Picture this. It’s a weeknight, around dinner time. You’ve just wrapped up a long day and you still have a million things on your “to do” list that will have to wait until tomorrow.
Your family is at home, but you are hustling across town to make it to a “networking” event. You need to “show your face,” even though your gut tells you it’s going to be a waste of time.
You struggle to figure out who you should talk to, and you’re not sure if the people you do talk to are the “right” people.
You force yourself to make small talk, while inside you’re secretly screaming… and you would do anything to run far away.
Then you get stuck talking to someone who immediately launches into why you need to hire him, and you’re stuck in a sales pitch you can’t get out of. Yuck.
Or maybe you don’t mind talking to new people… but then you struggle to move from that casual conversation at a cocktail party to an actual client and actual revenue for your business.
Was it worth going to this event? Maybe one of these relationships will pan out. Maybe you’ll get a client out of it – if you’re lucky.
Let me introduce you to a MUCH better approach… one which has taken me from the White House to Hollywood to Silicon Valley and beyond…
Now, at this point you may be wondering… wait a second, did you say you worked at the White House? Like where the President lives – that White House?
If you were curious how I got that gig, you aren’t alone. It’s one of the most common questions I get.
I actually didn’t come from a well-connected family. My parents were not high-level donors. I didn’t have any Senators who were distant relatives.
In fact, for most of my life, my parents worked common, middle class jobs … my mother was a travel agent and my father a journalist.
And I was no stranger to what struggling felt like. Three separate times while I was growing up, my father got laid off. Our family struggled for months to make ends meet – my mother had to work as much as she could and we slashed expenses right and left.
Each time it happened, we had to move thousands of miles away in search of new work. Away from friends and family.
After my father got laid off when I was 13 years old, it lit a fire under me. It inspired me to study successful people to figure out what made them “tick.”
During my teenage years, I devoured biographies and autobiographies… about Presidents… Actors… Athletes… Market-leading Entrepreneurs.
What I found was that successful people – particularly seasoned entrepreneurs – all did a great job of (a) identifying who were the influencers in their field who they should build relationships with, and (2) going out and building those relationships.
They ALL knew how to identify with precision WHO they needed to develop relationships with, and then they followed through on it.
So I applied that to my life. I started focusing in on building key relationships with the right influencers and VIPs who could help me land amazing opportunities.
After I spent a semester during college as a White House intern in the speechwriting office, I returned to college with my sights set on coming back as a writer. Even though the White House takes thousands of interns per year, few of those interns end up getting hired.
So what did I do? I spent the time after returning to college continuing to deliver value to those speechwriters.
I would clip out newspaper and magazine articles and send them to the speechwriters. I would email them to ask about their interests and hobbies. I would find quotes from past speeches and mail them in. Whatever I could find to make their lives easier.
And what do you know… before long, I got an email from one of the speechwriters to tell me about the opening.
If I hadn’t clearly identified who my influencers were, picked relevant ways to keep in touch and provide value, and implemented a follow up strategy, I never would have gotten that job.
The lesson in all of this is that it’s critically important that you are clear on your goals. You need to know who your influencers are – whether they are world famous, or simply successful business owners in your local community. (If you don’t know, I can help.)
Second, you need to figure out your means of attack – what types of ways you want to deliver value. And third, you need to implement a follow up strategy.
I’ve studied the mental blocks that plague so many entrepreneurs and professionals and literally prevent them from ever establishing relationships with the key influencers and VIPs in their industries.
Even though we all are fully aware that those relationships could make a huge difference in our businesses.
These mental blocks are FAR more damaging than we would care to admit. In fact, I think they are the #1 biggest barrier holding us back.
Bigger than lack of financial resources. Bigger than having access to the right tools. Bigger than “knowing how to find an influencer’s email address.”
I’ve met people whose psychological baggage is the only thing keeping them from making more money, working with their dream clients, spending more time with family or creating a little more freedom in their life.
And I’ve found there are certain common limiting beliefs that most people share when it comes to building relationships with influencers:
We look up to some successful influencers – perhaps a business owner who has dozens of employees and a business earning multiple seven… Read more…