I would have never imagine to be where I am right now in my career, happy and working in an amazing industry. I know it’s going to be a long road ahead, a bumpy and interesting one.
In the Advertising field, you’re always learning -sometimes the hard way- , enriching yourself and others. Getting more empathic and aware of your clients issues and challenges. You embody them. Is it all about love? Not always-watch how Jerry Seinfeld makes fun of the entire ad industry in the latest Clio’s awards ceremony.-
As you grow, it’s normal to seek recognition from your peers and mentor ship. Guy Kawasaki (evangelist), Jeffrey Gitomer (salesman), Seth Godin (marketer), Von Glitschka (designer), David Airey (designer), Scott Kelby (Photographer and teacher) and so many others: I call them ‘my heroes’ because they paved the way I’m walking in right now. I didn’t even meet them in person -wish I did- but I know they are with me.
The first professional book I read, back in 1995, was “How To Drive Your Competition Crazy”, I was 12. Like most kids of my age, I had absolutely no idea what would be my future job; An amazing thing happened to me: I could understand what this “Guy” was talking about, as if it was written just for me.
Things just don’t happen in a vacuum, there’s always a reason why we do what we do at this very moment. It’s all about patterns. I always saw my dad struggle with his own company and try to learn as much as he could about the areas necessary for its success. Marketing was one of them. Actually, this was my father’s book. Years later, here I am, buying and reading all Kawasaki’s books with the same eagerness and energy.
Technology helped us out-I can now get my favorite authors’ books at a flick of my thumb in my iPhone’s kindle app-, but also brought a lot of noise! Now your heroes are hiring people who: open their mails, post their social media content, manage their schedules etc. They have no other choices: the way of doing business has evolved.
How to get their attention then? I’ll try to answer that question by giving you a few valuable tips that helped me.
Make it short
Have you ever sat down and wrote a ‘novel-like-e-mail’ to a total stranger? Carefully choosing your words, making beautiful sentences (even added some twist of humor)? Ever felt that anxiety when you pressed the ‘send’ button and wanted to modify it one last time before realizing it was already gone?
Then, one day, your inbox alerts you… there it is: your hero’s answer. Wait a minute… it’s just two sentences long. Duuuuhhhhh!
Seth Godin has mastered this art of throwing ‘just-two-sentences-answers-that-will-drive-you-crazy’ at you. It’s done on purpose. The man believes that if he doesn’t work diligently on his words, they’ll lose their effectiveness and twist in your mind. He is right, nothing can beat simplicity. Truth is, your heroes got hectic schedules. They’ll certainly not have time to read your novels… sorry. You need to reboot, think and act like them. After all, short messages are scarce. They will surely appreciate your efforts of conciseness. Here lies your originality.
Master your headlines
When I get emails, I’m always looking at the headlines. And my cursor is never away from the ‘spam’ or ‘delete’ button. I even get mad at my mail browser allowing such a mess getting its way through my eyes. We get bothered everyday from people we don’t know from Adam, and they know that! They keep disturbing our peace. The hero will secretly ask ‘Give me a reason to open your message, a genuine headline: it could be the title of my latest article, my latest interview on CNN, or the funny gig I had on Jimmy Fallon’s show. It’s all about me! Did you like my work? What you think about it? Show me.’ The ideal headline should count 5 to 6 words and…that’s it. Make it fly!
‘You are an intruder, you come-virtually- to my place of business, don’t you know that I should be on the phone talking to my clients instead of reading these non sense emails?’ these are the hero’s thoughts. If you apologize first, and later in the message’s body they will tolerate it. Keep your dignity thought, don’t push the excuses too far.
Give a nod to the heroes of your life. They inspired you, it’s just about sending the love and appreciation back. Shout outs give you the reason to bother them in a good way. Mention the dedication in your emails, make a call to action. You can link your content into your message. Calls to action are pretty effective, they’ll give you the incentive for reaching back, use them but don’t overdo it.
I’ve drawn this portrait, years ago, of one of my favorite R&B singer : Tank. I posted it on twitter and it got an amazing positive reaction. He even noticed it and tweeted ‘Nice!’ -he’s even worse than Seth at answering… lol..but hey! It worked!-
Want a Skype session or a call scheduled? An interview for your podcast or blog? Just ask! Don’t be afraid of rejection.
Ever asked a question and your interlocutor paused..saying ‘that’s a great question!’. This is the effect you are seeking. I hear a lot of podcast just for one reason: their host ask a hell lot of great questions. Pull out a sheet of paper and a pen and note the most interesting. Re-use them, add your own voice to them.
It’s not about you
You have not flatten their tires -and I hope you didn’t- yesterday because they didn’t answer your email… get yourself out of the way, it’s not personal! Like I said, you can’t blame a person from being busy. When you’ll meet all the success -it’s my wish to you- you deserve, you’ll know that it comes at a price and this precious interaction you had with your Twitter followers vanished. Now they are thousands and thousands… hard to catch up without the help of assistants.
I hope you’ll find your own tricks to engage your heroes in clever conversations. Don’t forget to keep it going and swinging, you’ll start to sound familiar. No answer today? Don’t worry, go ahead with your life. You might be surprise someday as you scroll through your inbox. 😉