In chapter 2 of Mark Twain's iconic novel, Tom Sawyer , Tom becomes the envy of the neighborhood gang when he "gets" to whitewash Aunt Becky's fence. His marketing is so impressive that others actually pay him for the privilege of taking a few swipes with the paintbrush.
I recently interviewed a young man named Navid Moazzez, known in the online world as the "King of Virtual Summits." In just a few years, he's transformed himself from a law school dropout to a multiple-six-figure Internet entrepreneur, responsible for creating some of the biggest and most profitable virtual events in the world.
Want to know what one of his "secrets to success" was?
Moazzez shared with me how he's been able to raise his visibility, authority, and income through the Tom Sawyer Effect, convincing other high-level business owners, coaches, and influencers to help him build his business.
Here, Moazzez shares his five tips on how any business owner can do to entice others to work on their behalf.
1) Build relationships.
"You have to build authentic, powerful relationships before you need them," Moazzez says. In other words, from day one of your business you should be reaching out to those in your industry to establish a connection. "It never fails," says Moazzez. "When I invest in a relationship, it always pays off."
For instance, in Moazzez's most recent online summit, List Building School, he has over 100 separate partners who have agreed to help spread the word and promote the event to their audiences. The result: Over 20,000 people registered for the event within the first couple of weeks of promotion.
2) Create value first.
When you connect with others, you're looking for ways to support them, not how they can help you.
Moazzez says other business owners, especially the high-level influencers, will be much more likely to help you out if you've gone out of your way time and time again to give them a hand, whether it's investing in their courses, spreading the word about their new book, leaving thoughtful comments on their blog posts, and brokering useful introductions for them.
This social currency will pay off big when, after months (or even years!) of helping others, you turn around and make a small "ask."
3) Make it a win-win.
Just as Tom Sawyer made his chore seem mightily attractive, you need to make your offer value-packed for your colleagues and partners.
Moazzez "pays" in several ways. First, List Building School is free for a basic pass, so his partners are able to present a quality event at no cost to their audiences. Next, registered attendees are offered a low-cost ticket upgrade, and the revenue is split 50-50 with the referring party. Finally, Moazzez makes an additional offer for another one of his high-value courses at the end of his events, which is also split with the referrer.
"It's a win-win-win," he says. The attendee gets a great free event, the partner gets a revenue share, and Moazzez builds his audience and his business.
4) Don't forget the paint-brushes.
Tom wouldn't have gotten far in his whitewash enterprise if he hadn't had enough paint and brushes to go around. Likewise, Moazzez stresses that you must provide all the information and resources others will need to help spread the word.
"I spend between $5,000 - $10,000 per event creating custom resources for my affiliate partners," he says, including 'swipe' email and social media text that partners can cut and paste, graphics, and more.
For example, for List Building School, he commissioned a 109-page "2016 List Building Playbook" packed with list building strategies, discounts, profiles of the List Building School speakers, and more. The Playbook was given to his partners with the instructions to share far and wide -- for free. This "playbook" has been downloaded more than 20,000 times in two weeks.
5) Make it fun.
A modern-day Tom Sawyer would be hopping on Snapchat or Facebook Live to share images or video of his buddies painting happily away, and making sure there was a hashtag to track the event.
Moazzez always wants his partners to feel like they're part of something special. He has a private Facebook group where he answers questions and shares updates, and during the promotion period for his events, he sponsors contests and challenges to keep everyone engaged and active.
He admits it's not cheap, "...but it's worth it to keep everyone motivated."
If you're interested in following in Moazzez's footsteps, start with a picket fence rather than the Great Wall of China.
Moazzez recommends reaching out to a few contacts you already have, working on strengthening your relationships, and then venturing into the idea of co-promotions. A handful of quality partners who are all dedicated to mutual support is the perfect starting place.
There's plenty of fences -- and paint -- to go around.