So you’ve got a purpose, an outcome, an idea or dream that you’re chasing and you’ve realised there are others who have accomplished that which you’re after. You may even know that if you could pick their brains for a short period of time their insight could fast track your results. It’s often been stated that “Your network is equal to your net worth” but how do you build it? How do you connect with successful individuals in a manner that causes them to respond favorably? It’s simpler than you may think.
How To Get A Response From Highly Successful People
With the increased levels of connectivity via social media and professional networks via LinkedIn, most anyone is contactable these days. But not everyone is accessible. So how do you reach out to them when you haven’t been introduced? And how do you ensure that when you do they won’t just simply dismiss you? Before you decide to pick up the phone, email, or connect online here are a few tips that can help getting you over the line.
Leveraging the 3 Unconscious Desires
- All individuals have 3 unconscious desires they’re looking to satisfy with every interaction. The first of which is Significance. Now significance can be met both resourcefully and unresourcefully. Unresourcefully meeting significance comes across as pandering to ego or groveling. Resourcefully meeting significance on the other hand helps build trust.
Doing some research around the person your connecting with and beginning your communication with some interesting facts around what they’ve accomplished and how that has challenged your thinking is a great start. You can do this by incorporating their message and giving credit to them on your social posts.For example, the use of @ & name on Facebook or Twitter is a sure fire way to grab attention, e.g. @john sader on Facebook would tag me in your post, even if we don’t share the same network of people.
Remember, everyone wants to know more about themselves and the most interesting subject on the planet is “you” so this technique serves well in catching people’s attention.
- The second unconscious desire is Belonging. You may have heard the notion that “like attracts like”, well when it comes to connecting with successful people it’s absolutely true. The way you represent yourself has to be congruent with who it is they are.
Do your homework and find out what interests they have, which professional bodies they’re a part of etc. then ask yourself the question who do you need to be in order to match. That’s not saying you have to have a certain title or income, it’s the thinking that matters.
You may choose to follow the same people, organisations or join the same groups. That way you’ll be able to determine what values are present and what the underlying messages/themes are. You can then use that information to craft your communication and play to their interest.
It’s worthwhile remembering that successful people see things with the long term in mind. They have clear purpose wherever they go. If you align your purpose with theirs you’ll be one step closer again.
- The third unconscious desire is Contribution. Put simply nobody likes someone whose intention is set on what they can get. Everyone on the other hand appreciates when somebody shows good faith by giving. So before you ask for anything, first figure out what you have to offer.
You can do this by determining where you are able to assist, be it personally or through your extended network and offer this. Professor Robert Cialdini wrote in his book “Influence – The Science of Persuasion” about a cognitive bias known as “The Law of Reciprocity”. What’s powerful about this is that when you give something to another person, they have a sense of indebtedness which they feel compelled to repay you regardless how small the act.
So follow the golden rule, “Give that you may receive” and you’ll reap the rewards.
Leveraging cognitive biases
So you’ve made contact with them but now what? Is now a good time to pitch? Is now a good time to ask for their help? Not quite.
People do business with those they know, like and trust. And if there ever was a way to generate a feeling of knowing and trust at first sight, social media has the ability to do just that.
The quality of the pre-work you do will determine how successful you are at accomplishing your objective to connect with successful people.
Let’s look at 2 further principles Professor Cialdini discovered.
- The law of Consistency& Commitment. If you think about your last major decision, chances are you likely had certain criteria that needed to be met. It’s also highly probable that the consistent presence of those criteria confirmed the way forward.
The same is true when reaching out to successful individuals. If you know who it is you’d like to contact begin by building a back catalogue of posts around what’s important to them (not necessarily you). This is known as matching your message to your avatar. This will work to quickly confirm that they’ve made the right decision in saying yes to you and that the relationship can proceed.
Ensure that you are also consistent in providing relevant daily posts & updates so that you stay in the forefront of their minds. Through this one act you can quickly build credibility, which goes a long way in fostering a deeper relationship.
- The law of Social Proof. If you look at how our decisions are swayed, we often look for reference points of success through others experiences. For example, if a friend of yours recommends a particular brand of shoe, the likelihood is that you’ll take a favorable position towards that brand than the brand the salesperson recommends.
This is because when someone we know, like or trust recommends something we believe that there is less of a chance that we will make a mistake if we go with their recommendation. But we don’t always have a friendly voice making the recommendation and that’s when we turn to the masses. The same can be true of successful people.
Nowadays with social media it’s easy to swing the balance in your favor. For example, we quickly conclude that if a post has several “Likes” to it, there’s merit in what’s communicated, even if we’re indifferent to the message.
If you want to drive engagement to a post, tag people who know you and would find value in what you’ve shared via a comment inviting them to like, comment or share. They’ll be more likely to “Like” a post directed at them than not.
Then tag in the person who you’re building the relationship with via a question such as, “Hey @john sader, just wondering what you’re thoughts are around xyz?” When you receive a reply ensure you thank and like their response. Make sure you’re always on message, that you don’t abuse this technique and this form of social proofwill work to further deepen your position as a trusted partner.
Now that you have a game plan that builds relationship, adds value and provides a platform for communication to flow you’re ready to go. If you make the most of these techniques to not only contact successful people but also foster the relationship,eventually when you ask for their insight or assistance they’ll be more likely to make themselves available.
Wishing you all the very best in your endeavors.