This post is a story about how I tried to contact one man for over a year and finally got through. He’s a man who has had a lot of success in the Silicon Valley tech world and is know to many as “Richard Branson’s Entrepreneur Gatekeeper.” For the record, I did not want to talk with him to get anywhere near Richard.
There are times in your life where you feel compelled to pursue something and stop at nothing, and you don’t even know why. This was one of those moments for me. Connecting with this celebrity entrepreneur seemed like my destiny, and I became convinced it was my fate.
Members of my inner business network told me that I had to talk with this person. The more elusive he became, the more intrigued I started to become. Maybe I was naïve to want to talk with someone who was so influential in the world. I mean, what does little old me from Melbourne Australia really have to offer? As it turns out, I had quite a bit to offer – never underestimate your value.
Thinking back, this moment of connecting with this celebrity entrepreneur felt a lot like déjà vu. It started to remind me of the time when I first met with Joel Brown all those years back. I felt it was my mission to connect with Joel, and like this latest experience, I wasn’t exactly sure why.
We all have an innate intuition and what has helped me be successful is to follow this intuition even when it may seem like there is no reason too. What you’re about to read below is how one year worth of persistence finally got me to the illusive man I desperately wanted to talk with. Along the journey, many of my contacts told me that this man was impossible to track down, and so I just kept changing my approach.
Below are the 4 tools I used to track down this celebrity entrepreneur:
1. A compelling reason to connect
Trying to contact someone who is highly influential can be hard work so you have to set yourself up for success. The first thing I recommend doing is coming up with a compelling reason why this person should connect with you and have a conversation.
You have to put yourself in their headspace and try to imagine what a day in their life must be like. You need to spend time researching the person to understand what is important to them. Social media is one of the best ways to conduct your research because you can often see a glimpse of their personal life.
Once you have written down your compelling reason, add a sentence about the action that you want the person to take. In my example, I discovered that sport was a key part of this person’s life and that it was this network that might be able to introduce me to him. I also learned that the compelling reason I had come up with was directly aligned to what this person was dedicated to doing every day.
2. Try different channels
Contacting people these days is more complicated than before in some ways. In times gone by, you used to just have email or phone, and that was it. Now, you have email, phone, Facebook, Twitter, their website, work email, personal email, etc.
The trick is to understand what method of communication the person you want to contact prefers. Often with social media, you can quickly work out if the person runs their own account, and how many times a day they post. The more the person posts on one channel, the more likely they are to respond.
One tip I’ve been taught is to tag the person you want to contact a few times in your social media posts which could be relevant or even about them. Back to my example, I tried the work email first with a very compelling and eye-catching message which didn’t get me a response.
I then tried making a comment on one of this person’s posts on Facebook with a question – still nothing. At this point, the only thing I could do was get an introduction because a direct reach out was not working.
3. Sell yourself to the gatekeeper
When you have to get an introduction to someone who is highly influential you have to tread carefully. Often the mutual connections you have in common with someone may be reluctant to introduce you out of fear that you will mess up or make them look stupid.
Using tools like LinkedIn, I discovered that I had sixty-three connections in common with the person I wanted to talk with. Over a long period of time, I contacted different connections asking for them to introduce me.
I made sure that I clearly articulated why I wanted to talk with this person and did my best to make the person introducing me look like a hero because of the compelling reason I had come up, which was genuine at the same time.
Eventually, I found someone who was quite unsuspecting, who had a direct way to the person. They asked to verify my reason for talking with this man and once I told them, they emailed me back and said that they thought the reason was perfectly aligned with this celebrity entrepreneur’s vision.
At this point, I thought I was in because the lady offered to email introduce me to the person’s private email address. I thought that having the personal email was my way in. What I have learned is even once you get the personal email address, you should ask, “What’s the best channel to communicate with them going forward?”
In the case of this person, I was told that Facebook Messenger was the way she got in contact with this person, and she told me that email wasn’t the best way.
4. Persistence wins the struggle
Trying to connect with a celebrity entrepreneur is difficult at the best of times because everyone wants to pitch their business idea to them. What I have highlighted above took a long time to play out and even once I got the email introduction to their personal email, I still got no response.
See, I had tried all the ways I knew to contact them but what I have learned is that often you can be just 2mm away from success. Even though I had tried contacting the person on Facebook, I never sent them a message via Facebook messenger.
Now that I had an introduction to the person’s email from someone they trusted, I then went in for the kill and messaged the person via Facebook. Lucky for me, out of sheer luck, they had accepted my friend request months back.
Within a few minutes, I had a response and a way to communicate with them. Without persistence, you will never connect with influential individuals or get the top-notch advice that many never get to hear. You have to not take no for an answer and keep changing your approach.
Your network is critical for anything you want to achieve and no matter what your idea of success is, you will need help from other people. The best way to learn any skill is not through just reading books and watching videos online, it’s through having real conversations with people that have succeeded.
What can happen, after a story like what I have described for you above, is that when you connect with a highly influential person, if they like you, you may just become part of their network and even go on to do business with them.
Keep your mind open, believe that everything happens for a reason, and go out there and have a go no matter what the result is. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because you can.
Who have you been lucky enough to connect with? What was your strategy? I’d love to know the answer in the comments section below or on my website timdenning.net and my Facebook.
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