As evidenced by this image, I'm just another guy wearing a plastic popcorn bucket on his head while playing "Star Wars" with my boys at home.

My point: I'm just a regular guy, a virtual nobody.

And yet, I've been able to get New York Times Bestselling Authors, internationally known business icons and other "big shots" to promote my LinkedIn online courses and trainings to their massive audiences.

The list includes, among others:

Chris Brogan
Bob Burg
John Lee Dumas
Ray Edwards
Dan Miller
Jairek Robbins

And I want to spend the rest of this post teaching you how to do the exact same thing - even if you're a virtual "nobody" like me!

LinkedIn Has Killed The Gatekeepers

The first - and most important - step in this process is understanding how to go about contacting your ideal "big shots" in the first place.

In every instance, I've found LinkedIn to be the most effective method.

Here's why: LinkedIn has killed the gatekeepers.

When you send someone a direct, 1-on-1 message on LinkedIn, not only does the person see it in his or her LinkedIn inbox, but he or she also might get an alert on his or her phone (if they have it enabled) along with getting an email sent to his or her primary email address.

(Almost everyone who originally set up a LinkedIn account, even years ago, used his or her primary email address. This is key!)

With that in mind, here are several ways to connect with your "big shot" on LinkedIn:

  • Send a personalized invitation to the "big shot" inviting him or her to connect.
  • With the text of your invitation, treat the big shot like a normal person. Don't fawn and gush over him or her. Instead, acknowledge what you like about his or her work, why he or she will want to connect with you and why you're reaching out. Save the hype and hyperbole - be straightforward, friendly and professional in tone.
  • If the "big shot" doesn't allow random connections (meaning you have to have his or her personal email to send a LinkedIn invite), use a LinkedIn InMail to send a direct note.

Either way, LinkedIn affords you several methods to reach your "big shot" directly.

In my case, I reached out to a handful of "big shots" on LinkedIn, and almost all of them mentioned in their replies to me that they noticed my message personally.

Many then handed me off to an assistant or employee to work on the details of our new relationship, but my point is this: they engaged with me! I had the start of a relationship to build from.

The next section is going to show you what you must offer the "big shot" in order to get him or her to not only take notice of you, but also want to reply as quickly as possible.

Be Creative. Establish Credibility. Bring Value. (Repeat.)

In approaching a big shot, you'll want to be creative, credible and quick.

One of the A-List business celebrities who has given me permission to talk at length about our relationship is Chris Brogan.

I approached Chris cold on LinkedIn and told him that I wanted to rewrite his entire LinkedIn profile for free. I also explained that he didn't have to invest any time or effort in the endeavor!

Instead, I'd take all the risk - I just wanted his permission to try.

In short, I was taking all the risk and asking nothing of Chris Brogan.

You Must EARN the Time and Attention of Others Online

This is important! Too many of us are out there with our virtual hand out, asking for free advice, asking for someone to promote us, asking for someone to buy from us ... and we're doing it without first earning the right to make that type of ask.

With Chris Brogan, I started by trying to earn his attention with a creative, credible and quick invitation to do something I thought he'd find valuable.

Next, I needed to earn his respect and additional attention by actually delivering what I promised - a great LinkedIn profile rewrite.

Do Your Best Work and Deliver the Goods

When you get the permission to do someone like Chris Brogan a free favor, do it like they are paying you top dollar!

I spent hours researching Brogan's brand and backstory, doing my best to get into his professional and personal head so that I could create a revamped LinkedIn profile that was both authentic to who he was and helpful to his business goals.

I did the same with the other "big shots" I approached.

Remember: If you want to get someone's attention, do great work! Dazzle them. Impress them!

If you do, people feel socially and professionally obligated to return the favor.

It's proven that when we give someone something for free, and without (initially) asking for anything in return, the law of reciprocity works its magic.

The bigger the favor we do, the more obligated the person feels to pay you back.

Leverage, Leverage, Leverage!

After I'd earned Chris' attention and proven my worth by delivering a killer profile rewrite, I made a couple of key "asks" when the time felt right.

The first was to ask Chris to share word about my free LinkedIn webinars with his audience, which he did in a very generous way via his email list and social media channels.

The second was to ask him for a public testimonial, which he again did.

The third was to ask if I could drop his name in approaching other "big shots," and he again agreed.

It was much easier to land additional "big shots" once I could say, "Hey, I've worked with Chris Brogan, you can ask him all about me. He trusts my work and will vouch for me."

Happy Endings? Not Always.

In addition to working with Chris, I've reached out to dozens of "big shots," and I've rewritten dozens of LinkedIn profiles that took countless hours. All without getting paid a dime.

In some cases - like with Chris - my efforts resulted in huge, game-changing wins for me and my business.

Despite putting in the same type and quality of work with several other "big shots," results weren't always so grand. But that's okay. I learned a lot about what people at the "A-List" level are like in the business world - what makes them tick, what to watch out for, and much more.

Like anything, every single attempt doesn't always result in a home run. But I learn something in each instance, and improve the next time out.

The Reality of Becoming an "A-Lister" Online

In researching the stories behind so many of today's biggest business authors, entrepreneurs and influencers, I've also seen a common trend: They all started small and worked their faces off to get where they are today. Nobody handed these guys anything.

Why should you expect your journey to be any different?

Published on: Jul 6, 2017
Like this column? Sign up to subscribe to email alerts and you'll never miss a post.
The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of