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Have you ever tried to contact a successful person? Maybe you’re running a growing small business and looking for a mentor, or you’re seeking personal enrichment in some way, shape, or form. Reaching out to those someone has “made it” so to speak can be a challenge if not downright intimidating because of his or her level of success. If you’ve never done so before, it is possible to reach your goal. In order to get you off on the right foot, here are ten tips and methods for potential success.
10 Best Practices For Contacting Highly Successful People
1. Use LinkedIn
One of the best ways to initially reach out to successful people is through the LinkedIn website. It’s known as a more professional social media website compared to the many others and if you maintain a solid and complete profile of your own, you just might be able to get a response from the successful people on your list. But to improve your chances, try to find something in common you have with the person in question with the goal being having your initial message more attention grabbing. If you’re a member of a LinkedIn Group that they happen to participate in, for example you could mention a recent post or comment in the group from the individual. Or if you perused their profile and were impressed with it and make a mention of it, that can also work as well.
2. Reach Out to Friends and Family
You should also enlist the help of family and friends. Most all of us know at least a few successful people, and when you can utilize a “bridge” for your initial outreach, you’re much more likely to achieve your goal. Even if it’s a friend of a friend, as they say, that might be all you need in order to get an actual response.
3. Attend Networking Events
Successful people became that way likely in part due to networking. Therefore, attending such events will get you closer to an in person meeting with the individual you’re trying to contact. Need help finding relevant events that you can attend? Use the website Meetup. Input your industry or niche and you’ll get a list of the upcoming meetings in your area. Don’t be afraid to travel outside of your city limits because the connections you can potentially make can pay off big time in the end.
4. Utilize SCORE
Although this tip is relegated mostly to small business owners, it’s still effective. If you’ve never heard of the website SCORE, now is a great time to check it out. You can directly connect with entrepreneurs who have “been there and done that” and they can be key in helping you reach your goals if you’re an entrepreneur. It’s sponsored by the Small Business Administration, so you know that the professionals involved there are quality people.
5. Join Industry Associations
Again, mostly for small business owners, who are probably a lot of the folks who are reading this article, another option is to join industry associations related to your niche. As previously mentioned, these successful folks are a part of these groups, so any chance you get for even an impromptu meeting should be investigated. For help finding associations you can join, try the website North American Industry Classification System.
6. Send Better Emails
Since the majority of your communications when reaching out to successful people are likely to be of the online nature (namely emails), it’ll be important to send better messages, especially your first one to anyone on your list. It should be brief and direct, but you should also include a level of personalization as well. A quick anecdote from your personal life related to why you’re communicating with them to begin with might work well. Successful folks normally get a multitude of inquiries, so make yours stand out. Try to write your messages in a convivial form as well – the recipient should want to go out and have a beer with you after reading your message, as a rather subjective example. Add some value to your message as well. Maybe you send a link to an article about an interesting take on one of the areas of their expertise, and ask for their opinion on it. Successful people are always looking to learn more, and giving them some interesting information they might not have read ups your chances of moving the relationship forward.
7. Act Professionally
And generally speaking, in any of your messages to successful people, do not make the mistake of coming off as too pandering or silly. There’s no need to state what a huge fan you are of the person, or overly dwelling on their accomplishments. Maintain an air of professionalism in your writings.
8. Be Direct
Also, be direct and concise in what you want out of the relationship. After a brief introduction, if you’re interested in getting the person to promote your new product or service, say so. If you’re looking for someone to fill a speaking engagement need, communicate that quickly as well. Most successful people are busy, so it’ll be important to get to the point immediately if you want to get a response.
9. Place Quality Over Quantity
When you’re looking to connect with successful people, it can be easy to take the route of reaching out to lots of folks en masse, without a mindset or focus on quality. But that would be a mistake. Instead, you should narrow your list down to the three or four people you most want to connect with. That way your efforts will be more focused and you’ll be that much more likely to reach success. Establishing one quality relationship with one successful person is much better than wasting your time trying to establish five connections that don’t have your best efforts put towards them.
10. Do the Proper Research
Before you write your first message, be sure you have thoroughly researched the person in question. Do a generic Internet search and spend some time reading their writings, their social media profiles if applicable, a review of a book he or she wrote, and any podcasts that might be available. And figure out beforehand exactly what it is that you desire to learn from them, that way once you’ve established an initial relationship, you can ask the right questions. For example, if the person has extensive online postings about how to budget your money, as one brief example, you wouldn’t want that to be one of the questions you ask because the information is readily available. You want to come up with questions or topics in their field of expertise but that aren’t necessarily that easy to find the answers to, such as what to do when your budget isn’t working, following up on the example just mentioned. If you make this mistake, successful folks will realize that you didn’t do your homework and are less likely to have a bonafide relationship with you.
Remember – this is probably not going to be a quick process if you employ all of the above steps and you should not expect success in your efforts in the short-term. If you don’t receive a response back in the first day or so, don’t get frustrated. These are successful people you’re reaching out to and they’re probably busy, as mentioned. However, there’s nothing wrong with a follow-up inquiry or two, as long as you don’t come off as pestering the individual. But if you haven’t heard back from someone after several attempts, simply move on to the next person on your list. But also make sure you heed the above point about prioritizing quality over quantity. In the end, you should be able to reach your ultimate goal.