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The VIP “Followup System” That Makes You Friends And Money

05/19/2014

in Stories

Imagine this: You’re back in 10th grade, and you’re walking your crush home from school.

It’s a cool autumn day, just a little breezy. Leaves are fluttering about the ground, making delicate little scraping noises as the sun dips slightly lower in the sky.

A subtle chill floats by, and you put your arm around her shoulders to shield her, then you let it rest there. Everything feels so good. It’s magnetic.

You get to the front of her door.

“I wonder if her parents are home?”

You both stop. She turns to you.

Her: “Well, I had a really nice time. Thanks for walking me home…”

You: “Yeah, no problem…it’s, you know, on my way.”

Her: “Ok, so..thanks again.”

Is she looking at your lips? This pause is so uncomfortable. You’ve been wanting to kiss this girl for two years, and you finally got to walk her home. Now the two of you are frozen in front of her door staring at each other.

System overload.

You have NO idea what to do.

You: “Ok…well…see you in class!”

You turn and basically speed walk away, hating every molecule in your stupid body, but have absolutely no idea how you could have escalated the situation.

You got no followup game, homie.

The next day, when you see her in the hall she walks right past you as if she can’t even see you.

What the hell just happened?

*******

Now, to be clear, the super-detailed, highly realistic story above has never happened to me.

It happened to a good friend and I’m happy I could share it anonymously with 30,000 readers today.

It’s fun to revisit high school angst — so many lessons to learn from pubescent pain. But more than that, the story above contains a nugget of truth that most of us STILL don’t get. Even when we’re well into adulthood and can manage to muster up the courage for a first kiss.

The Social Implications of a Poor Followup

You did it.

You connected with your hero or someone you deeply admire.

At first, it seemed like this day would never come. But you followed the step-by-step scripts and got a meeting. Heck, maybe you’re reading this on your way to have coffee with that person RIGHT NOW.

But if you’re like most people (including myself at one point), you probably haven’t put too much thought into what comes next.

What happens AFTER you connect with a successful or famous person?

Should you just say…

“Oh, it was so great to meet you. Ok, well…bye!”

We saw how well that worked out in our first story. It’s uncomfortable. It’s weird. And in some cases, it makes the person of interest feel used.

So let’s back it up for a minute and think about things from the perspective of a VIP, or someone whose time in extremely limited. 

Every day, they wake up to hundreds of emails, phone calls, texts and messages on ever social channel conceivable. They parse through it methodically, almost instinctually. Most attempts to contact them, they miss. Not because they’re mean, or inconsiderate.

Not even because they don’t WANT to read your email (or tweet or Facebook message.)

But simply because, logistically, they can’t.

It’s literally impossible for them to take in ALL the information that’s being thrown at their way. Yet YOU managed to get through the haze. If you’re smart, there are several ways to do this:

  • Through mutual connections
  • Through social media/contributing to their community
  • By offering them value or free services
  • By interviewing them

(See the complete list here…)

You make it to the meeting, you’ve prepared notes beforehand so that you’re asking meaningful, engaging questions. Now the meeting is over.

You can’t just end it with a handshake and hope to “catch them later.” You have to put just as much care into keeping in touch as you did to connect with them in the first place.

A great followup does three things:

  1. Lets the VIP know that you genuinely care about their time and appreciate them
  2. Dramatically separates your from the “herd” of fans who want to take without giving anything in return
  3. Just makes you look really cool, and on top of your game

Here’s the exact method I’ve used to create wonderful followup experiences with some VIPs in my circle, including successful authors and entrepreneurs like Tim Ferriss, Neil Strauss and Dave Asprey.

This is the fastest way that I know to make friends with people who have the power to change your life.

Some of the influencers I’ve used this system with have appreciated it so much that they even invested my new company, Pavlok.

Use it with care.

1.) Pay UNUSUALLY close attention during your meeting

It’s so easy to zone out when others are talking. Even when you’re genuinely interested, it’s very easy to…

See what just happened there. Don’t let it happen to you. Your time with the VIP is sacred. Be present in every single moment.

A good way to do this is by bringing a notebook to take notes. At a physical meeting (like coffee) pulling out a handsome moleskin journal and taking attentive notes is especially impressive. Not only does it keep you on track — but it also subtly strokes your guest’s ego by reminding them that they are important.

If you’re meeting on the phone, ask if it’s ok to record the call so that you can refer to it later. Most people won’t mind, and the notes you get will be key in constructing the followup document.

2.) Create a custom followup document that highlights the key points of your meeting

If you’ve ever been to a long meeting and tried to remember the details later, you know that things can get a little fuzzy. Similarly, if you’re dealing with a VIP who takes potentially dozens of meetings per week, you can expect that they’ll forget some things from your meeting as well — even if you are wearing your “good” cologne.

Create a simple document that outlines the flow of your conversation.

It could be as simple as:

TOPIC #1:

  • Key takeaway
  • Key takeaway
  • Key takeaway

TOPIC #2:

  • Key takeaway
  • Key takeaway
  • Key takeaway

TOPIC #3:

  • Key takeaway
  • Key takeaway
  • Key takeaway

This tool is subtly powerful because it let’s you call back to SPECIFIC conversation points when you talk again — and reinforces the value that BOTH of you got from the interaction (remember, even VIPs want to learn.)

Pro tip: I have my assistant Caleb compile my loose notes into a beautiful powerpoint slidedeck using an attractive template, then turn that template into a PDF. This leaves a TREMENDOUS impression on the VIP, who has almost certainly never received such a high attention to detail from a casual interaction.

3.) Give back massive value based on the VIP’s needs and turn them into a friend

Its important you follow up with the person the day after and thank them. I like to invite the person out for drinks. It’s your chance to turn the person into a friend.

One of the most effective followups I’ve ever received was from my good friend James Swanwick, who is the former host of ESPN SportsCenter runs a the Alpha Male Club Podcast.

James followed up the next day with SIX emails — the first email said, “These are 7 things we talked about, and my followup.” That email finished by saying “I’ve sent five emails to you with book summaries of books I think you’d be interested in. Feel free to check it out.”

That followup—with book summaries—has stuck with me until today as the most effective followup I’ve ever seen because it gave me massive value that was specifically tailored to my needs.

*******

There you have it — my entire system for following up with VIPs in a way that makes you stand out, creates new friendships and in some cases, can even make you money.

Does this system sound like something that you’d like to use?

Let me know in the comments!

{ 12 comments… }

Vinay June 4, 2014 at 2:52 am

Thanks for sharing!

Reply

Tim May 21, 2014 at 11:58 am

I had a phone meeting like this yesterday and I did take notes. I will try to compile our conversation into a slide deck like you recommend and see what happens.

Thanks for the pro tips!

Reply

Ricardo Abreu May 20, 2014 at 7:38 am

Great article, Awesome sharing! If you are truly meeting someone special for you this tips will definitively help anyone to take the relation further but you have to feel genuine feelings,motivation and passion for that person or common interests that you both share…I wonder how many time we talk too much with that VIP and reveal ideas and innovative point of views that are later used without give us the credit. Imagine someone stilling Pavlok idea from Maneesh, just because the VIP have what it takes to go faster and with stronger (resources)! One VIP can later become a friend, but in most cases the rapport its not immediate.

Reply

Bartholomew Worthington May 20, 2014 at 12:52 am

As I read this post the saying that popped in my head was, “Begin with the end in mind.”

Seems applicable that as you go into an interaction with someone you admire, you would have a plan already in place to further solidify your connection with that person. Great tips that are easily actionable.

Thanks.

Reply

vinay June 4, 2014 at 3:10 am

Great Thought – “Begin with the End”

Reply

Rebecca May 19, 2014 at 5:13 pm

This is great! You can also reverse this too. Especially when you’re starting and people are starting to interview you.

After a radio interview I sent a thank you email with a copy of my book that we were promoting. They thought it was so classy they will now promote anything I do.

Reply

Terrin May 19, 2014 at 4:47 pm

This is exactly what I needed to read today. While I haven’t had the opportunity to meet with the VIP I admire in person yet, they’ve just begun to get into public speaking (maybe 2 or 3 events so far) and creating a document with my take-a-ways of the presentation I was able to see on YouTube is the perfect way to reach out. I love the work you put into this blog, thanks!

Reply

Marvin May 19, 2014 at 1:57 pm

I’d love to use this. Always looking for ways to better engage VIP’s I come across. Recently I’ve done it by doing work or small projects for them. I’m going to give this a shot!

Reply

Andre May 19, 2014 at 1:21 pm

That opening scenario illustrating poor follow-up sounded like something from my past. Yikes 😀

Some pro-tips here. Will bookmark for reference, thanks!

Reply

Lily Ann Fouts May 19, 2014 at 11:29 am

Excellent and very relevant post for me right now. There are several specific VIPs I would like to touch base with but have been hesitant because I am unsure of the best ways to follow up and create the best value for both them and myself. The last thing I want to do is make a good connection and then blow it. Your advice here will be extremely helpful for me as I move forward; thanks!

Reply

LatexX May 19, 2014 at 9:57 am

Dang, it sounds like a golden system that i COULD have used when i randomly and unexpectedly met a top VIP in my field and he showed interest in my work.

I did not see it coming. I was doing a show (i’m a magician) and after i finished, i learned that he, the MOST SUCCESSFUL person in the world in my field, was watching me work. We meet outside the theater, shook hands, talked a little bit and all of a sudden he says: do you have a card? I gave him mine, asked for his but he said ‘oh, we’ll whatsapp’.
After that encounter, i knew i had to somehow keep in touch with him, but i surely did not know how. We became facebook friends and all i could come up was a UBER LAME facebook message saying ‘i hope you enjoyed the rest of your stay in the city’. DUH.

Days later i messaged him again, but this time i sent an elaborate mail commenting our meeting, praising his work, and declaring interest in working with him. The second message was much better but i think he did not even read it.

Living and learning, i guess.

Reply

dice May 19, 2014 at 9:53 am

Thanks Seth.

This is actually one of the best posts from HTS that I’ve read so far. This is really a topic of particular interest to me.

Now, I have two questions:

1.) Don’t VIP’s know that they’re VIP’s? So if someone is trying to make them feel special, wouldn’t that VIP get a feel of “What the hell, man? I don’t need this guy to stroke my ego.” Or that by appearing too eager, we appear too inferior that the vibe we give out makes the VIP think that we are unworthy of friendship?

2.) In regard to appearing too eager, doesn’t it look that sending out too much e-mail appear like a desperate attempt to connect? That maybe these tricks of trying to stroke the VIP’s ego are for those who are not yet that high up the ladder?

Thanks for shedding some light on this.

Reply

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