What is the best way to start an introduction?
What is the best way to start an introduction with a producer or agent? My goal is to get personally invited to fundraisers within the business. How should I approach this?
One of the best approaches for agents is to ask, "Should I ask you directly about this fundraiser or should I have a PR person do it?" If they say "Have your representative call me." You can get the info and go through the channels or they'll just walk you through it on the spot if they have the authority. Often they'll need to check to see who is okay to bring etc so even if you personally call later you can usually get the info.
The first thing you have to do is your homework! Research the producer or agent to get a concrete understanding of what prior personnel they have chosen to employ. Research the organizations they have contributed funds to over the last 24-36 months. The best way to start an introduction with a producer or agent is to know what is important enough to them to contribute funds. Knowing this will give you a "leg up" on the competition to get a personal invitation to top fundraisers within the business.
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Be honest, and ask for help...Most people are always willing to help
There is some great advice on this forum already, perhaps I can offer a different perspective.
To start an introduction with anyone, I use the following methodology:
1. Identify who I am looking to be introduced to (i.e. a specific Producer/Agent vs any Producer/Agent);
2. Research, research, research! At a minimum, you should know everything there is to know about this person that's available online (LinkedIn, Twitter, Published Works, Google searches).
3. Work backwards and see if you can identify any 2nd party or 3rd party connections (soft introductions or recommendations by a person known to them will always be better than not).
4. If this is not available, follow the person on social media and interact via sharing their posts, commenting on published articles, retweeting their tweets and establishing an initial connection.
5. Before you attempt direct contact, ensure that you have something of value to offer them (in their eyes, not yours). Solve their problem and you are halfway there. This doesn't need to be war and piece - it can be something as simple as an article or demo that may be of interest to them (same industry/competitor).
6. Don't try and sell them - you must establish rapport and build credibility before the word "you" enters any sentence.
7. Listen first, talk less.
8. Help them without pursuing your own interests - offer to take a project off their hands or volunteer to work for free (reciprocity comes 10 fold).
9. Keep initial conversation light but focussed on them - a nice networking opener is "What do you love most about what you do?" or "I'm not sure where to go away for vacation this year, have you been anywhere good recently?"
10. Follow up! If you don't do this in a personalised manner in the next 24-48 hours after meeting them you have wasted your opportunity - they will forget you.
11. Remember to always add value and have their interests front of mind.
12. The rest will take care of itself.
Hopefully that helps.
I have some friends [on Facebook] who turn up almost magically at events here in Malaysia. Recently, my friend Al turned up at a hot air balloon event in Penang - the pearl of the orient. I think the important thing is to look at what they wear, how they pose in photo ops and what expression they have. You'll often find they have a back story that they display to people who are famous, talented and rich.
A toughe one. Here is my appreoach. I is is not about selling. When you don;t know the fochs, I would loot at it as a 3 part parocess: Customer Success 0 how you have helped other people in similar situations. How you can focus on their Organization, and how you would be different than what they have seen in the Past.. I say this in Account Execution Planning a lot: It is about Relationship, Roadmap to Revenue, and Customer Success. When you don't know people, it is about doing 2 things and Neither is Selling:
1. Making them Curious - Why is this person Different?
2. If they are Curious then they will ask a question "You indicate you are different.. How are you different?
www,.dailysalesthoughts.com for more ideas!
Great question as Josie said, and just to add to the wonderful suggestions here..(in no particular order)
1.Be real (Producers and agents are people too and they understand the way people work. Remember, this is what they do - You just get better with experience).
2. Always do your research and prepare. Have something tangible to talk about (Doesn't have to involve a business deal) maybe a forth-coming event you know they are involved with.
And as Josie correctly points out, build professional connections. LinkedIn is a good place to start
Hope it helps,