… my Friend/Contact/Person I met once/Complete Stranger?
But why, you ask, would someone “successful” want to talk to me? Because when you reach out to someone for advice, it touches raw needs that we never grow out of.
- People love to talk about themselves.
- People like to be seen as a mentor. Its flattering.
That said, there are ways to maximize your chances of an effective interaction.
- Start with someone with whom you have something in common. Refer to this commonality in your message. Ideally, you want to start with people who have a narrow area of commonality.
- Any titles or positions are fair game, but be sure you have a specific question. The CEO of a company may well be willing to talk to you, be sure that this is the right person for the question you have right now.
- Look for people who are active in trade associations or who speak on panels. Look for people who publish a lot but may not have a million followers. These are people looking for engagement.
- Look for someone who writes articles/blog posts. Refer to those articles in your correspondence (more on this later).
- State your specific reason for reaching out to this person. No one likes to be the recipient of a mass email.
- Have a goal in mind for the interaction. Turn that goal into a specific ask. Don’t just “pick someone’s brain.”
- Keep your request short. Both the request itself and the time you are asking for. Most people have 15 minutes to spare. Few people have an hour.