If I’ve learned anything in my few years as a young guy in business, as an entrepreneur carving my path, it’s that you really can’t do it alone. In fact to be really successful in this game you have to create ways in which you can leverage the existing credibility of others, so that it can pull you up too. That might read funny.. What I’m definitely not saying here is “use people” to get ahead. Too many people do that in business.. Too many people do that in life.. to get ahead.
My name is Josh Smith, I’ve been involved in more startups than I have years in the business game altogether. When I started, and even now (to a degree) to be perfectly honest, I was green as hell, naive as anything but I stuck my neck out, challenged myself to grow and in doing so people sat up and noticed when I was around. I can tell you one thing with absolute certainty and that is with the right intention at heart and these two things: consistence, and persistence you can get an audience with anyone- Barack Obama, The Queen, One Direction.. Anyone.
Probably my biggest success with getting in front of the right people was when I worked out how to get in front of an Australian billionaire and his money people to pitch a start up I was running at the time (yes you read correctly “b”illionaire). It turned out that I did so well with that first meeting that I was invited back for a second, however to my disappointment yet my amazement all in one, I was asked back to entertain the idea of working with them on a separate project and shelving my own as I was viewed as a competitor!
But this article is not about me, it’s not about my startups, or my successes, it’s about giving you the ammo and know how to get in front of the people you need to be in front of to make your goals happen. Whether you’re in business, thinking of going into business, involved in a charitable project, or just a project altogether, exposure and awareness can take you and your endeavours to the next level. But how do you get that exposure and awareness? How do you get the right people to sit up and listen to what you have to say? The secret here is that there simply is no secret to it. Getting noticed by the audience you desire is simpler than you may think.. It’s not an exact science necessarily, it just comes down to determination and action.
Whilst pitching a business to a billionaire who I greatly admire is a homerun for me that I’ll always be proud of, the same skill I used to get in front of him, I have used a hundred times before to get in front of others. In fact I built my whole team of personal business mentors who are worth millions off of the same principles I’m going to share with you here.
Ultimately, several things are true in life and here’s one of them- “who dares wins.” You have to remember that as a golden rule, your audience is human just like you- no matter how many zeros line they’re bank account. They live, breathe, feel, and connect just like the rest of us, and like the rest of us they want to be inspired too..
One of the biggest reasons why people don’t succeed too often in their life is because they simply don’t take the shot that matters most to them- in most cases it’s the fear of missing the shot that’s far worse than the actual missing of the shot. Don’t ever perceive your goals as out of your reach, or your desired collaborations too far out of your league to achieve.
The craziest thing is that you can pretty much get your audience- whoever it is, by making a phone call or 10, or knocking on a door or 10. If that seems too daunting to you well maybe it is- after all fear of rejection is a killer of dreams.. But I think the prospect of giving up on a goal that means something to you is more horrifying. As a rule of the thumb, if you can live happily not pursuing a goal that’s on your mind then you probably aren’t passionate enough to really make it happen and if you aren’t passionate about what you’re doing then you should get out before you learn the hard way.. Trust me on that.. I’ve learned the hard way and it can cost you time and lots and lots of money.
But know this- when you find that one thing that sets you on fire you’ll make one call after the other and you’ll knock on doors till your knuckles bleed.
For you, getting in front of the right people simply comes down to asking yourself a few key questions so you can work out who your actual key audience would be. In the example of my pitch to a billionaire and his people, that wasn’t random. I carefully selected them because I had done my homework to see that they were a great fit for what I was working to achieve at the time.. So it turned out I was TOO on the money for them hence being labelled a competitor! For you and your project take a moment and ask yourself: “If I was to collaborate with one person or one group in particular at this time, who would that be?” Now ponder on that till you get your answer.
Once you have your answer then ask “Why? Why them? What could they bring to my table that would specifically benefit my mission, and how can I leverage that to move forward?”
Then the last question and possibly the most important is this “What am I bringing to THEIR table?” You have to remember that whilst it’s going to be fantastic for you having The Queen, or Richard Branson, or Tom Cruise on board, you have to have a vision for how you’re going to add value to their lives in return for them lending you their credibility. In other words- what’s in it for them? When you work that out you’ve got your silver bullet, and once you got the silver bullet it’s time to fire away.
Google is a ridiculously useful tool these days, on top of that we have social networking sites, and underneath those we have our very own networks who you’d be surprised to find out who they are connected to both directly and indirectly. The old concept of “6 Degrees of Separation” is kinda been blown to smithereens by the power of the internet today.. You could rebrand the saying to “6 Clicks of Separation.” I think I’ll coin that..
You may be shocked to know that my pitch with a billionaire came down to.. and I’m going to work it out as I type.. one, two, three… four, maybe five emails and two phone calls. The resources you need are all around you, you just need to know where to look. Google can pretty much tell you anything and everything you need to know in this day and age, including contact details (to some level) of very high profile people. On top of that we have Facebook and even Twitter that can get you noticed by your target audience with just 140 characters, and if it’s a business person you seek well there’s LinkedIn. These are great starting points and resources that weren’t always available, so make the most of them to serve your cause.
Tenacity, and willpower goes along way in life. The people who’ve earned the credibility in whatever field thats making you want be involved with them understand these two things: tenacity and willpower. Celebrities, business leaders, whomever they may be have an impeccable drive that they easily identify in others, because they have had to use those two traits religiously to get to where they are today..
Note though that there is an etiquette to getting the attention of your ideal audience. There is such a thing as pushy and repulsive.. You don’t want to be either.. I know these kind of people, I’ve unfortunately worked with some of these people and they get shot down every time. They don’t analyse the fine line between determined and annoying and they simply flirt with the latter a little too often.
How do you counteract pushy and repulsive and ensure you’re not annoying to your audience? It’s quite easy, and it’s one word- “Intent.” I learned one thing in sales a while ago that was so very true and so very powerful that it’s applicable here and that one thing is that intent trumps technique every time. See a lot of getting in front of your ideal audience comes down to sales mentality. A good salesman or saleswoman understands what moves people and how to influence people to buy (and not in a sleazy way either). But ultimately the most important thing in my opinion, when it comes to sales, is that you are congruent and come from a legitimate place of wanting to serve. In that mentality you come across to people as honest, trustworthy, and worthy of their time. You can be the most brilliant sales person in the world with the gift of the gab, but if you aren’t pure with your intent, people smell that a mile off and they won’t deal with you.
The point here is that when you’re working towards getting centre stage for your ideal audience, you’ve gotta be completely congruent with your goals and go at them with the intent of being an honest, trustworthy person who isn’t going to waste the time of the people you’re working to get in front of.
Getting in front of business people is relatively simple. A good business person understands opportunity and they can identify good potential partnerships when they meet the right people. If you’re seeking a strategic partnering or a joint venture as they’re properly known, just find the people you want to work with and approach them with enough good reasons for them to want to be involved with you too. Show them how being involved with you will add so much value to their life that they wonder where you’ve been this whole time. Be congruent yet determined and you’ll get your audience.
If it’s media attention you’re seeking then that’s easier than you might think too. I went to a really interesting seminar recently about getting free media coverage that can be worth tens of thousands of dollars to business owners and I learned many cool things. What most people don’t realise is that journalists rely on stories from the people. Now natural selection by a journalist can keep you waiting a very long time but there’s a magical little catalyst that will get you noticed by a journo and that’s press releases. The press release is a remarkable tool that the local, national, and international journalists, from the world news desk to the business desk, rely upon. Journalists need their stories and they find them by combing through press releases that you me or anybody can submit. All you need to acquire is the contact email of the media channel you wish to find you. Once you have that email you have to then craft the perfect press release and send it. I recommend you jump on twitter, plug in this Handle @SuePapadoulis and follow Sue. She travels the world speaking and teaching people all about getting media coverage. She shows you how to write the perfect press release, and how to find the people you need to send it to to get your audience and much more.
Ultimately, getting your audience comes down to being able to inspire people who believe in what you believe, to endorse you as an advocate. An audience loves to be compelled, it can’t help but be drawn into the world of the speaker, presenter, entrepreneur: the leader. That leader is you my friend. If you believe in what you do, if you believe in what you do to the point that it sets you on fire you have the ability to share it with the world successfully.
All great people- Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, Mother Teresa, Ghandi, and plenty of other names I could rattle off all share one thing in common.. They had their audience, and they achieved their audience by inspiring the hell out of the people that believed in the same things as them..
Identify your audience by identifying who you are and who you become when you’re inspired by your project, or your business, or your mission whatever it may be. When you do this you’ll know how to communicate your message, and who to communicate it to and how. Be persistent, be consistent, have strong will and demonstrate tenacity and the world will sit up and pay attention to you.