It takes a special kind of marketing to get yourself into a meeting with anyone you want. That is why it also takes an equally special guest to teach you how to do exactly just that. In this episode, Alicia Dunams invites Stu Heinecke over to share his tips and tricks on doing contact marketing. Stu is a bestselling business author, a Hall of Fame nominated marketer, and a Wall Street Journal cartoonist. With his book, How to Get a Meeting with Anyone, Stu spills some techniques on breaking through the barriers that separate you from the people who can change everything about your career and life. Get inside this conversation to know how to do contact marketing the right way, and see the untapped selling power of building human to human connection.
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Get A Meeting (With Anyone!)
With Stu Heinecke
I’m excited about our guest, Stu Heinecke.
I’m glad to be here.
It’s great to have you. I’m going to jump right into your bio, Stu. First of all, this is the first time we met, so I love that. Let me tell everyone about you. Stu Heinecke is a bestselling business author, a Hall of Fame-nominated marketer, and one of the Wall Street Journal cartoonists.
It’s the usual combination.
It’s a fantastic combination. With that, you don’t have one book and you don’t have two books. You have three books on marketing. Your niche is how to get any meeting with anyone.
Being a cartoonist and a marketer had served me well. Here’s the thing about cartoons, they are the best-read and remembered parts of magazines and newspapers. That’s according to readership surveys. They’re powerful, pardon the pun, but people are drawn to them. You think about the nature of humor. Humor is about truth revealed in a twist. It’s like when we laugh at something where before we can even catch our breath, we’re saying, “That’s true. That’s what’s happening.” It drops a little bomb of truth on you in a way that’s delightful.
Because comics need to convey in a short amount of time, in a short amount of space, something quippy, fun, and witty. It tells a tale with only a few words.
The latest cartoon I’ve been working on, I wish I could show it to you, but it’s a woman on the phone and she’s standing in her office and she’s saying, “You’re the experts. Let me tell you how this is going to work.” How many of us who work with clients have been through that? Some clients will not listen like, “I’m clever to hire you because you’re the expert, but let me tell you how this is going to work.” It’s like, “Are you kidding?”
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Specifically, what I love to talk about on Authoring Life is start with the question, “Why?” Why did you write books? You’re a cartoonist. Why did you go out and end up writing three books?”
I’m a cartoonist, but I’m also a copywriter. That’s when I was creating direct mail campaigns at the beginning of my career. That was a writing discipline. It helped a lot. If you can write, that’s such a valuable skill, but you have to hone it. Like cartooning, you have to practice it and hone it. It doesn’t come automatically. It doesn’t come right away. That helped. That means that I have the mechanics for it. Why would I write a book? The reason is I discovered this thing that, first of all, I was doing it. I tripped upon it and then discovered that there were many other people doing these interesting things to get meetings.
I used my cartoons to breakthrough. I quickly discovered that if I send someone a cartoon about them, and it’s got to be funny, it’s got to be on target. If I send it to them, I’m going to get through. I’ve reached presidents, prime ministers, celebrities, and lots of C-level executives and top decision-makers like, “I could get through to anyone.” At first, I thought, “Aren’t I cool? I have a secret weapon.” Then I realized everybody has this problem. They have been solving it. Humans are creative, resilient, and resourceful. They find a way. Life finds a way. We find a way. What’s everyone else doing? The more I got exposed to the stories of what other people are doing, the more I realized there’s this whole shadow form of marketing out there that didn’t have a name. I named it contact marketing in my first book, How to Get a Meeting with Anyone. I need to contact marketing. It’s this practice of using often audacious means to break through, break down these barriers, but certainly break through to the people who can change everything about the scale of their careers and their lives.
It’s fantastic, contact marketing. The thing is receiving a comic, it shows that you took the time to understand the person that you’re reaching out to. We’re in a busy world. We’re in a world where people are inundated with emails, contacts, social media messages, direct messages, etc., which you need to break the mold. What I hear from you, Stu, is that you did that by using your skill of drawing and comics. What if you don’t have that skill?
You’re out of luck. You have to read the book.
Share with us what are a few tips. First of all, I’m someone who’s been contacted by people and I’ve seen lots of different ways people contact me. I’ve had them do videos for me. Another author who wrote a book, he took my Instagram profile and he drew a picture of that and got my attention. One thing that I teach my clients in my business, I teach a course called Bestseller in a Weekend, is to reach people who have gatekeepers or people that seem out of reach and see who’s an intermediary. Someone who can make an email introduction or if you can use their name in the subject of your email. Those are some of my little hacks. What are some of your hacks?
By the way, you don’t have to be a cartoonist to do this. Besides the cartoons, when I interviewed the top 100 sales thought leaders for the first book, How to Get a Meeting with Anyone, I said, “When you have to break through to someone of great importance, someone who is nearly impossible to reach, how do you do it?” You would have been a great person to interview for the book. They shared with me what became the twenty categories of contact marketing campaign types in the book. There are all kinds of things, gifts, visual metaphors, and interviews. Look at this. This is a great way to connect with people. I know you live it.
Yes, shows, and writing books.
Sending your book is a nice way to do it. If you haven’t written a book, send someone else’s book, something that illustrates what it is that you want to talk to them about also. That’s nice. This is a great time to get meetings with people.
The way I teach it is when you write a book, you can interview people for the inside of your books. They’re subject matter experts. That’s what I meant when I shared that. You get a book.
We’re going to hang out for half an hour or so, and we’re going to get to know each other and it’s a bonding experience. These are great ways to do it. To give someone the opportunity to share their story or their experience, their expertise is a wonderful thing to be able to give away. Certainly, it’s a great way to get connected. I said visual metaphors. Cartoons are my favorite. After that, there are all kinds of stories. Dan Waldschmidt sends full-size swords. I can’t even put my hands wide enough. They’re huge swords and he sends those to CEOs of companies that are in trouble. Probably a lot of those. He’s probably busy right now sending swords. He’s getting a 100% response rate to that campaign. That’s a visual metaphor. The sword is a physical representation of the value that he hopes to bring to you because he’s going to go into battle. He sends it with a note that says, “Dear Alicia, I know business is war and I noticed you lost a battle recently. I wanted to let you know if you ever need a few extra hands in battle, we’ve got your back.” He’s ready to swing a sword for you. That’s a great way to have someone immediately appreciate and visualize what it is you want to do for them.
Here’s another one of my favorites, this little spilled cup of coffee. It’s such a cool thing. It’s also realistic. I don’t know if it’s coming across as being that, but if you put that on a desk, it looks like you spilled your coffee. We’ve been using these. My coaching clients, I’ve been helping them get these setups. They have a custom cup made up of their logo and their contact information. This becomes a drop off a piece or almost like oddly a business card, but it also is a representation of spillage, of loss, of something spilling out and it’s not recoverable. They might be talking to you about a solution for something in your business or your life, how they can help you avoid that spillage. What a great way to represent that.
Even people’s cards, I have one business card that is one of the most outrageous business cards in the world. This is Kevin Nick’s card. It’s a metal card and there are these little cutouts, these little tools. This is a lock pick set. Kevin consults people on the Fortune 500 on how to prevent hackers from using their virtual lock picking tools to break into your IT system. What a great card. You can pull those tools out and open a lock with it. He has a video on his site of somebody doing that.
This is close to being a pocket campaign. That’s something that I described in the latest book, which is Get the Meeting! I described how you could replace your business card with instead this device of this campaign that you launch from your pocket like a business card, but it does a lot more. It pulls people into a digital persistence campaign. In the case of Kevin’s card, there’s a video on his site. If he had only included a URL to visit that page and watch the video of someone picking the lock, everyone would say, “I’ve got to see this.” By doing that, you can set a tracking pixel and by handing out his card, suddenly you’re on his digital persistence campaign. You see his ads wherever you go. There are all these crazy, interesting things that you can do with it. I mentioned visual metaphors and email. There are all kinds of ways to breakthrough. That’s a long-winded answer to your question, but there are many ways to do it, many ways beyond cartooning.
The examples you used, a lot of that is utilizing snail mail essentially. Putting something in the mail or UPS or FedEx or what have you and getting it to the person that you want to reach. That not only requires creativity, but it’s also harder than sending an email. One thing that people are very used to is sending off an email. Emails are not being responded to as quickly as something like physically receiving something in the mail. What are your thoughts on that?
One of the other things they’re used to is nobody responding to it. I could put a cartoon into an email with a personalized caption and it’s a nice thing and it seems to double open rates. When people ask me, “I’m sending email and it’s not working. I’m not getting people to respond to it. What do I do?” My response to them usually is, “Don’t do it.” Use something else because everyone’s sending emails. You’ve chosen one of the most crowded channels you possibly could. You don’t stand out in a lot of ways because you’re doing what everyone else is doing. You’re saying, “I’m conventional,” by doing that.
Why not stand out by doing something completely different and something outside of that channel especially? I would say the same is true of LinkedIn right now too. You don’t connect on LinkedIn and expect, “Good, then we’re connected,” because you’re not. The person you’ve connected with has already forgotten you. You’ve got to do things. You’ve got to reach out and have a connection on the phone or send them something. You’ve got to do more than send an email. It’s such a minimal level of effort and it shows. On the other hand, you can stand out with email. Sometimes when I’m being interviewed and people will start talking about their cadences, which means they’ve automated their email, which is even worse in terms of making a human-to-human connection.
It’s great in terms of convenience I suppose and carrying a lot of people, but in terms of making a human to human connection, that’s what we’re trying to do here. People don’t buy from machines. They buy from humans that they know, like, and trust. You’re trying to create a relationship and a connection here. Even an email, if you keep it under a dozen words, that helps because it’s showing respect for somebody’s time. If you have that slug at the bottom of the email that says, “This was sent on a Mailchimp and to unsubscribe, go here,” people know exactly what that is. It’s junk. They know you’re not sitting down and writing an email to them.
Like a handwritten card that comes through the mail, if somebody does that, they’ve shown a presence of mind and thoughtfulness and they’ve decided, “I’m going to take some time and I’m going to write this out by hand,” as hard as it is for us. People aren’t used to it anymore, but do it because that creates a human-to-human connection. You don’t even have to say much, but that creates a human-to-human connection. I would also say that when people are connecting, I know we’re all getting this on LinkedIn, that you’re an author, I’m an author and I’m open about who I’ll connect with. I don’t know who’s read the book. If anybody’s bought the book and read it, I want to get on and thank them, “Thank you so much because you’re making what I’m doing possible.” I see this affirmation that what I did in my basement when I wrote How to Get a Meeting with Anyone, it’s having an effect and that’s cool. What an exciting thing from an author’s standpoint. Going back to the original thought here, if you want to stand out, then don’t toil in crowded channels.
The thing that you shared with several of the case studies was the power of storytelling. Receiving a visual in the mail tells a story, just like as you showed the cup that spilled over and the sword and your cartoons. It tells a story. That’s the way you stand out to people. People remember. They don’t maybe remember your widget, but they’ll remember the story behind it. Talk a little bit about the importance of storytelling and getting meetings with anyone.
There are a couple of levels of that. One of them is if you have a cool story to tell, and everyone does, we all have stories, tell them. That’s how we relate to people. That’s how we relate as humans to one another. I like to give someone a story. I want to make a story happen right on the spot. I’m going to show you this example. Forget the meeting and to formulate that whole concept of pocket campaigns, I was studying the coolest business cards in the world. What are they? What do they look like? What did they do? What was the concept? There was one guy who I interviewed and he had a card that was printed on a piece of rubber. They stretched the rubber, put it on a jig and then they printed his contact details so that when it dried and cured, when they took it off the jig, then it wasn’t stretched anymore. It’s like a balloon, all the details squeezed together. Whenever he handed one of his cards out, the thing that people would do immediately is stretch it because they had to do that to read it.
He was telling me that he would go out maybe to a pub and he’s having a conversation with someone and they get to the question of, “What do you do? Do you have a card?” He’d whip out this little floppy thing. He said, “Here’s my card.” It’s like an ambush of us. They’d pull on it, stretch it and they realize, “I see. It’s Paul Nielsen’s card. He’s a fitness trainer.” He already has you exercising.
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He would hand those out and people would say, “Could I keep this?” “Of course, that’s my business card.” They’d take it with them. This was one of those cards that they didn’t put away in a box. They didn’t throw it away. What they did is they put it in their pockets and they whipped it out anytime they could tell anyone about this. They’d say, “Look at this card I got from this guy at the pub the other night,” and they’d hand it over and the person would pull on it naturally. He’d say, “Look at that. It said fitness training. Now he has you exercising.” They’d have a good laugh. Paul said that every time he handed one of those out, because of that whole thing of, “Look at this thing I got from this guy at the pub. This is the guy’s business card.” He said every time he did that, he would get 3 or 4 new clients. That’s funny. I’ve got cool business cards with cartoons on them and all that, but I’ve never had someone say, “Someone showed me your business card. Let’s do business.” That’s never happened, but that’s a story unfolding. Because he handed them the floppy business card, a story unfolded around the person he gave it to. That’s cool. I love those kinds of stories.
That’s a great story because the story doesn’t have to be in the past. The story can unfold in the present moment.
You get to be the catalyst for making that happen for them. That’s cool.
What it does is his business card creates an experience.
It’s an ongoing story.
Receiving a sword is an experience. I’ve been in business for years, one thing that I’ve seen in terms of the evolution of product and service marketing is people want experiences. Because of the global pandemic, I’ve been reading on how business is going to change. The one thing that’s interesting is our malls are going to be going away because retail was on the out even before COVID-19. I would drive down the streets in Beverly Hills and it would be lease sign after lease sign. From a marketing perspective, what’s going to happen to retail space? What’s going to happen to malls for example? What I would say probably is it’s turning to experience. Going to malls, it’s experience. It’s how I can meet people. There’s the Disney-esque in some of the new malls that were in the Los Angeles area, like The Grove, it created an experience. There are waterfalls and restaurants. That’s a possibility. What if people can’t walk around? They said that we’re going to be wearing masks for in the next couple of years. It’s interesting. From a futuristic marketer standpoint, Stu, since I have you on, what are your thoughts on the future of marketing, the future of business in this world that we live in the world?
First of all, let’s talk about the present. The present is interesting and it’s sad for a lot of people. When I say what I’m about to say, I don’t mean to minimalize that. There are people who are suffering and that’s real. Anybody who’s involved in business-to-business selling, there’s a different thing going on. Because decision-makers are working from home, it doesn’t mean that business has stopped and it certainly hasn’t. I’ve been running round tables, I’ve been titling it Coronavirus and Getting Meetings. We have people on, we usually have around a dozen people on at a time.
I’m asking, “Who has wins? Has anyone gotten a deal in the last week?” It’s incredible, everybody on the call said, “I’ve got deals. I’ve got three deals.” We have that going on. Also because people are working from home, they’re not traveling, they’re not commuting and they’re working seven days a week too. This is a golden time to get meetings with people. I see it. It’s happening in my business and certainly, I’m seeing it in the businesses and activities with the others that I’m involved within the round tables and so on. This is a golden time for getting meetings. I don’t know how it’ll change. We might become nostalgic for those spaces where we can get together and walk into a store, see something, touch it, buy it, it’s right there in our hands, we don’t have to cut down a box afterward and bring it to recycling. That and I live on an island. Do you live in Beverly Hills?
I’m from Los Angeles. Now, I’m in Joshua Tree.
I was going to tell you, I had my office there once on Beverly Hills for a while on Rodeo Drive. What a weird place.
Where do you live now? You said you live on an island.
I’m on Whidbey Island. Our little town is called Langley. Whidbey is a little bit North of Seattle and Puget Sound. It’s gorgeous here and it’s one of many islands here that extends up into the San Juan’s and then the Gulf islands in British Columbia. It’s gorgeous here. There are these little towns on these islands and mine is Downtown Langley. The village of Langley is two blocks, first and second street and an alley between them. It’s got a cool little brewery in the alley. We could sit down and have beers there. There’s that Victorian storefront thing, squared-off buildings. The storefronts on the first street that are facing the water are on stilts because the water’s right there. The pizzeria is on that side of the first street. When you go in there because it’s on stilts, you’re about 100 feet above the water and you’re looking out, you could see whales going by or certainly boats. You’re looking across the water at Camino Islands. It’s gorgeous. It’s pretty.
I can imagine those Main Street kinds of shopping places coming back with a roar because they’re charming. That’s way more charming than a mall is. I can imagine those coming back. There probably will be a little bit of nostalgia for being able to walk into a store and see something, touch it and feel it. You don’t get that from shopping online on Amazon or anywhere. At the same time, probably people are going to be saying, “I like this working from home. As I can get out and do things, then it’s nice not having to commute a few hours a day and travel so much.” I don’t know what will come up after Zoom and there are competitors to Zoom, but Zoom seems to be it right now. When you get onto a Zoom call, people are doing this to have cocktails together. I have my high school reunion every weekend on it. We’re all getting used to it.
I did a cartoon about this that the top half of us, we dressed nicely. Underneath, the lower part, you never know. It’s like you don’t have to wear pants in your meetings anymore. Some of it is going to be too much. We now have become very comfortable with Zoom. Zoom is going to be a big part of how we meet. That’s exciting for me because I write about meetings, but it’s exciting for all of us. We can meet anyone anywhere in the world doing this. This is cool. It’s face-to-face almost.
[bctt tweet=”People don’t buy from machines. They buy from humans that they know, like, and trust.” username=””]
The present and future of work, I love that discussion. In terms of meetings, what do you want to leave the readers with? A couple of hacks and ideas or something you want to share as we get wrapped up?
First of all, you can get a meeting with anyone unless they decide they don’t want to meet with you, then that’s probably not going to happen. You can be persistent and still get these meetings. Think about it. Every advancement you have in life happens because you connect with someone. It doesn’t happen without connecting with people. There are people out there, certainly a handful of people or maybe more, who if you connected with them and if they became your client or if they became your strategic partner or your mentor or your employer or your partner in life. All those things happen because of meetings. You can do all these different things to get these meetings. The meetings are wonderful. I don’t know if that’s left behind. Meetings are important.
They’re life-changing and you get to be creative to get meetings. Stu, I want to thank you. How can people find out more about you, your books, and maybe perhaps get a meeting with you?
They can do that pretty easily, but unless they’re pitching. Get the Meeting came out in October 2019 and How to Get A Meeting With Anyone. You can get both of those on anywhere books are sold, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, anywhere but the airport for some reason. You can get it on Audible and so on. You can also connect with me on either LinkedIn or on my author site, StuHeinecke.com. Mention that you read us here, I’m sure to jump on with you.
Give a shout out to Authoring Life. You can find Stu Heinecke on LinkedIn. Stu, thank you. It has been great to connect with you and meet with you.
Thank you, Alicia. What an honor. What a blast to join you.
It was fantastic, Stu. Make it a great one. Be well.
About Stu Heinecke
Stu Heinecke is a hall-of-fame nominated marketer, a Wall Street Journal cartoonist, best selling business author, and founder of Cartoonists.org, a group of prominent cartoonists from around the world who donate their art to help charities raise funds.
The American Marketing Association just recognized him as “the father of Contact Marketing,” a term coined in his highly successful book, “How to Get a Meeting with Anyone”. Stu is a noted speaker and furnishes agency, training, and consulting support for clients all over the world, from his base on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest. He also conducts island strategy sessions aimed to produce rapid growth of client enterprises.
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