Most entrepreneurs realize that there is more they could be doing in their business, if only they had the right amount of money, clout or whatever the missing ingredient may be. Often, that missing ingredient comes down to being hooked up with the right influencers. Having the right influencers on your side can make a world of difference in being able to grow your business or, in tough economic times, at least keep it afloat.
That said, many people may not have the slightest clue about how to get in contact with the influencers that can help their business. But it may be even easier than you realize!
Here are seven ways to meet the influencers who can help to grow your business:
1. Interview them. Most people love to be interviewed and will welcome the chance to have an interview done. Gather your questions, give them a call, and ask them if you could conduct an interview or arrange a meeting with them. Chances are, they will at least consider the idea, and many times they will accept, so it never hurts to throw it out there.
2. Bring them together. Consider starting an “insiders retreat,” where you can bring them all together under one roof. You can facilitate the retreat and, at the same time, you will be learning, picking their brains, and getting your business in front of them. Be sure to take notes about each individual person. You may just learn that one likes to play tennis every Tuesday night at a nearby club. That is the sort of information that can be used later!
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3. Write it. If you have a blog, write an open letter to those individual influencers and post it to your blog. Let them know why you would like to meet them. If you are not sure whether they, or anyone they know, reads the blog, consider sending them the link, working to get it into news feeds (in case the person has an alert set up on their name), or doing something like buying Google Adwords, using their with their name as the keyword, so that the next time they Google their name (come on, who doesn’t?), they will see the ad and click through to read your blog post.
4. Go social. Use social media sites like LinkedIn or Facebook to find your connection. There are often only a few degrees of separation between you and the person you want to meet. Find out who you know that may also know the person you want to meet, and then go through them to arrange a meeting (or at least an invitation to the next party they will be attending).
5. Run into them. This is a non-creepy version of stalking. (That means do not employ the use of binoculars or camouflage paint here.) You can casually find their schedule of events and just so happen to be there. You may be able to meet up with them at events like speaking engagements, trade shows or even chamber of commerce meetings.
6. Think gift. In this type of situation, bribes do work! You can try to mail the person a gift and a thank you for how they may have indirectly influenced you (authors love this). However, do not ask them to contact you or schedule time with you. That’s when your gift becomes a bribe. Instead, just let the gift stand on its own. Many will be impressed and reach out to you.
7. Get creative. This is the time to find a creative way to get in front of the influencer. Whether you ask them to join your board of advisors, you start attending their church, or you invite them to go diving, you need to find what will work.
Making the Meeting
Every business can become more successful by meeting with the right influencers. So your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to get busy determining who those key influencers are, and what the best way to meet them is. Do that, and the rest will fall right into place!