Mark Cuban in the early days
As a millennial, having the opportunity to connect with influential people can be an incredible experience. Though meeting may be a sweat inducing encounter, you never know where it will lead if you make the most of it.
When I was first starting my watch company, Yes Man, I was luckily enough to land a meeting with Andy Laats, the founder of Nixon watches. I had always wanted to meet Andy, yet thought a man at his C-level position was way out of my league. After some research, I realized Andy was on the board of advisors at my university. One email lead to the next and by utilizing my university’s network, I landed a meeting.
Influential people are often easier to reach than you may think. Everyone likes to feel valuable and reaching out to influencers creates that sense of appreciation. Here are four ways to connect with anyone you want:
Ask For Advice
One of the best ways to build a relationship is to ask for advice. Though this may seem unconventional, if you’re connecting with an entrepreneur or someone you look up to, asking to understand how they got to where they’re at is a great starting conversation. Make your questions straightforward and easy to answer, as out of the blue questions may be trashed.
My main reason for connecting with Andy Laats at Nixon was to understand how he started and grew his company. I strive to scale Yes Man in a similar fashion and see Nixon as an awesome company to look up to.
Admire Their Story
Entrepreneurs, artists, photographers, and more, all like to hear about people appreciating their work. By reaching out of respect for one’s work, the likelihood of a response is much higher. From there you can go on and ask them additional questions that may build on your relationship.
As an example, I recently connected with Jonathan Sebastiani out of my love for Krave, the beef jerky company he started six years ago. I admire the taste of their jerky and branding behind their product. My short message to him, stated how his story was inspiring and how I enjoyed eating Krave beef jerky.
Utilize a Network
This is one of the most overlooked ways to connection with someone influential, as influential people are also tied to others as well. Think friends from high school, college roommates, or even neighborhood friends. Most entrepreneurs, actors, and artists, didn’t start their careers as a superstar. If you know how someone became influential, you may see a relationship from your university or hometown that you could utilize to connect with them.
Attend an Event
Influential people are often around us without us even noticing. Attending major tradeshows or conventions is usually a neat way to get in-front of people you otherwise would have never met. For example, when I attended Magic, a major tradeshow for brands and retailers, I ended up meeting the founder of Toms. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I spoke with him for a few minutes and even exchanged business cards. By putting yourself in the right places, your chances of meeting influential people is much higher.
As the world becomes more and more connected, building your network will becoming easier. People you wouldn’t have known or interacted with before will continue to be your friend on Facebook and follow you on Instagram. Influencers are among us and if you want to meet them, you better seek them out. Everyone’s time is limited so be sure to make this connection count.