One of the major results my clients want when they work with me is to connect with influencers and decision makers. There are no quick fixes to that. It takes time to get noticed. There is a lot of strategic and foundational work that has to be done before you can go out there and sell yourself effectively.
There are countless ways you can get the attention of influencers and decision makers, some work better, others don’t.
In this article, I will dive deep into a very specific thing you can do to get the attention of people you want to connect with. It is highly effective and it worked both for me and for my clients.
What I see over and over again are spam messages that are sent out, through LinkedIn or email.
When I say spam, I mean things like “Hi, my name is blahblah, I am a business development executive at XYZ and I have a fantastic offer for you…” or “Hi, my name is suchandsuch and I have 7 years experience in skill ABC. I want to work for your company. Please hire me.”
Maybe I am exaggerating a bit but this is how these messages feel like to me.
Throughout my career, I have received plenty of them and I have to admit that when I started my corporate career, I sent out some pretty intimidating sales messages myself. I have learned my lessons and moved on.
Instead of spamming people with messages like that, add value to their lives. So, how do you do that?
Let me show you a great way to start with.
Send a Book That Makes People Smile and Feel Great
It’s not really something new, people have sent books to each other as gifts for years. Especially since Amazon makes it so very easy to do, it has become a great and simple way to say thank you to people.
I believe in order to have a real impact when using this strategy, you have to be a bit more thoughtful than to pick up a random book and send it to somebody.
In order to get the attention and also to get through any clutter filter that the influencer may have in place, it has to be highly personal.
You are probably not the only person who is sending something by mail. As soon as you get a little popular, lots of people start sending you things like calendars, free samples and invitations to “exclusive” events.
Why Do You Want to Connect?
The first thing you really need to think about is why you want to connect to that person. If the only reason is because you want to sell something, either yourself, a product or service, don’t bother. You will never be able to make the connection work. And even if, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime sale.
If you have interest in the person because of her values, personality, passion or something else about that person, you have a great foundation to make it work.
If you deeply care about the organization or the cause of the organization they are involved in, that is also a great place to start.
Write down all the points that interest you about that person. Do you believe you can create a mutually beneficial relationship?
I’m not saying you have to be at the same level of experience or even know more about something than the influencer.
What I’m saying is that you need to have an opinion, a passion for something and be able to express that.
We don’t have a lack of knowledge or experience, we have a lack of leaders. We have a lack of people who express their opinion and follow their passion.
And since what’s scarce is valuable in our economy, you have a fantastic lever at your finger tips. Use it.
Do Your Research
Before you even attempt to connect with an influencer, follow them for a while. Read what they have to say, watch their talks and whenever possible, meet them personally. Maybe he hosts an event or is a speaker.
Use the tools our digital revolution has given to you and put in the work to do your research.
What does the person deeply care about? What does he talk about again and again. What do you both have in common? Do you share a strong opinion?
Chances are, that you share a few things, otherwise you would not be attracted to that person.
Write down the things that you have in common with each other and the topics the influencer cares about.
Choose the Book Wisely
First, take a look at your library. What books have you read in the past year that have deeply impacted you. What books made a difference in your thinking? Look at every single cover and try to remember what it was about and how it made you feel.
Because the strength of our memory is directly linked to the strength of our emotions when experiencing something, you will remember the exceptional books when you see the cover or screen through the table of contents.
Think about which book could have the biggest impact in the influencers life? Which one expresses your beliefs and values the best? Which one shares a strong opinion on something that you and the influencer also belief in?
An important note here: It’s absolutely crucial that you have read the book. I hope this is obvious.
Stand Out by Adding Lots of Personality to Your Gift
You could of course just simply order the book through Amazon and let it be sent to the influencer with a quick note, printed by Amazon. However, that is not what I recommend. Make it really personal.
Order the book to your home and write a personal, hand written note into the first empty pages of the book. Maybe that’s why they actually are empty.
For Xmas 2013, I received a wonderful gift from one of my coaching clients. He sent me a copy of Gary Vaynerchuk’s newest book as you can see below, and added a very personal message to it.
It put a big smile on my face and made me feel truly valued. I knew that he did not just pick any book but one from a person that I admire. Throughout the year, I mentioned Gary a few times, not as much as Seth Godin, but here and there.
I love what Gary does because he is so human. He is extremely bold and self-expressed and has a very strong opinion on things that he expresses in his own, very unique voice.
When you send the book, make sure you have put as much personality into your message as possible.
Say thank you for something the person has done. Express your opinion on something she shared or express strong beliefs that you have and the influencer shares as well. Write why exactly this book is best suited for the influencer.
What If the Person Has Read the Book Already?
Remember the book my client sent to me? I already had the Kindle version. I usually buy only the Kindle version of books because I travel so much and it’s much more convenient for me.
However, there is a massive difference between the Kindle version and an actual book with a hard cover. The reading experience is a completely different one, at least for me.
I love sitting at Starbucks, sipping coffee and reading a hard cover book. I value hard cover books much higher than a Kindle book because it feels like art to me instead of a digital thing, stored somewhere in the could.
Don’t worry too much about if the influencer has the book already or not. What matters is the intent, expressed in the personal message. Make the book a piece of art, your art.
How to Stand Out When Reaching Out to an Influencer
I just recently published a new version of the Communication Excellence Workbook – 10 Steps to Sell Yourself More Effectively & Authentically.
It will help you to create a communication that sells you in an effective way while being authentic and human. Use it for your direct outreach efforts when you connect with influencers & decision makers.