Moving forward in business often requires sharing an idea or proposing a partnership with someone in a powerful position. But powerful people often have a long queue trying to get access to them, so how do you jump that queue? It’s never going to be easy, but you’ll have a better chance if you depend on strategies rather than chance or pestering.
1. Work out who really has the power
Just because someone has a stellar profile or is in a perceived powerful position doesn’t guarantee they have much influence. For example, you might assume meeting a celebrity will make for a valuable connection when in fact it’s the manager, agent or promoter who will have the pull and connections you need. So if you happen to run into a celebrity, pay your respects — then connect with their manager.
2. Research them.
Make sure you do your due diligence and research the person with whom you want to meet. You need to know what they are interested in, their business focus, dislikes, even political stance — and more.
3. Money talks.
A very simple way to access powerful people is to pay your way. That means buying a table at a function, sponsoring an event or project.
4. Help the cause
If they have a particular charity or cause they support, and it is one you know you could also support, join in.
5. Write about them.
Interviewing them or covering your target in an article is definitely one way to get their attention.
6. Hang out.
Where does this person drink coffee or eat lunch? Is there a particular cafe or restaurant they frequent? Then it’s time to start having your meetings there and gradually start to say hello and if given the opportunity show them your sparkling wit. The coffee pitch is the new elevator pitch.
7. Social media.
A great way to meet anyone. Twitter and Instagram are more personal as they are often controlled by the person who owns the account and not a PR agency, as is often the case with Facebook or Pinterest. Remember to take your time, join in on the conversation and don’t hassle them or become a stalker. Just be natural and fun.
And when the strategies work, and you are able to make a connection, ensure you don’t fritter it away with trivialities. People with power and influence don’t like to waste their time. So don’t.