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.


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).

Have you joined our free Connect with Anyone Insider’s Team?

If not, you can still join us by entering your email on this page.

As an Insider you’ll get early access to our flagship course next time it opens. You’ll also get these free bonus reports:

  1. The 7 Pillars of Connecting with Absolutely Anyone
  2. The Top 24 Reasons Keeping You from Making World-Class Connections
  3. Simon Sinek’s #1 Factor in Connecting with Anyone video

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This is going to be so fun!


Images credit 1 & 2

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  • Tom

    Scott, just wanted to say awesome article! I think you write some seriously great (and seriously consistent) content.

    The idea of asking for a referral is awesome – something I’ve never thought of before. It seems so obvious now when I think about it! I’ve definitely used a lot of those other techniques effectively, though.

    I’ll be going to a Seth Godin conference next month, so who knows, maybe I’ll use some of this material and make some serious connections!

    Thanks again!

    • Scott

      Thanks for this Tom. Means a lot. Seth’s event sounds awesome. Definitely try to spend some personal time with him and report back what you learn!

      • Tom

        For sure! I’ll be doing some serious note taking and I’ll definitely share the best stuff. Thanks for the reply!

  • Mark Bowness


    Fantastic content – thank you so much for sharing a great subject. I am trying to get in contact with a particular individual at the moment. Usually you can find an email or an agent, I am struggle at first base: trying to find a contact!

    As soon as I do I will set all of the above in motion.

    Thanks man, loving your site!


  • Iris

    Two questions:
    When you approach influencers, would you recommend to show vulnerability or pretend to have it all together?

    How do you contact world class people if you’re just starting out and don’t have much proof of credibility?

    I’m currently working on a huge round-up post for my blog launch. I was surprised how many of the top bloggers get back to you, even if you’re just a nobody :) Made me appreciate their work even more!


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  • Ben Fanning

    Excellent notes from the webinar yesterday, Scott! I really liked the tip on only going after interviews with people that you’re really jazzed about and passionate to meet. Your excitement and energy will come through in the interview.

  • Zuwena

    Hey Scott,

    This post is a great “party favour”. Yesterday’s webinar was awesome and you even took notes for your guests. Thank you!


  • David Siteman Garland

    Great stuff, Scott! Fantastic working with you on this to help your folks!

  • Opiyo

    Hi Scott,

    Pure gold mine! Teaching us to be sure we are passionate about our causes, be sensitive and really appreciate the causes of those we want to connect with and above all be committed to the hilt! Persistence, eh? Am rereading the whole stuff gain! Thank you for your generous spirit. I hope it rub off us too.

  • Paige | simple mindfulness

    I wasn’t able to make the webinar and soooo appreciate you giving us the highlights!

    I’ve heard that the saying “six degrees of separation” has moved to “two degrees of separation.” With social media and virtual connections, we’re all much more connected than we think.

    None of us are “nobody’s.” Everyone here (especially in this community) has something amazing going for them. Own it, be proud of it and offer it up to be of service.

    Thanks again for helping us to see what we’re truly capable of!!

  • Justin

    Hey Scott,

    Another great post man! Some of these tips are so obvious it’s sickening I didn’t think of them before. Will definitely be using them. Thanks again


  • Michael Bertrand

    After reading this I felt like a ding-dong.
    I registered for David Garland’s webinar also but when it was time to log in and learn, I opted to goof off. UGH

    Not only did I miss out on learning a bunch of neat stuff but I also missed a chance to mingle with you (I’m a loyal Live Your Legend follower!).

    Talk about being Woody Allen’s 20% of those that don’t show up…!!!

    Double UGH UGH

  • Ralph

    Starting with people you already know follows a belief that I have about improving anything in your life; start where you are with what you have. That philosophy has changed my life! Really good post!

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  • Nick

    Fantastic post! I really enjoyed the insights that you gave. I particularly liked the point about reaching out to the “warm market” first. I learnt from Dan Kennedy that some of your best customers are those that have already bought something.

  • satheesh wilson

    it is an excellent article especially i liked be genuine or stop trying!

  • Luis

    Thanks for the great info Scott. I agree with comments in # 15 and # 16 in this article. Do it because you care is really important because it shows the amount of passion or drive you have to your particular trade. And by being personal and face to face will leave a lasting impression and will more likely keep you engaged with your audience.

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  • Ray Noppe

    Hey Scott

    Just stumbled upon this great article. Some sound advice. I just have a few comments.

    4. Ask for a referral
    In my experience and getting feed back from my clients asking for an introduction works much better than asking for a referral. It is less “I want” and more personal. Plus a lot of people don’t want to make a referral as they feel they have to vouch for you. An introduction on the other hand is just that and it is then up to you to do the rest.

    16. Get as personal and face-to-face as possible
    I would add: Once you are personal, always make it about them. NOT you. Build a rapport first, when the time is right they will want to know about you and it will be so much easier to get a yes. This is why when you asked Seth Godin about using his quote he said yes. You made it about him.

    Keep up the great work.

  • Ashley ‘Darling Bonnie’ Best

    I am soooo IN! Happy to be here! Thank you for this !