11 Sep 5 Ways to Use the Internet to Build Real Connections with Impossible to Reach People
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
― Maya Angelou
**This is the first part to our “Connect with Influencers Online Series” as we get ready to open our How to Connect with Anyone course in a few weeks.
Connection Comes from Action…
I’m keeping this post intentionally short (at least for me) – first off because I have to get back to work finishing up the course, and more importantly because connection does not come from reading – it comes from making contact. When in doubt, get out there, say hello and add some value! We’ll cover plenty more details in our connecting course (join our pre-launch Insider’s Team here).
Now on to making big-time online connections…
Making connections is easier than most think.
I don’t care if you’re looking to meet a friend, business partner, wife, Warren Buffet or any top influencer in your industry, it all comes back to the same concept…
Making. Peoples’. Lives. Better.
If you spend your life thinking about how to bring the people around you (or the people you want to be around) up to a new level, making the world-changing connections will never be an issue.
This can be done a million ways – from promoting their work, to helping their child get a job or simply providing that unbeatable feeling of giver’s high.
Connecting is not about you, it’s about them.
So why is it that so many people get this wrong – in every form of relationship? It doesn’t get any more basic!
If you’re trying to connect just to make yourself better, you’ll get nowhere. I get hundreds of emails a week from people hoping to connect. While I love getting these personal notes, the tough thing is that over 99% of them try to push their newest product or site – before I even know who they are. Not the best first impression…
If you want someone to become a part of your life badly enough, then you’ll care enough to do something for them.
From 1,000,000 names to a Memorable Face…
When it comes to connecting with well-known, uber-busy influencers (who get enough phone calls and emails to blow up a small laptop), standing out is the name of the game. So the more creative you can get the better.
The more you know about someone, the more meaningful you can make the conversation and your offer to help. Knowing about them is your job – not to manipulate, but to have a chance at actually helping. Because adding unique value is all that matters.
We’ll get into the details in Connect with Anyone, but for now realize it’s on you to know all you can about someone before you even think about reaching out. There is no excuse for not doing your research. I spend 15-30 minutes (if not a ton more) looking someone up before any meeting, call or attempt to connect.
You must care enough to learn about their world.
Now that the ground rules have been laid out, let’s get down to practical application…
While the most powerful connecting often happens in the flesh and blood, the online world allows us to reach people who would often be otherwise untouchable. It also gives us a way to put our best foot forward without the fear of being on the spot at some event when we happen to swallow our tongue right when it’s time to shine – a nice bonus for the introvert in all of us.
The below steps are intentionally simple- and they’ve worked wonders in getting in touch with everyone from Tony Robbins to Warren Buffett. Apply them one by one or combine them to really get crazy…
5 Proven Ways to Use the Internet to Connect with Top Influencers
1. Do Something Bigger than Yourself
Being selfish is the easiest way to turn someone off. That’s obvious. But nothing connects better than being selfless. So how can you make this not about you?
What cause can you support? What charity can you get behind? Could you go on some epic quest to bike across Africa to help struggling women in Kenya, or turn a 29th birthday into raising $29,000 through a blowout San Francisco Charity Water fundraiser (I’ll be at Sarah’s party next week btw!). Everyone likes to help out a good cause – especially if it’s in line with their values and beliefs.
Whatever cause you’re passionate about, figure out a way to support it in a bigger way – then reach out to the influencers who’d be proud to be a part of it. Remember, it’s not about you – it’s about them, the cause and the awesome feeling of being a part of something much bigger than any one person.
One inspiring example is Natalie Sisson’s $100 Change – she took her World Domination Summit $100 and has brought 100 world-changers together to create thousands of dollars of scholarships & tools to help people create their own businesses and pursue dreams. The people she’s gotten involved are unreal! Natalie takes “bigger than yourself” to a whole new level…check the details or get involved here.
2. Create Something Useful for Them
What can you create that will genuinely help them solve a problem? Busy bloggers and authors are constantly looking for new content (as long as it is rockstar quality and a perfect fit with their audience and what they’re working on). Do not just lob an article or idea over email. Do your research to know exactly what they need. Then bust your ass to create it.
Share whatever skill you have. This might mean providing a snippet of code you wrote to make a part of their site work better, unique photos they could use in upcoming posts or some design expertise. I’ve even had a reader offer to make my niece a handmade doll (which I of course took her up on). Other ideas include proofreading, setting up a social network for their community (thanks for the offer Paige!) or providing personal tips for their upcoming trip to Turkey – all things you guys have kindly offered!
We all want help but you need to make it very clear and specific how you can help. Ideally do the work before you even reach out – to show you mean business. David and I will talk a lot about this in next week’s online class [update: see the full write up from the event].
3. Ask for Help
People love helping others with things they’re good at. Especially if it’s specific and easy. Giver’s High is amazing. And as it turns out, Stanford studies (and many others) prove that when we do things for others, we form a more positive impression and connection with them (even more so than when others do things for us). Our beliefs follow our actions, not the other way around. It falls under the psychological theory of cognitive dissonance, and more colloquially referred to as the Benjamin Franklin Effect since this was Franklin’s favorite way of getting influencer’s in his corner.
But don’t ask something you could have easily spent two minutes finding the answer online or in one of their books. Make it simple, specific, quick and unique to them. If they’re a brilliant copywriter and constantly stress the importance of powerful headlines, then write a two sentence note asking for a one minute favor to help pick between two options, and let them know how much you respect their expertise. You don’t want to be needy or that pain in the ass who oversteps his bounds, but the more meaningful the request the better. Proper judgment + creativity should do the trick.
4. Hire Them
This is the ultimate win/win and the simplest and most effective of all – assuming you can afford it ;). Although if you want them a part of your life so badly, it’s probably some of the best money you could spend. The second you turn from a fan to a customer, your relationship transforms. Even the people I’ve only coached for one or two sessions still get a much faster and more detailed response from me than anyone else, even years after the session. And if they’re in town I’m happy to grab lunch or tea with them simply because I know them on a deeper level.
Attend their event, buy their course or hire them as a coach. Whatever you can do to take it deeper.
5. Host Video Interviews (& promote them in any other way possible!)
This is by far the most personal and powerful tactic I’ve seen. Everyone wants their name and ideas in front of new eyeballs. Even two-time NYT best-sellers like Tim Ferriss ask their audience to do interviews prior to a big launch. No one is above some nice publicity.
While linking and sharing their work like it’s your full-time job (and letting them know about it in a gracious way) should always be common practice, hosting them as guests on a video interview show takes the connection to an entirely different level.
Spending 10-30 minutes face-to-face makes you memorable. Simple as that.
How do you treat your friends?
There are countless ways to connect and stand out online and off, but they all come back to the same thing…
When trying to figure out how to connect with someone, just ask yourself: “How would I treat this person if they were a close friend or someone I wanted to be a close friend?”
People are people. No matter what societal level they’re on – they all need help and they all want to be helped.
You don’t constantly push ideas and pitch products to your friends. Not even close. You listen to them, you help them, you make time to learn about what matters to them so you can do your part to make their life better.
It all comes back to making friends. Simple as that.
I connect because I love meeting people. I love making friends. I love helping people. I love trading ideas.
If that’s not your motive, then stop trying.
People are people.
Treat them that way.
Now go get out and help someone!
P.S. This is just one of dozens of topics we cover in our flagship How to Connect with Anyone course. We only open it every six months to a very limited number of people. You can learn more or get on the Insider’s early access list here.
Photo 1 credit and, Photo 2 courtesy of my good (and very talented) friend James Clear
IzzyPosted at 22:12h, 11 September
It is amazing to me how these principles are timeless and the same no matter who a person is.
It transcends culture as well. I have been trying to adjust my style to learn how to better connect with people here in Japan. One of the challenges I have faced is that I love to ask people questions. In America this works wonderfully as people like to talk about themselves (and I like listening). But in Japan this is often considered rude and invasive.
I didn’t even realize I was being rude until I was asked “Why do you ask so many questions?” Then it all clicked.
But the concepts you put forth are no different still. I simply have to take a different approach at getting to know people. It takes a little longer and I have to listen to conversation more closely. Which I enjoy :).
As I get to know people more closely then I am better able to identify how I can truly help them.
Brendan BakerPosted at 22:14h, 11 September
Absolutely love this… some really good insights into how to connect with anyone.
Do you find that asking for help gets you answers? I’m assuming a definite yes seeings how you wrote it here! However, there have been many things that I have considered asking a professional or expert but never did, only for the reason that I percieved them to be too busy!
Definitely a perception changer… thanks for this!
ScottPosted at 22:40h, 11 September
The funny thing Brendan is that is the only way to be 100% sure they don’t respond – if you never ask ;). You’d be surprised how many people believe the same and never actually reach out. Be the guy who picks up the phone and calls them up to ask something. Few people ever do…
SahilPosted at 22:28h, 11 September
Great article, and I guess my emails need some work if I am going to get through to you. Thanks for these tips as they were a useful reminder, especially about adding value to the people you’re trying to connect with and treating them like friends. In that line of thinking, just want to point out a small editing point:
“Spending 10-30 minutes face-to-face makes you memorable. Simple as that.
I don’t believe anyone on the Interent (SHOULD BE: Internet) has done this better than my good friend David Siteman Garland of The Rise To The Top.”
I got your back! Keep doing great things!
ScottPosted at 22:38h, 11 September
Thanks Sahil- just fixed it!
JoPosted at 04:04h, 12 September
I think Brendan has said what a lot of us feel – that we’re worried the people we want to connect with are too busy and important. Although that’s kind of considerate, it does you no favours and it might mean that the person you’re trying to connect with misses out on a great opportunity, all because you didn’t dare contact them.
Over the last few months I’ve started learning that connecting with people is way easier than I’ve always thought – mostly online but also offline. The biggest hurdle is just to go for it.
And I’m glad to see that I’m already doing a few of your suggestions!
SholaPosted at 06:04h, 12 September
Hey Scott, this is great stuff man. Just like Izzy said above in his comment, these principles are absolutely timeless. My mentor once told me that to have more of what you want, you must help more people to get what they want. The key is to do it sincerely–if you’re only helping others just to eventually get something in return down the road, then the point is completely missed.
Most important is the point that you made in the beginning of the post. Making connections is all about one thing: Making. Peoples’. Lives. Better. I’m brand new to the blogging game and that’s exactly what my blog is about. Life is all about working to make the world in a better shape than we found it, and the quickest way to do that is by making genuine, meaningful connections with others. I’m convinced of this.
On a highly disappointing note, I was just about to register for David’s webinar, and I noticed that the timing is EXACTLY when I’m going to be on a plane flying cross-country to attend a conference. Damn! I’m sure that it will be awesome, and I’ll be looking forward to the next one. Keep up the great work.
Ambassador BrunyPosted at 14:44h, 17 September
Speaking of being helpful; you may find this article helpful as you head to your conference. http://bit.ly/confquestions
David Siteman GarlandPosted at 07:42h, 12 September
This is going to be great. Can’t wait to help your peeps on the webinar 🙂
ScottPosted at 10:04h, 12 September
Neither can I David. Going to be so fun!!
Paige | simple mindfulnessPosted at 15:26h, 12 September
With regard to Brendan’s comment and your response, I’ve definitely found that people are incredibly responsive online – especially when you’re trying to help them. When I’ve offered helpful ideas or asked questions of “A-Listers” I almost always receive a quick response.
Like you’re saying Scott, it feels good to help others. Lately I’ve been going to networking events for startup’s. I love meeting the people there, hearing about their ideas and figuring out how I can help. Whether it’s help with finances (I’m a CFO), marketing, strategy or other random interests I have (like knowing which local, eco-friendly brewery and organic farm to refer an entrepreneur to for advice on creating a sustainable brewery), I love doing this!
I also love opening people’s minds to new ways of living and earning that society doesn’t teach. LYL is one of the top spots I send them for new ideas and a great community to become a part of. Your new series of spotlighting what others here are doing is a huge help in getting others to see what’s possible.
Scott – Keep rockin’ our worlds and showing us how possible the impossible really is!
CamPosted at 19:23h, 12 September
Helping people out works super well. Recently I offered a big time entrepreneur I wanted to connect with free help and at first he kind of brushed me off saying their wasn’t a task for me, but when I persisted and told him to find one and that I was serious about it he came back to me later with an opportunity. Now I have a direct line of communication with him and I will be able to continue building a relationship in the future. The concept of giving value freely always works wonders.
Thanks for the other tips you posted, this is an area I’m working hard on!
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Ambassador BrunyPosted at 14:51h, 17 September
Great post Scott. I’ve seen #2 work wonders on a number of occasions including one where I went to a play a co-worker was in, because I really wanted to see the play. Sense I was the only one from the office who went, our relationship totally changed. She used to be so mean to be, but after that night things were totally different. The lesson I learned was around support people’s extra curricular activities.
#4 is one that I’ve recently discovered after taking a few courses with a particular leader. It gave me an unexpected opportunity to leverage my community building skills to make the class and community more lively. I was basically being of service to the instructor which lead to a better relationship.
Keep the good stuff coming Scott.
As it should be,
4 Actions You Can Take Today to Kill Your Fear | Conquer the EdgePosted at 09:58h, 19 September
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Jeff BronsonPosted at 12:59h, 21 September
These are all fantastic points Scott.
All the concepts mentioned translate to social media etiquette as well.
Nobody cares about you, until you show how much you care!
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