How To Get $1,000 Worth of Advice For Free

Today, I'd like to share a simple technique to get thousands of dollars in valuable advice for $100 or less.

When I was first starting out as an entrepreneur, I made a lot of mistakes. I picked the wrong business models, hired the wrong people, and so on…

In the end, I wasted more than $10,000 of my own money on projects that went nowhere.

I was frustrated. I called Matt, a good friend of mine, for help. This friend had been a successful entrepreneur and listened patiently as I explained my struggles.

When I was finished, he spoke. "Vik, here's the problem. You jumped in headfirst without making the effort to learn from anyone beforehand. If you had spoken to some entrepreneurs earlier, you might have learnt from their mistakes and saved yourself some money."

I admitted that was a good point. "But Matt," I said, "These successful entrepreneurs usually charge $1,000+ per hour for their time. I can't afford that!"

"Vik, I'm going to let you in on a secret. Most successful people are much more accessible than you'd think. Before I made it as an en

trepreneur, I was able to have personal conversations with CEOs, top-tier investors, and even best-selling authors. Now, here's what you need to do…"

Over the next half hour, Matt explained his foolproof method for connecting with and learning from successful people.

Step 1: Make A List

Write down 5-10 influential people who are in your area. They don't have to be huge names, but they should be successful in some way.

Research these people as much as possible. Find out about their backgrounds and experiences. This way, you'll be well-prepared for your face to face meeting.

Step 2: Get In Touch

E-mail rarely works. Successful people usually get so much e-mail that they ignore most of what they receive.

Instead, try cold-calling. Look up their name in the directory and give them a call out of the blue. When they answer, make sure you have a 30-second speech prepared. Here's what Matt used:

"Hi, you don't know me, but my name is Matt Wilson and I run a small online business. I've always looked up to you and since we're in the same area, I was wondering if I could take you out to lunch sometime and pick your brain a little bit on how to build a successful business."

This makes it very hard for them to say no.

If you can't connect with them via phone, try other techniques such as Twitter. Many people prefer Twitter to e-mail, and I've personally found you're much more likely to get a response.

Matt also used some creative methods to reach out. One time, he mailed a package containing a coffee mug and a $5 Starbucks card to a successful businessman. When the businessman opened the box, he also received a note explaining the gift and asking for a face-to-face meeting.

Once again, Matt stood out and made it difficult to say no.

Step 3: Ask Great Questions

So now you've got your face-to-face. Remember, you're trying to get valuable advice, so don't spend the whole session talking about yourself.

Instead, prepare a list of specific questions you'd like to ask. Do this beforehand. You don't need too many – 3-5 should be plenty for an hour-long meeting.

Don't ask general things that you could find out elsewhere. You'll stand out more (and learn more) if you get into nitty-gritty stuff that is unique to this individual.

Bad question: What has been the most important reason for your success?

Good question: I noticed that you beat out (big firm XYZ) for the marketing contract. What specifically helped you overcome the objections that your firm is too small and inexperienced?

Step 4: Listen

If you ask great questions, people will start opening up. Before you know it, they'll be telling you techniques and secrets that they usually reserve for expensive consulting sessions.

At this point, many people will interrupt to jump in with their own stories. Resist this urge!

You are there to learn, not to talk. So shut up and listen, and you'll come out ahead.

Step 5: Offer To Help

Your hour's almost up. Whether it's lunch or coffee, make sure that you pick up the tab.

Wrap up the meeting by asking if you can stay in touch. Also, offer to help them any way you can. This is a good time to spend 1-2 minutes talking about yourself…but make sure it's in the context of helping them. They don't want your life story, only the parts that are relevant to their business.

If you follow these steps, you'll be on your way to learning a ton…for free!

Have you ever reached out to influencers? How did it pan out?

Leave a Response