“I see you having interviews with lots of celebrities. These are not people I ordinarily run into. If I’m looking to elevate my game and build relationships with successful people, how would you suggest that I go about connecting with those people?”
That’s a great question. The first thing I’ll tell you is that it doesn’t happen overnight. I’m not out there networking, I’m relationship building. There’s a huge difference between those two. Networking has a utilitarian feel to it. You should be not out there to use people. I don’t know anybody who likes to be used.
For example, if you meet somebody famous and you immediately ask to take a picture with them, you asking to use their fame and celebrity to somehow elevate your status. They might be gracious enough to say yes to that request, but you’ve immediately started the relationship with them by telling them that you intend to use them. That’s not a good start to the relationship.
When I meet someone, regardless of their social or financial position in life, I approach them the same way. I get to know them. I get into conversation with them about real life. I approach them on a human level. I look for ways to add value to them immediately. It doesn’t have to be anything huge. It starts with finding interests in common. One of the simplest and easiest ways to add value is to make introductions that could be helpful for them.
Now many of you might be thinking. Wait a minute, how do you even get to meet them? I don’t even know of opportunities to meet celebrities.
This takes a bit of intentional work. I’m going to give you our listeners a bit of homework that is normally reserved for my consulting clients. This is a very powerful exercise that ultimately over an extended period of time will result in new opportunities. So here’s the exercise.
I want you to brainstorm a list of 50 names of people you would like to develop relationships with. Some of them can be big names. You could put politicians on your list. You could put celebrities on your list. You could put high net worth individuals on your list. But remember, your goal is to develop relationships with them. You’re not there to use them. If you’re just creating a list of people you’re going to get selfies with, then please don’t do the exercise.
What will happen is that the opportunities to connect with people that were present all along will start to come into focus and become visible to you. Your goal is to contribute something to them that would be valuable to them. If you contribute to a relationship in a meaningful way, You can get several things coming back to you that could be valuable.
- You might gain a friendship
- You might get advice
- You might introductions to other amazing people
- The relationship might elevate your credibility or visibility.
- You might gain access to opportunities that you might not have otherwise have found.
Now here’s the magic. The more famous the person, the more difficult it will be to develop a relationship with them. But famous people typically have an inner circle of people that they have a deep relationships with. Sometimes, it’s easier to connect with someone in their inner circle. They know all the same people, and they’re more accessible than the person who has a big brand. If you develop a relationship with someone in their inner circle, it might be just as good as developing a relationship with the brand in terms of all the benefits that flow back to you. Once you have a relationship with someone in the inner circle it could ultimately result in a relationship with the big brand. If it doesn’t, that’s perfectly fine. Your goal is to develop quality relationships with quality people.