How can we connect with people that are influential?
According to Steven Babutsky, the co-author of The Street Smart MBA: 10 Proven Strategies for Driving Business Success (Apress, 2012), stated that most people are aware of who are the top influencers in their industry. Those exceptional and influential individuals are often the well-known authors, speakers, columnists, or successful businessmen and businesswomen.
Here are six steps to connect with influential individuals in your field, according to Babitsky.
1. Give more than what you take
Babitsky noted, “Give three things and ask for one.” When Babitsky is intrigued in making a connection with an influencer, he often determines what he can offer of value to the influencer and ask for one thing back in return. For example, if Babitsky is organizing a conference he may offer the influencer to present, or interview the person for a blog, and or website.
Do your homework first! In order to not waster their time by asking simple or petty questions, research the influencer’s previous work and interests in order to strike up a conversation of interest. Investigating and finding a common interest in order to form a connection with the influencer is critical and important when making a first impression.
3. Reach out via phone or email
Babitsky shared that reaching out to an influencer via phone and or email is a better choice than social media because it is more personal. However, do not fail to take social cues from the influencers if it seems they are more active on social media as this could be a better route for a faster response.
4. Limit the conversation
The first time you are contacting the influencer, make it short. Contain yourself from asking anything that will take more than 10 or 15 minutes. Generally, people like to help others in the same industry, yet it can be annoying to go back and forth endlessly via email, phone, or text.
5. Maintain a database
Maintain a contact list of important influential individuals and categorize the contacts related to interests. If you ever come across valuable information related to their interest, you can email it to them in order to maintain casual professional contact.
6. Give and take – not just take!
Babitsky recommends that if anyone has helped you, ask the individual if there is anything you can help them with. If not, then the mere form of asking is a relationship building strategy, displaying give and take – not just taking.