It must have been the year 2000.
I was just starting out in marketing and this well-known speaker/author, Brian Tracy was visiting Auckland. There I was, just one face in about 300 at that event. But I had an advantage. I'd bought a ton of Brian's stuff–his CDs, cassettes (yes, cassettes) and books. And there I was with a stack of them, asking him to autograph the lot. Do you think he paid attention?
Of course he did.
I was just a rookie, but did that matter? No, it didn't and it still doesn't. If you want to get the attention of a strategic alliance, there are many ways to work your way through the crowds. But about the four best ways to guarantee the attention of a strategic alliance are these:
1) Buy product
3) Meet at an event
4) Promote to your audience
1) Let's start with “buying a product”…
Nothing will get the attention of a strategic alliance faster and more effectively than if you buy their product. If you haven't bought their product, you're effectively an outsider. You don't know who they are, what they stand for and are just seeking to get their attention. But the moment you've got their product, you've got a toe in the door—and especially if it's a decent amount of product. The moment you start your correspondence with that person, you've got their attention.
Talking about a person's product is like talking about their “baby”
You can't quite say enough. They want to hear from you and are grateful that you're paying attention. And it's not just attention, but that you've spent your hard-earned dollars on their product. Compare this with some crazy email that shows up in your box where the person hasn't really bought anything from you, and is spouting a whole lot of theories. In almost every situation, that email will be deleted in seconds.
So yeah, buy into some product—then get in touch. But as you'd guess, product isn't the only way to make contacts. Comments help too.
2) How comments work
In the pre-Internet world, to get in touch with just about anyone was reasonably hard. Not so, any more. Almost everyone is connected and they have some sort of blog or newsletter—if not a forum. If you want to get the attention of the strategic alliance, get on that conversation and leave comments. You may think that no one pays attention, but they do.
Even if you're leaving comments on Facebook, they pay attention. At first, you're just someone in a sea of people, but if you stick to the commenting, you get their attention.
And yet, the whole blog phenomenon is on the verge of dying. Back in the age of 2005-2013, blogs still had a ton of comments. Not so, any more. And it's not uncommon to see blogs actually shutting off the comments, simply because the conversation is so very sparse. This leaves you with other media.
Remember that you can indeed comment through email
You read someone's newsletter and you don't have to go their blog. You can comment right back on email. Or you can find out where they hang out. Is it on Twitter? Is it on Instagram? Or Facebook? Maybe some other place. Maybe they head to the local community centre.
If you're keen, you'll do your share of stalking. And if you comment, and comment, and comment, you'll get their attention. Of course you can't be a pest. This isn't about taking away their spotlight, but actually adding to it.
Comments can be of a varying nature
Some can be agreeable—even praise. Praise is always nice. But don't just stick to praise. Comments that are challenging, work as well. Put in a bit of thought in your comment and you'll find that people aren't always looking for praise.
And there are comments that completely flog the status quo. In such a situation you're actually getting the attention by saying the material is flawed. And this too, weird as it may seem, will get their attention as long as you have a solid argument to back up your train of thought.
The key to comments is that they can't be one here and one there. You have to be consistent, just like paparazzi. Show up, and comment. Sooner or later—sooner, actually—you'll get noticed. And this takes us to the third technique: live events.
3) So how do live events help?
There are two types of live events. One is a seminar sort of live event. In such a scenario, you get speaker after speaker all off on different tangents. And then you get a workshop, where you learn one skill and learn it well. So why would you go to a seminar to hear two dozen speakers when most of the time you can listen to the same thing at home?
The answer is: networking.
At events, you often get the chance to meet with others
These could be fellow-participants, but also the speakers themselves. You may think that speakers are not within your reach, but they really are. Again it helps to have read their material or bought their product at some point. That puts you in a direct line to the speaker.
Remember the Brian Tracy scenario? I didn't know Brian at all. So what introduced me to Brian? I had his products in my hand, and he sure recognised those products. Even if it's an ebook or a report—print it out and get the speaker to sign it. It's your doorway to a whole new world, where you can reach speakers who you'd never be able to reach before.
Networking is one of the biggest reasons why people go to seminars. And granted, you have to be a bit bold to approach a speaker. But do it. Use the product you have in your hand and step up and get the speaker to sign the product.
Then get into a natural conversation, or just comment on their speech, their product or anything else. Now you've created a link and it's just a matter of asking if you can keep in touch. Usually the speaker will give you a card or some contact details. When you get back, yup, get in touch. And this slides us to the fourth method.
4) Offer to promote their product/service to your audience
It doesn't matter how big or small you are, the moment you offer to promote someone else's product or service to your audience, they're interested. You can do this in many ways. I tend to do interviews, because we don't tend to do any joint ventures. But you can do a joint venture or just promote the product/service to your audience.
But there's a mistake that a lot of folks make at this stage
They promote just about anything. You have to be careful about promoting anything at all. You may think you can't check everyone's work, but let's face it: Would you heartily recommend a movie you haven't watched? Would you go on and on promoting a restaurant you've never ever visited? Would you refer a business to a friend, when you've never actually dealt with that business?
So if you're going to offer to promote someone else's products, you jolly well make the time to read their information. I do. I will read the entire book, go through the entire course if I have to. There's no way on earth I'm going to recommend something if I'm not 100% sure of it myself. And you should do the same. Due diligence is hard work, but it helps, because the honesty comes out both in the transaction with your clients and with your strategic alliance.
But are there other ways to get the attention of strategic alliances?
Yes, there would be. You can send them a cake every day until they beg you to stop. But hey, you don't want to go crazy. Use any or all of these four methods: buying product, meeting at an event, commenting or promoting to your audience, and you'll have your hands full.
Getting the attention of alliances is not difficult.
But you have to start today.
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