Career Advice

How To Build Industry Relationships Without Feeling Sleazy

Build Industry Relationships

As an entrepreneur, you want to know the #1 reason you’re not marketing your business the way you want to?
(Hint: It’s not because you don’t have enough time, resources or know-how.)

It’s because most of the marketing strategies, advice and best practices you’re coming across make sense in theory, but don’t feel right for your business.

In fact, most of them feel pretty creepy.

Like, you’ve seen examples of “winning” sales pages from marketing gurus a million times, but don’t they seem a little… long?

And sure, you understand building a large, engaged email list is crucial for your overall marketing strategy. But don’t other people get annoyed when they see businesses pop up in their inboxes three times a week like you do?

And yes, you know it’s important to build relationships with high-profile people in your industry, but are you really supposed to send an email out of the blue to the guy who spoke at the 5000 person conference you just attended and ask if he’d email his community about your product?

Not happening.

The good news?

There’s another approach to marketing your business, which not only feels better—it works better, too.

Which is this: Instead of stringing together marketing best practices and strategies that don’t feel great (or, truthfully, that you don’t fully understand), I want you to pay attention to the heart-beating humans you’re interacting with—whether they’re your clients, potential clients or partners —and really understand what they need, fear and believe.

Remember: People don’t buy product. They buy people.

So, with that in mind, today I want to walk you through a step-by-step approach to building relationships with high-profile people in your industry, because it is an important marketing strategy, and one that, once you get the hang of, can catapult your business.

But it’s only going to work if you ditch the creepy, sleazy strategies you’ve read about and treat these relationships with the same thought, generosity and kindness that you treat all the other relationships in your life.

Deal?

Here’s how:

How To Build Industry Relationships Without Feeling Sleazy

1. Pick 5 People to Contact

Whenever I talk to my clients about building their networks, the most common question I get back is: Who should I reach out to?
To which I answer: Whoever you genuinely want to build a relationship with.

Did you recently see a speaker at a conference that you connected with? Is there a person in your industry whose emails you always read and forward? Is there someone you’ve come across a few times who you think might be interesting to partner with on your next course or product?

These are the people you want to reach out to.

Who you don’t want to add to your list? People you feel motivated to know just because they have large followings.

They’re going to see your ulterior motives, you’re going to creep yourself out trying to woo them and any relationship you create is going to feel disingenuous.

So, pick five people you’re genuinely interested in connecting with and jot them down.

2. Find a Way to Be Helpful

Business relationships follow almost all of the same emotional and social cues that our personal relationships do—and yet we approach them so differently.

If you wanted to build a friendship with someone, would you reach ask them to do something for you in your first interaction?

Probably not.

Same goes for building relationships with people in your industry.
Instead, find a way to be helpful.

For example:

  • Do you offer a product or service you think they’d find interesting that you’d be willing to offer for free (like a free month of your social media tool, 5 of your best skincare products or a free logo design?).
  • Did you recently buy their product or book and love it? If so, could you offer to be a case study or write a really nice testimonial?
  • Could you volunteer at their upcoming event?

If, in your introduction, you can offer to jump in and help in some way, these people will much more interested in getting to know you—and take you more seriously—than if you introduce yourself and ask for something from them.

Think about it from your perspective. If the tables were turned, wouldn’t you?

3. Reach Out (Like a Human!)

Whether you introduce yourself by email, social media or, if you have the opportunity, in person, don’t overthink it.There’s nothing that turns people off more—especially people who get hundreds of emails a day—than a wordy, overly pitchy, beating-around-the-bush email.

Instead: Introduce yourself, offer to help in a very specific way, leave your contact details and press send.

Here’s an example:

Hi Marie,

My name is Alex Honeysett and I’m a Brand + Marketing Strategist for entrepreneurs.

I saw you have an upcoming event here in NYC. I’m a huge fan of your work and have had great success with several of your programs.

Any chance you’re looking for volunteers? I have several years experience planning events and would love to help out—from pre-event duties to supporting you on the day itself.

If so, would love to connect with you or a team member.

Thanks for the time and hope to see you then!

Alex
alex@alexhoneysett.com

So, who’s the first person you’re going to reach out to? I’d love to know and cheer you on. Shoot me an email at alex@alexhoneysett.com.

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