In this article, I’m going to share something with you that was not only a great example of the wrong way to reach out to an authority figure, but also something that was pretty funny.
Today was a big day, I was able to launch my new book called Leverage on Amazon Kindle, and with that I sent an email out to all of my subscribers letting them know that it was now available. Now, when I launch new products and create new things and share it with my community, I know that not everybody is going to love what I create, and even though a thousand people might love what I produced, there’s always those one or two individuals who when they write to you in a negative way, they really stand out.
So that being said… I got what seemed to be a complimentary email that literally turned into one of the best examples of what not to do when you’re trying to do business with someone that is an authority figure. I wanted to share that with you today.
It started off with a very complimentary tone. The person who seemed very nice and very sincere talked about how much they loved the things that I have been writing regularly over the last few days.
First of all, I just want to say that I really enjoy your material. Whether its a podcast or a video or whatever, I usually seem to learn something. And I’m looking forward to the Empire Academy session in the next hour here. So thanks for everything 😉
So nice… so pleasant…
But then came the inevitable but…
With that said, please don’t take this the wrong way.I was going to take you upon on your generous offer below, and still might. But then, I went ahead and did a cursory scan of the beginning chapter and the Table of Contents. And a couple of things stood out immediately: you obviously didn’t get a proofreader, did you? Or did you do that part yourself? How about SpellCheck?
After the compliment, the first thing that they noted when they went and read the free sample of my book was that I had a couple grammar and spelling mistakes. They stated that because of those mistakes, they were very hesitant to spend a $1.99 on a kindle book, and that I obviously did not have a proofreader or an editor look at the book before it went out. On top of that, they went and listed out a couple of different examples of where I had misspellings, wrong punctuation, and so on….
Here’s the best part of the whole email though.. after assuming I didn’t hire an editor or proofreader (I did, but mistakes happen), and after ripping me for all of the apparent mistakes in my book they go on to ask for favors as if we were long-time friends…
Anyhow, just wanted to let you know. If you can’t find someone in your circle (maybe some millennial with a useless liberal arts diploma and $100k in outstanding student loans?) I might be able to work something out as a trade with you: one of your informational products, or perhaps a 15 minute phone call coaching session? I’m seriously looking at launching a drop shipping business utilizing AZ and EBay and could use some advice …
Uhh… no (lol.)
Now, the funny thing is that in my book Leverage, I actually talk about how to reach out to people who are authority figures and who could potentially push your business forward. Obviously because this person was unwilling to spend $1.99 to buy a kindle book while it was on sale, they didn’t get to see that chapter where I explained the best ways to reach out to an authority figure.
I want to touch on some of those different strategies in this particular article, but you can read all about it in my latest book, Leverage.
Before we get into some of the strategies on how to reach out to an authority figure, let’s dissect the email that this person wrote first.
Dissecting the e-mail
Let’s start with the compliment at the beginning….
It is always a great thing to compliment people even if you don’t agree with what they’re saying, so I definitely applaud this person for taking the time to say something nice in the beginning. That is a very, very good strategy and I highly recommend it no matter what you’re doing.
However, the next part where there is an assumption that something happened, (i.e, that no proofreader or editor was hired in order to make sure that the book was ready for launch) whenever you assume something, you’re projecting your own reality onto somebody that might not actually be the case. That can really leave a bad taste in somebody’s mouth.
In fact, you’re essentially saying, hey, I don’t know you from Adam, but I don’t mind projecting my own reality on you and in my reality you are incompetent.
It kind of makes you look like an idiot.
Next, pointing out all of the different mistakes in the book especially when it comes to grammar and punctuation is probably the worst thing that you can do to an author, especially one who is teaching and explaining something about a particular subject rather than a novel or a short story.
Books that are on specific subjects, say on business, don’t necessarily have to be perfect, they just have to be able to give the results that the book promises. For example, if a book by Warren Buffet was able to show me how to create $100 million in less than a year, am I going to care whether or not he put a comma in the wrong place? Absolutely not, because the value of the book is more in the information than the punctuation and grammar.
Lastly, the part of the email where the person talks about how they can be a grammarian or provide a particular service in exchange for another product or service is very poorly thought out and in very bad taste.
Essentially what you’re doing is you are criticizing an author or authority figure, and then saying that the only way that you would be willing to help them is by taking something in return. Who would really want that? It would be like saying, “Hey, I see that you have a broken leg. I’ll help you get up the stairs, but I want to have three hours of your time where you can teach me how to play the guitar.”
No, you just help the person up the stairs who needs the help without expecting any type of repayment.
How to properly reach out to an authority figure
Now, the right way to reach out to an authority figure who you hope to do business with is to always add value first. You never want to be in a position where you are taking from the other person before you even know who they are, and before they even know you as well. You constantly want to be in a position where you are providing some kind of value before asking anything. How do you do that? Well it’s simple. One of the easiest ways is actually buying one of their products, and not only buying one of their products, using their product, becoming successful with it, and then giving them a testimonial of some sort. Not only did you help their business by providing capital for it, but you also are showing the results and giving them more social proof that they can use to sell more products in the first place.
Another way that you can add value is perhaps volunteering to do work for them without asking for anything in return. Yes, it sucks having to do work when you’re not getting paid, but it’s an easy way for the authority figure to see whether or not you are able to provide value to them and to their organization. Either way, you never want to be in a position where you are taking right from the beginning. Going back to that original email that I got, the person was immediately in a mode where they were taking. They were criticizing, which I don’t mind, I have thick skin, but not only that, after they criticized, they wanted something in return.
I don’t know this person…
I don’t care to know this person…
and I can assure you there’s no way and heck I would ever trade any services with this person, because of the way they came off as taking right from the beginning…
If you want to reach out to somebody who you want to do business with, the first and foremost principle you need to have in your mind when you’re communicating with them is, am I adding value, and am I in a position where I am not taking any value away from them? If you remember this principle, you can move your business forward extremely quickly by leveraging authority figures.
On a funny side note, throughout this whole situation I was able to leverage his email to get free proofreading (at least for the free parts of my book that he pointed out lol).