You know how they say that something is a “relationship business”? For example, “Insurance is a relationship business.”
Those people are wrong. Every business is a relationship business.
Nobody can go it alone. Making connections with the right people could mean the difference between doing a million per year in revenue… or a hundred million.
But you know that already. You’re out there, reaching out to influential people in your industry, trying to create valuable partnerships, learn from them, or simply make friends.
On the way, you could be making mistakes… Mistakes that make your favorite experts and VIPs think twice about doing business with you.
In today’s post, we’ll examine these egregious errors, and reveal how you can avoid them to create strong, authentic relationships with influencers in your industry. Let’s go!
Mistake #1. You take forever to convey your point
“I need to make sure this busy person likes me – I’d better send them an email the size of Texas!” said no one ever. Long-winded emails aren’t OK even if you’re writing to a friend, let alone somebody who’s never heard of you before. So why do it?
How to fix it: Every time you send an email to a busy VIP, ask yourself, “Can I convey the same message in half as many words?” Usually, the answer is yes. Cut your email down, ask the question again – if it’s “No”, you’re free to send it out!
Mistake #2. Your emails are generic, not bespoke
If there’s one thing busy people hate, it’s getting generic one-size-fits-all emails with zero effort behind them. From awful PR pitches that open with “Dear Blogger” to cold business emails that say “Dear Sir or Madam”, cookie-cutter messages are everywhere.
How to fix it: Make sure you know the first name of the person you’re writing to (obvious, isn’t it?). Make the first sentence, or first paragraph of your message something highly relevant to the recipient. For example, you can always reference a recent talk they gave, or an article they published, and your #1 takeaway from it. Personalization goes a long way – it gives you a foot in the door.
Mistake #3. You’re not addressing “The Question”
The question is, “What’s in it for me?” Don’t forget, you’re trying to attract the attention of a busy person. To get a response, you need to stoke their curiosity or promise a valuable outcome – that’s how you can communicate that you’re worth their attention.
How to fix it: There’s always a way to make an interaction interesting and / or valuable for the other party. Maybe you’re writing a blog post that their audience will dig. Perhaps you’ve discovered something useful that will help the influencer’s business. Bottom line is, you have to find a uniquely valuable angle, and highlight it before making a request.
Mistake #4. You don’t follow up enough
“I’ve sent an email to an influencer, and they haven’t replied within 10 minutes… Something must have gone horribly wrong!” Sometimes your message is buried in a VIPs inbox – these things happen. If you fail to plan for it, you will spend far too much time freaking out, instead of doing something useful.
How to fix it: Follow up twice. First time, send a simple email with the subject line “Did you miss it?” – explain that you’ve written to them before, and include your previous message. Second time, recap the contents of your first email and ask the influencer to get back to you. A harsh reply is better than no reply, so don’t be afraid to push it a little bit.
Mistake #5. You only use one line of communication
As effective as it can be, at the end of the day email is just one way to reach somebody. It can, and will, fail you. Messages will get lost amid hundreds of others, you will forget to follow up, people will forget to respond, letters will be mislabeled as spam… If you’ve sent an email, and the only answer was crickets, it may be time to change the tactics.
How to fix it: Find the social media or online communities in which your influencer is active, and try to reach them there. A tweet will force you to convey your message as directly as possible; an InMail will ensure that the influencer will see it and respond (otherwise you’ll get your InMail credit back) – sometimes alternative channels will do what traditional lines of communication can’t!
From sharing your content to unlocking new markets, influencers can make a tremendous difference in your business… provided you reach out to them the right way, that is. We sincerely hope that today’s post will take your relationship-building game to the next level, and help you connect with more influential people in your industry, faster.
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