When I coach people on achieving their goals, they often tell me they want to be the best in the world at X.
They want to be the number 1 man or woman in that space.
So I ask them who is currently number 1 (or in the top 5) in that space.
A handful know the number 1 person.
Even less know the top 10 or 20 key influencers in their industry.
They should know those people.
In my opinion this is the equivalent of a pro boxer not knowing who the champ is.
If you want to be at the top, you surely have to know who the current best are.
They’ve already tread the path you want to.
They’ve figured it all out.
Why would you try and reinvent the wheel?
Go find these people and speak to them.
Ask them how they did it.
Then go do that.
So here’s how you can find out who the key people are:
- Who is featured in industry magazines?
- Who speaks at industry events?
- Who are YOU learning from in that industry?
- If you ask others in the industry who
- And once you meet with some of these people, ask those people too (they’ll definitely know)
Once you’ve shortlisted a bunch of key people, we want to meet them.
Here are some ways I’ve been able to meet with them:
- Go to industry event > introduce myself to them on the break > build genuine rapport (aka don’t be a needy asshole) > follow up via email to catch up for coffee > add value 3 or 4 times and expect nothing in return
- After doing 1. enough times you can get warm introduction from one influencer to another. (Don’t rush this, if you are in doubt to whether it’s too soon – it’s too soon)
- Connect via LinkedIn using a polite, custom-written connection request > Wait 3-4 days and shoot them a sincere private message saying you respect their accomplishments (because you do) and that you’d be grateful to catch up briefly over coffee or on the phone
- Follow them on social media > Retweet their stuff > Comment on their blogs with insightful comments > Tweet them for coffee or comment on their blog saying you’d love to catch up to get their advice
- Look for a contact email address / phone number on their website and reach out
The above things are really basic and so easy to do – most people just don’t end up doing it.
They assume they wouldn’t have time for you, they don’t want to meet you, or some other stuff.
It’s not your job to assume that – if they can’t meet they’ll let you know.
My goal is always to get a yes or no.
I’m not offended if they don’t want to meet.
I’ve always been surprised with how easy it is to get through to key people with a little bit of persistence and good manners.
I’ve intentionally not supplied ‘scripting’ for these emails / tweets etc.
Keep it simple, show that you respect their accomplishments and would be grateful for a fixed amount of their time if available.
These people can shorten your learning curve dramatically if you actually make the effort to contact them.
So what’s the next step?
Reach out to one person you admire in your industry in the next 24 hours.
Let me know how you go.