’t your gig, ask for a quick 15 minute call.
The key here is two things: 1, showing your enthusiasm for wanting to learn, and 2, what you can give them in return. Now, if you have nothing to offer in return, then #1 has to really stand out. Speak from the heart. Show that you’re hungry and you’re eager to learn and you’d be surprised how many people return with positive words. Just remember: they’re busy people, so KEEP IT SHORT.
4. Talk To Everyone
Everywhere you frequent, you should know at least 5 people there. Local coffee shop? Gym? Club? You should know the regulars and the regulars should know you. Why? Because you NEVER KNOW who knows who. I’ve met so many great business contacts through the gym. Make yourself known and you’ll see opportunities smack you in the face.
5. Pick Up The Phone
You’d be surprised how simple yet effective this is. A lot of people don’t want to deal with scheduling a phone call via email, and will easily shrug you off. Instead, just give them a ring at their office and make friends with their secretary. If you can get through to them, great. If not, no hard feelings. But this is much easier than people anticipate.
All that said, remember people want to teach those who they see are worthy of the investment. What do teachers get out of teaching? The satisfaction of seeing their teachings manifest and grow in a pupil. The best way you can do this is to show value in your field—that’s why I mentioned growing yourself as an online influencer in your niche market. The more perceived value you have, the more people will be willing to (at the very least) chat with you for 15 minutes and answer your questions.
What I’m saying is, make sure you’re investing heavily in yourself before you go around asking others to invest in you.