5 Easy Ways to Meet VIPs You Admire, Even If You Hate Networking

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So you’d like to become a big shot, right? You want to be successful, admired as a leader in your industry or niche?

You’ve probably heard a great way to become successful is to surround yourself with other successful people. As Jim Rohn famously said, you are the average of the five people you hang out with the most.

It sounds so simple: make friends with VIPs and successful people, and you will be more successful and earn the income you deserve. You now have the magic formula! Huzzah!

But the reality is much more difficult. You can’t just knock on the door of some super-secret club and expect to be let in the door. Unfortunately for you, there’s no secret handshake shortcut.

So the question remains more of a mystery: how do you meet and get to know the VIPs and top performers who will help you to elevate your game?

And here’s the sneaky thing: even if VIPs and successful people are the most helpful and approachable people on earth, you should not approach them and immediately ask for them to help you. That’s the wrong approach.

Fortunately, there are a few shortcuts, which I’m going to share with you.

How You Can Meet VIPs and Top Performers

A major barrier which frequently keeps non-VIPs (like you and me) from connecting with VIPs is the difficulty of actually meeting the person.

But the good news is no matter your background, no matter where you came from, you can still find opportunities to meet almost any VIP.

As an example, take me. I didn’t go to an Ivy League school. I am not famous. I don’t come from a well-connected family. My last name is not Trump (last I checked).

And yet, I’ve managed to meet two Presidents. I’ve mingled with numerous high-level CEOs and celebrities. I’ve interviewed close to 50 very successful entrepreneurs and business owners who gave me an hour or so of their time, for free.  And I’ve worked and socialized at a high level in various industries, from politics to Silicon Valley to Hollywood.

The good news is it’s easier than ever to connect with VIPs. The greater openness and transparency of the web and social media has meant there are more opportunities and tools than ever before which are available to help you meet a celebrity, powerful politician, movie star, or anyone else.

Here are five easy tips you can use to meet almost any VIP:

1.  Record a Video of Something They Care About

A great way to meet VIPs and for them to get to know you is by creating a video dedicated to a topic they care about. For example, you could record a video review of their new book, or a video testimonial for a product they sell which you have purchased and found valuable.

The process is simple: record a short (less than two minutes) video of something that person cares about, and then upload it to YouTube or your blog. Share it with them via an email, over social media, or through some other short message. (Here are more tips on how to use your blog, specifically, to network with others.)

2.  Interview Them

Here’s a simple trick – ask for an interview. You can interview someone you admire for an article in a newsletter, for a guest blog post, for a podcast, or for a post on your own blog.

If you do want to try this strategy, then the larger the publication or website you will publish in, the better.  If you want to interview a really high-level VIP, try to publish the article in the largest publication possible.

I have used this strategy to interview a number of authors and entrepreneurs I admire, by simply finding a relevant and timely topic to write about and approaching them to be included in the article.

2.  Write a Heartfelt Letter

You can never go wrong with writing a heartfelt and complimentary letter asking for a meeting or a short response. At a minimum, it won’t take much of your time to try.  Just be sincere and honest. People can smell insincerity from a mile away.

3. Meet at a Conference

Nearly every well-known VIP will speak publicly from time to time, often at different conferences and group meetings throughout the year. Traveling to one of these speaking engagements is a great way to meet that person.

Whatever you do, make sure your timing is right. Don’t barge up and interrupt them in the middle of a conversation, and don’t bug them before a big keynote speech. Make sure you study how to network at a face-to-face event before you show up.

4.  Look for Mutual Friends

You’d be surprised how few degrees of separation you may have between you and a big-name VIP. LinkedIn is a great tool for this. You can check to see how many degrees of connections you have between you and a particular VIP you want to meet.

For example, I bought some shoes last week from Zappos, the customer-friendly shoe company purchased by Amazon for $1.2 billion.  It turns out I have 1 person linking me to Zappos founder Tony Hsieh.

LinkedIn allows you to ask your connections to introduce you to their connections, so you could connect with a high-level VIP that way. Although if I ask my mutual friend to introduce me to Tony Hsieh so I can complain about my shoes not fitting, I don’t think we’ll be mutual friends for very long.

5.  Honor the Person with an Award

Another great way to meet and get to know VIPs is by honoring them with an award or other recognition for their past service or an achievement.  For example, you could convince an organization or community group you belong to that they should give an award to a particular VIP you want to meet, and then volunteer to coordinate the event. That would be a great way to get to know your VIP better.

What ideas do you have for connecting with VIPs? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

Written on 12/12/2013 by John Corcoran. John Corcoran is an attorney and former Clinton White House Writer. If you want to know more about how to connect with VIPs, download his free, 52+ page guide, How to Build a Network Filled with VIPs and Top Performers in 14 Days.

Photo Credit: Richter Frank-Jurgen

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