Sometimes people wonder how I do things. It's not that I'm some kind of super woman. Or an uber successful blogger or Internet marketer (In fact, I've been doing this part-time for three years and I'm only now starting to see some real success).
I suppose it's because I do stuff they find scary, overwhelming or even next to impossible.
For example, I've gotten top marketers, bestselling authors and A-listers to guest on my webinars — even when I was just getting started with webinars and had less than 100 people registered for them.
I get review copies of information products and physical books, not to mention physical products.
The truth is, there's nothing special about me. I don't have a big list. Most of my blogs have modest traffic. I don't do much about SEO, so I doubt that my blogs rank high for keywords that matter. And, no, I don't do hypnosis.
The thing that I probably do differently than other marketers is that I ask.
If I want to interview a guru or anybody else “famous,” I just find a way to contact him or her and ask.
If I want to promote a particular product (physical or otherwise), but find it too expensive for me to purchase for myself and test first, then I ask for a review copy.
Sometimes, people do approach me. It helps to have a high-traffic, niche website. Every week, I get emails from marketers inquiring about advertising on that site or sending me their products for review.
But for most of my other stuff, I hustle. I ask.
Now, there's a way to ask to increase your chances of getting a “yes” from A-listers. Below, I share what I think will help to improve your success rate. (For lack of a better term, I'll call this arrangement “partnering,” which can mean being interviewed by you, promoting your product, giving you a review copy of their product, etc.)
1. Be specific.
Get clear about what you want, and be very specific. Is it a Skype video interview that will last for 30 minutes? Will it be live or pre-recorded? What will you use it for? When do you want it done?
Or do you want a review copy? If so, how will you do the review? What format will it take — blog post, video, podcast, other? What kind of audience do you reach? How?
2. Tell what's in it for them.
The other person doesn't really care that you need to build your list, improve your credibility, or attract traffic. What's in it for THEM, not you? Will you help them get exposure to your readers (who are they?) or YouTube viewers? Will they have content they can use as a bonus for a paid product, a lead offer, or anything else they want?
Think hard and get creative. No matter how “small” you are, you have something to offer the bigger players. As a last resort, offer to be their virtual slave for three months (just kidding, but you get the point, right?).
3. Make it easy.
Every step of the way, make everything as easy as possible for the other person. For example, your first email should be as concise as possible, but have enough information to help them decide if it's worthwhile or not.
If you're inviting someone to help promote your product, go ahead and set up their account in your affiliate program. Then email them the link to your affiliate site, along with their username and password (Note: This may not be possible with all affiliate programs).
Draft email promotions, Twitter tweets and Facebook updates for them. Even if they choose not to use them as is, it's much easier to rewrite a draft than start from scratch.
4. Connect From Multiple Points
Find many ways of connecting with the person. Find their email address (often a contact form on their website is all you can get, and that's good enough), but also connect with them in social networking sites. If you can get their telephone number (you'll be surprised how easy this can be), all the better.
Scour your network for anybody who could “introduce” you. For example, your friend could send an email to the person saying, “Hey watch out for an email from my friend about guesting in her webinar.” This makes you less of a stranger, gives an implicit recommendation of you, and helps increase your chances of getting at least some attention form your invitee.
All these different points of contact will help you to…
5. Be persistent.
Some marketers play hard to get. Others simply are hard to get. They probably get a gazillion emails every day. Or have tons of blog post comments to read and respond to. Most of the time, though, I find that even the biggest marketers I've approached have taken the time to respond to me by email.
However, if they seem to be taking a long time in responding, feel free to follow up. It helps if you've connected with them beforehand on Twitter or Facebook. That way you can send them a little message like, “Sent you email. Did you see it?”
One of my webinar guests (who has become a friend) admitted she made me jump through hoops to get her on board. But, she said, my persistence wore her down. And I got what I wanted.
That said, don't be a pest. If you don't hear back from them after asking a couple of times, then they're probably not interested. If it's someone you've been engaging with, then you could probably get away with more aggressive follow-ups. But if you approached them “cold,” then proceed with caution.
Don't take rejection personally.
I have to admit, I've been blown off by a couple of people. Both male, if that means anything.
It wouldn't have been a problem if they'd said no to me right away. Instead, they said yes, and then as the webinar date approached, they suddenly stopped responding to my emails and, yes, even phone calls.
As a result, I've had to pull in a last-minute replacement. Another time, I had to give the webinar myself. All's well that ends well.
Most recently, I had someone tell me flat out that my audience was too small and my track record too unimpressive for her to give me the time to guest in my webinar. Oh well. Someday I will get “big enough” for her. Or maybe, I'll refer so many sales of her product that she won't be able to say no to me next time.
Is there a project you've been meaning to involve some big players in? Perhaps as resource persons or joint venture partners?
If fear has been stopping you, let me reassure you. Even if they all said no to you, you're not going to die. The world will not end. I'll still think highly of you.
The point is, just try. Just ask. If you don't get a lot of positive responses, then that probably means you need to make the arrangement more of a win-win situation. Even better, make your offer something unfairly favorable to THEM.
If this post has inspired you to step out of your comfort zone and approach a “celebrity” or someone you look up to and are intimidated with, let me know in the comments what you're going to do next.
Or if you have other questions about approaching A-listers, do post them below.
Finally, if you liked this post, then click on the Facebook “like” button below and the Retweet This button.
PS: I felt really special when Guy Kawasaki sent me a review copy of his new book, “Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions.” Really, little ‘ol me? And then I understood why on page 62, where he talks about planting seeds. He says, “Embrace the nobodies…. Anyone who understands and embraces your cause and wants to spread the word is worthy of your attention.” Remember that when you approach someone you think is too big for you.
Lexi Rodrigo is a communication and marketing professional for multimillion-dollar businesses, co-author of Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye, and host of "Marketing Insights LIVE!." Connect with Lexi on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.