SBX 4: How To Connect With Influencers In Your Industry

The Small Business Express

Owning a business is hard enough.  Don’t go it alone.  Making connections with other owners that already have an audience of your target customers can create a WIN-WIN-WIN.  The other owner builds their brand as a trusted resource, an authority, and also extra sales revenue from any agreements you make.  Customers have opportunities to solve problems (that they may not have even known they had).  And, of course, you gain access to a new group of potential targets.  This strategy has been used across all industries and, when executed perfectly, can create overnight success.


But how to ensure that you’re getting in the car with the right person?  How do you approach these owners in a way that doesn’t make you feel like a snake-oil salesperson?  You don’t want to put in hours of creative energy just to be ignored or (gulp) laughed at.  In this episode you will learn some of the philosophies that will give you this highest probability of success, even if you’ve never approached others in this way.

In this episode of The Small Biz Express podcast we discuss:

  • What an New York ETS fan is and the networking guy that nobody likes

  • A sneaky technique to learn the mental and emotional mentality of your target customer

  • 8 questions you need to be asking about your target customer (Gary hits this quickly)

  • How market research is like talking to your kids about sex

  • Gary’s favorite site to find out where influencers are hanging out online

  • What it means to be a connector (and Mike practicing what he preaches)

  • No doesn’t always mean no.  Sometimes it means “not now.”

  • The car salesman who collects every single piece of information that he can

  • Ellen Degeneress, using this same strategy to become an overnight success

Action Steps from this episode:

  1. Target the right people.  The right people are those that have the trust, respect, and likability of your target customer.  Of course many owners assume they know their target customers better than they actually do, so a little intelligent research is in order.  Keyword: intelligent.  Don’t just start hammering people with surveys.  Once you know what they read, where they shop, who they like and don’t like?  You can start forming a strategy that is way smarter than spray-and-pray.
  2. Have a “relationship first,” value-based approach.  After selecting an influencer and learning as much as you can about them, the relationship process begins.  As Gary says, “time to mingle your way into their life.”  Relationships are spelled T-I-M-E.  The last thing you want to do is lead with an offer.  A much better strategy is to build some rapport, learn what their challenges there are, and to be a connector.  Be the person or help them find a person that could add    The philosophy of relationships is to care about people more than you care about what they could do for you.
  3. Show-up, over-deliver, and follow-up.  The last thing you want is somebody to regret ever introducing you to their audience.  The best thing you want is somebody saying, “I really enjoyed.  I wonder what they’re up to?”  This happens when you prize the relationship above all else.  The more information you collect, the easier it is to be valuable for them in the future.  The more remarkable you can be, the easier it will be to bag-the-elephant (Gordan Gecko-style).

Links and Resources Discussed in this Episode

  1. Ben Settle – the email marketing anti-professional (4 quarters >>> 100 pennies quote)  (
  2. Steven Shapiro, author of Best Practices Are Stupid, saying some really smart things (as he is prone to do)
  3. – a great way to organize every bit of information in your network (for those people who want to go beyond Linked-In)
  4. Wall-Street, the movie.  Bud Fox approaches the big Kahuna on Wall-Street.  He shows up, he over-delivers.
  5. Ellen Degeneress, before she was Ellen Degeneress.  It’s 1986 and she lands 5 minutes on THE TONIGHT SHOW.  She shows up, she over-delivers in front of somebody else’s audience, and she becomes a legend.

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