Everyone starts somewhere, so it is hard to judge someone on what they have accomplished thus far in their life. What you can judge them on, however, are their ambition and aspirations. If you are an Elite entrepreneur, your goal at any given time is to get one step closer to success.
Whether you have an idea you want to turn into a business, a startup you need funding for, a partnership you want to secure, or a dream job you’d love to have; all of these things require getting into the winner’s circle.
Members of the winner’s circle could be industry leaders or high-net worth individuals –whom are respected and esteemed – and have a network that you can’t put a price on. Because of the pull and influence someone in the winner’s circle may have, it is critical you impress them.
But before you can do that, naturally, you must secure some face time with them. Unless you are the son of someone in the winner’s circle, chances are this will not be an easy feat. In fact, most people never accomplish this task: they’ll half-heartedly try, give up after a couple feeble attempts, or overlook potential opportunities that could help.
For the more ambitious entrepreneurs, quitting is not an option. Yet, given the difficulty of such a task, motivation and perseverance alone are not enough. Here are the most effective ways to secure that invaluable and treasured face time with someone in the winner’s circle, which will in turn, benefit your quest for success:
1. Utilize Your Network
This sounds overly obvious, but you would be surprised how much people under-utilize their own personal and professional network. In 2012, chances are that you and your winner’s circle target have a common connection. Even if it is not a strong connection, just knowing the same people or person opens the door much better than having zero shared contacts.
Preferably, you want someone who your target also knows who can vouch for you (ideally, more than just one reference actually). If that is not possible, use whatever first, second, or third degree contacts to help you get that introduction, not matter how small.
2. You Don’t Need a Salesman to Connect You
One misconception is that you need a shared contact whom you are both close with who will talk you up better than your own mother. That’s wrong. Whether it is an investor, executive, or other successful winner’s circle member, they are always looking to meet anyone doing something interesting. They wouldn’t be where they are if they weren’t open to new and promising opportunities.
And that is why you do not need a shared connection that is very close; you just need someone to put you two in contact. The rest will unfold… and if it doesn’t, than that person would not have been willing to help you anyway.
Note: don’t have the person connecting you try to sell you and don’t let them exaggerate or overstep any boundaries. If they don’t know exactly what venture or opportunity is on the table, just have them show your LinkedIn or whatever.
3. Don’t Beg for Whatever You Can Get
Sometimes, inexperienced entrepreneurs will email their target cold and ask for simply 2 minutes of their time. Although that boldness is admirable, it is completely ineffective. First, if the target does say yes, they will not go out of their way to meet you for anything less than 20 minutes (and realistically, no meeting will ever be that shorter than that, so might as well be honest and direct and ask for a 20 minute meeting).
Two, if you do ask for such a short meeting and they do say yes, it will just be on the phone. And no impression you can make on the phone will be good enough to secure an investment, job, or whatever it is that you are looking for.
If you are going to go down a line anything close to this strategy, then your best bet is to just send them a demo, sample, business plan, resume, or a link to your website or social media account. Let them check it out. If your target thinks that there is even a small chance that you have something worthwhile, he or she will ask to meet with you.
Note: This is one major reason you need to ensure that your social media accounts come off respectable – without anything that could damage your image – and also do your best to ensure your profile most accurately reflects the impression you want to make.
4. Don’t Hit Up Everyone At Once
What happens when you text 10 girls all at once who are all friends and hanging out with each other at the time when they receive your text? If they were going to respond to you initially, they certainly wont now. Getting into the winner’s circle is the same way.
Don’t contact six guys who are all friends, work at the same firm, or partners in any way. You will be embarrassed. Contact each person individually one at a time. If they decline, go on to the next one. It is always great to have multiple contacts within a circle, but you need to know how to utilize your network the right way.
5. Make Sure You Are Ready
First, make sure that this is actually the right time to make your way into the winner's circle. Too often, there are stories of entrepreneurs who make great impressions and have a great idea, but they used their network, resources, and energy to secure a meeting of any sorts way too early.
If it is a startup, make sure that your idea is well-defined enough, and especially make sure that you actually have a product. Otherwise you are essentially wasting both your time. Similarly, if you are seeking a job, make sure you are willing and ready to leave your current job before pursuing someone in the winner's circle for an opportunity.
6. Don’t be Discouraged, Just Try Again
People in the winner’s circle can be picky. Maybe they have their eyes set on something specific that you are not offering. Maybe it is not the right time for them. Maybe they feel it is not the right time or you. If your target declines, respectfully get back to him and thank him for his time.
Take advantage of the feedback they give you as well. Find out why they declined and then fix it, because the next winner’s circle target you pursue will probably find the same defect. 99% of these people will be open to meeting or talking to you again in the future, so make sure not to burn ay bridges.
Once you have bettered whatever it is you bring to the table, contact them again. There are a ton of cases where entrepreneurs get shut down the first time, but then after some hard work they are accepted the second time and go on to reach great success.
Ryan Babikian | Elite.