How to Get Influencers to Say Yes to Your Ideas (The 16 Laws You’re Probably Not Following)

Written by Scott September 19, 2012

get influencers to say yes

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

~ Woody Allen

**Important Note: This is the second part to our “Connect with Influencers Online Series” as we get ready to launch the How to Connect with Anyone course in a few weeks. 

For those of you not a part of our pre-launch Insider’s Team, you can still join us and get early access, plus the special report on The 7 Pillars of Connecting with Anyone. The course will only be available to the first 250 people, and our Insider’s Team will get first dibs (before it’s announced on LYL next month). You can join us by entering your email on this page.

Now, back to connecting…

Getting Influencers to Say Yes to Your Ideas

Wow! I just got off an insane two-hour webinar with David Siteman Garland of The Rise To The Top. That guy has so much damn energy!

The topic at hand was how to Build Genuine Relationships with Online Influencers Over the Web, and there’s no one who’s taught me more in the space than David. My ten pages of notes proves just how much I still have to learn ;).

The guy has befriended and interviewed over 300 of some of the biggest and most influential people in just about every industry – from Seth Godin, Tony Hsieh and Tim Ferriss, to professional wrestlers and bikini champions.

He’s a master at building fast rapport and getting in touch with the ‘untouchables’.

The wild thing is that four years ago he knew no one.

Now he knows the best of the best, his interviews have gotten over 6m views and he’s built an awesome multiple-six-figure lifestyle business – just by reaching out, helping and interviewing folks.

He shared his step-by-step approach for making these world-class connections as well as a lot of things he usually only covers in his Create Awesome Interviews course – I’m grateful!

Thanks to the few hundred of you who joined us live. For the rest of you, I wrote up the best of the best of my notes below.

Unfortunately we won’t have a recording of it, but this should be WAY more efficient anyway!

So let’s get to it…

No matter the medium, people are people

While David’s presentation and business revolve around making connections using online video, realize that whether you are trying to make friends in your hometown, befriend the business owner down the street, or get an email response from Warren Buffett, it’s all the same.

People are people. This stuff is universal.

Be genuine or stop trying.

The below techniques work wonders in actually getting influencers in your corner, but that’s only the case if you actually care about them, want to help and have genuine interest in making them a part of your life. If you don’t, then stop trying and please please don’t use the below as a selfish ploy to clamor to the top. It won’t work and you’ll look like an asshole.

Ok, you’ve been warned ;)

The 16 Laws to Getting Influencers to Say Yes to Your Ideas

1. Look sharp – inside and out. This goes for your website design, how you dress, your business card or whatever – if it represents you, be sure you’re proud of it. There’s a reason why studies have proven that people will follow a man in a suit as he jaywalks across a street much more often than they will a guy in a tattered pair of shorts. I’m not saying dress like a banker – in fact don’t do that. Just have some internal and external self respect.

2. Be credible, believable and trustworthy. Hang around people you’re proud of. Do things you’re proud of. The first thing everyone does when they get an email or request from a stranger is Google them to check out your site and work. Who have you worked with? What do you stand for? This is a quick make or break. A good image and right people in your corner screams credibility. For most of us this means a website that looks like we actually give a sh*t about what we’re doing. David has absolutely nailed this over the past few years with his interview show.

You’re either seen as an “up and comer” or as “amateur hour”. There is no middle ground. You decide. 

3. Start with the people you already know. There are cold contacts (who you don’t know and don’t know you) and there are warm ones. Start with those you have some connection to. Friends, friends of friends, family friends, professors, local business owners, past employers – whoever you can. Meet with them first. Practice and build up your confidence, story and style with those you’re comfortable with before going big time.

David’s first interview was a local bar owner friend of his, and Larry King did his first 100+ interviews/meetings by sitting at the local diner and asking to interview anyone who came through the door. This also helps build up your “Credibility Portfolio” so the cold contacts can see who you’ve been associating with. Starting warm is HUGE. Especially for confidence building. We talk about this a lot in Connect with Anyone.

4. Ask for a referral. This is what starts to get you in front of a lot of interesting people. Never leave an interaction without getting the name of one person they think you should meet. Be specific about what you’re looking for. If you say “If you know anyone else I should meet with, let me know…” or “could you help help me come up with 10 other people to meet,” you’ll get nowhere. Only ask for one. Two at the max. No more. Soon enough you’ll have more contacts than you know what to do with. Btw, nothing screams credibility and trust louder than a trusted friend recommending you. Pure gold.

5. Leverage the “Give Back Factor”. Carol Roth, bestselling author of The Entrepreneur Equation, says there are three types of inquiries she says yes to: From big media, friends and random people she feels are actually out to make a difference. Successful people (or anyone) can tell in a heartbeat if you’re out to make the world better or if you’re just looking to selfishly get ahead. Be the person who is out to make a difference and people above you will want to give back & support your cause.

6. Make contact & be everywhere. Reach out on all platforms. Start with their personal website, even if it’s just a contact form. That’s how David reached FUBU founder and ABC Shark Tank star Daymond John. Reach out on all social media platforms. Your name starts to stand out and it shows you care. Facebook messages sometimes work better than email – a little less businessy. But do them all.

If you don’t have their email then send a Tweet like this “Congrats on what you’ve built. I’d love to [have you on my show–insert your own benefit driven request]. What’s the best email to contact you?” People respond more than you’d think – as long as you don’t talk yourself out of sending the first message! And don’t forget the phone. Most are too scared to call. Be the one willing to dial it up old school.

7. Get advanced. Use the free service HARO (Help a Reporter Out) as the reporter to find experts, use paid services like WhoRepresents?com and IMDbPro to get in touch with publicists of the uber famous.

help someone

8. Befriend their assistant. The assistant is the ultimate gatekeeper. No calendar is impossible to get on if the righthand man or woman likes you. I’ve gotten to know Warren Buffett’s assistant Debbie pretty well over the years ;).

9. Send the all too rare hand-written letter. People love getting mail. And a nice card stands out WAY better than a clever email subject line among hundreds of others. Buy a pack of fifty personal stationary cards and start sending. Response rates are often much higher than electronic.

10. Nail the timing. Time your request with their book, product, movie or season launch and help them get the word out. People love being promoted. Timing is everything. That’s how David got Seth Godin on his show – twice. In the heart of two book launches.

11. Make it easy. Don’t ask for some huge response. Give them a prepaid addressed envelope to respond to you and maybe even throw in a two-dollar bill (the added smile and reciprocity might help), or a simple question to answer. I once wanted a response from Seth Godin for a post. He said he was too busy. So instead I found my favorite quote of his, sent it back to him, and asked if I could use it. He had enough time to say yes. This is why interviews are so powerful. All they have to do is show up in front of a webcam for 20-30 minutes. No prep. No extra time. Don’t make ‘em work. Instead, throw a party!

12. Brevity wins. Max 5-10 line email to get your point across- ideally much less. Don’t over-explain or build yourself up too much. Just offer value. Btw, as part of David’s Create Awesome Interviews course, he has the exact email templates and scripts he uses to land the biggest guests. No sense in reinventing the wheel. Oh and if you can’t tell, I’m still working on my brevity – Do as I say not as I do :).

13. Follow up. Don’t confuse ‘not now’ with ‘no’. People are busy. If you care enough you will follow up. It took David 2.5 yrs to interview Tim Ferriss. Every time his assistant told him to check back in six months, he’d set a calendar reminder to follow up exactly then. Who does that?

14. Deliver. Do what you say. Deliver on time. Don’t wait six months to publish an interview, guest post or send a gift. Do it today or latest next week.

15. Do it because you care. Don’t publish their ideas and beg for them to promote and share it (never once in 300+ interviews has David asked that they promote his work). You did this to help them, not you. Act like it. The favor almost always comes full circle.

And most importantly…

16. Get as personal and face-to-face as possible

This trumps everything. The more in the flesh and emotional your means of making contact, the more impactful and memorable you are. If you know your idol will be speaking in town, bust your ass to show up, say hi and offer value in person (ideally before he gets on stage). If you can’t get in person, then do the next best thing in the virtual world.

That is why David has focused his entire business around video interviews. Aside from being in the same room, there is no more raw, personal, humanizing or emotional way to connect. I just watched a TED Talk where Chris Andersen, head of TED, mentioned that within a few years 90% of the Internet’s bandwidth will be video.

Online video is changing the way the world interacts and learns, and is transforming the level on which we connect. This is huge.

There is simply no more powerful way to create a virtual and visceral bond.

If you’re not doing it, it’s time to start.

But what about all the details?

The above tactics work. But there a lot of details, scripts and steps that come with honest online connecting, especially via video interviews. Enough to fill a post 100x this long.

The good news is that David spent the last six months codifying his entire process into a course called Create Awesome Interviews.

But he is also one of our Experts for How to Connect with Anyone. Any you will be able to access to ton of his tools via our upcoming course. You can sign up for our pre-launch Insider’s Team here.

The people in my world have changed everything

I would be nowhere without them. Without you guys.

Our environment is one of the few things we have control over. We must control it.

We know how important this stuff is.

Either you decide to surround yourself with the right people or you don’t. But it’s on you.

All it takes is deciding to reach out and offer some value.

Interviews and promoting others’ work gives you an incredibly easy way to reach out to the people you used to tell yourself were out of your league, and have the confidence that you can actually do something for them. With that confidence, crazy things start to happen.

But to be honest, I don’t care how you decide to reach out and help those you want in your corner.

All I care about is that you reach out.

No more excuses about being in the wrong place, having nothing to offer or not being capable enough.

Stop over-thinking it.

There is only one best time to create your community.

I’m pretty sure you know when.

-Scott

P.S. Keep an eye out next week for another powerful tool on making connections in your hometown. Man, this stuff is so fun!

P.P.S. And David, thanks for doing what you do. You’ve provided a lot of value for us all this week (and the years leading up to it).

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This is going to be so fun!

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