(By Candace Smith)
“As you may find yourself armed with a wonderful website and company letterhead, your first impression is everything. You can be classy or eccentric, but your persona will ride upon your external appearance as well as what you know. Be true and confident. This will show in how stable and consistent your actions and façade are to the influencers you hope to do business with.“
Let’s face it, as a working professional, it can be hard to get the attention of the higher ups, the gatekeepers, the tastemakers and the influencers who have the power to help turn your ideas into money-making machines. But even with all of your efforts, you might have had your share of brick walls at every turn. Whether you’ve given up on reaching out to celebrity bloggers or have no idea where to start in your Rolodex, here are nine ways that you can get those with power and connections to notice you and your efforts.
Keep your head down and work!
It’s only natural to get excited about a project close to your heart or an idea that gives you a reason to wake up every morning. Keep working hard at what you love to do regardless of how many doors have been shut in your face. To keep from getting discouraged, keep in mind that your concepts may have to go through many avenues and people before they are fully realized. Don’t sweat the small stuff when there’s still work to be done, even in the hardest of times.
Know who you’re contacting
Make sure each cover letter and email is addressed to the correct person. You wouldn’t sell baseball bats to a burger chain, right? More than that, with so much coming at people (certainly the person you’re trying to persuade is also being pitched by other) if it doesn’t reach them with all i’s dotted and t’s crossed, it’s going to get tossed out.
Be careful and use correct spelling (research on the Internet or call corporate offices to verify contact information) and make sure that you aren’t mixing up email messages and addresses within your contact list.
Invest in packaging/marketing materials
Even if you are working within a narrow budget, you should think about investing in eye-catching, purposeful packaging materials to enhance the marketing aspect of your product(s). Actors use headshots and a good dentist sends you cute reminder postcards in the mail every six months. Every time you send an email or newsletter blast, you are marketing yourself to potential clients and gatekeepers, and reminding them (or telling them for the first time) of what you have to offer as a businessperson. You owe it to yourself to use attention-grabbing packaging materials, websites and business cards that are true to your vision.
First impressions are everything
As you may find yourself armed with a wonderful website and company letterhead, your first impression is everything. You can be classy or eccentric, but your persona will ride upon your external appearance as well as what you know. Be true and confident. This will show in how stable and consistent your actions and façade are to the influencers you hope to do business with.
Personalizing a note, Post-It, or memo gives your message that extra special something. That “something” demonstrates that you’re thoughtful and obviously shows that your note was intended just for that recipient. A personalized message on nice stationery or a box of promotional goods with your unique flair will separate you from the masses vying for a one-on-one.
Always be prepared
What if you are at a party and have finally caught the attention of the one person you’ve been wanting to snag a few minutes with for weeks? You have charmed them so much that they would like to set up a meeting with you for next week. Then they ask how they can contact you and you just remembered that your brand new stack of business cards are at home! You don’t want to find yourself looking disorganized and unprofessional. Say goodbye to your career-breaking meeting. Rather, keep a few cards in your pocket, keep a pen handy, or consider going digital.
The previous slide implies one key fact: that you’ve positioned yourself to have to hand over the digits. To do that, you have to be there. Where’s there? Wherever the people you should know are hanging out. Join a networking organization, keep an ear to the ground about events and local watering holes where people hang out and kick back. If you have a choice between going to that thing or going home for the third day in a row and having ice cream on the couch, go to the thing. You may deserve a rest, but there is none for the ambitious.
Play it cool
Once your contact information and promotional merchandise are in the hands of your target VIP, play it cool. Do not act like a jealous ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend with a barrage of calls or emails asking about a follow up. This will sour a business relationship before it even begins. And negative words between your target circle of gatekeepers will spread fast. Instead, spread out your follow-up contact. Start with a quick thank you email after your first point of contact and then put the art of patience into practice.
Remember that they are people too
Prominent people are just that — people. Their leadership in whichever industry does not shadow the fact that they are human beings with feelings and the urge to eat, go to the bathroom, and cry. If you ever find yourself in front of the someone you admire, do not act like a fan in their presence. Treat them with respect and maintain your composure. Just remember that they were once in your shoes and understand how hard it is to approach someone with the pull.
“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”