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KEITH FERRAZZI’S GUIDE TO

VIP ACCESS
IN MINUTES!
Copyright © 2009 by Ferrazzi Greenlight LLC
VIP ACCESS IN MINUTES!

Copyright © 2009 by Ferrazzi Greenlight LLC

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Introduction

2. Prep: Self-Mastery: Top Tricks to Build Confidence

3. Scenario I: The Situational Gatekeeper

4. Scenario II: Permanent Gatekeepers

5. Managing the Gatekeeper: The Mindsets

6. Managing the Gatekeeper: The Skill Set

7. Reader Tips from KeithFerrazzi.com

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INTRODUCTION

The conscious pursuit of people with power and celebrity has a bad rap. We’re taught to see it
as an expression of vanity and superficiality. We regard it as a cheap and easy means of getting
ahead. As a result, instead of acting on our impulses, we repress them. We buy celebrity
VIPs can make magazines like People, Us Weekly, or, in the case of business folks, Fortune, to peer safely
your network from a distance into a world we’re so obviously hungry to know more about.

sparkle. But if I, on the other hand, think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with pursuing this world more
you want to directly. Seeking the influence of powerful people in our lives is not crass or misguided; it can be
enormously helpful. Again, no one does it alone, whatever our goal or mission. We need the
get close to
help of lots of others.
one, you’ll
Sometimes, despite the risk and work involved, it’s worth our time to try to befriend a Big
need a game
Kahuna. VIPs can make a difference in your life and the lives of others. These are the kind of
plan. people who can make you, and your network, sparkle.

But if you’d like to get close to a VIP without yet being one yourself, you’re going to need a
game plan – which is exactly what this KeithFerrazzi.com Guide is all about.

- Keith Ferrazzi

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PREP WORK
SELF-MASTERY: TOP TRICKS TO BUILD CONFIDENCE

If you’re going to rub elbows with VIPs, you’re going to need to become the kind of person who exudes the relaxed
confidence that sets others at ease. If you’re already that kind of person – bravo. But who couldn’t use a boost?

Here’s some tips to put into practice immediately. They’ll help prep you for the most formidable of
gatekeepers – and the talent they protect.
Most people
1. Take stock. Take 5 minutes in the mirror every so often to conduct a personal evaluation. Out
can sniff out a loud – make sure you’re truly alone for this one! – list the things you like about what you see.
fake in two 2. Grin again, begin again. Take time every day, particularly if you’ve got an important event, to
seconds flat. smile at yourself in the mirror. Sounds dumb, but studies show that you can alter your mood just
by seeing yourself smiling.

3. Be transparent. Confidence comes much easier when you’re just being yourself. Besides
which, most people can sniff out a fake in two seconds flat.

4. Exercise regularly. Studies show that exercise eases both depression and anxiety – and
getting fit never hurt anyone’s self image.

5. Practice deep breathing. You can do this daily, in meditation, or as a quick fix to relax yourself
before an important meeting or phone call. Repeating a short, inspiring mantra can help you
regulate your breath, and add an extra measure of confidence.

6. Channel Frank Sinatra: Take special effort to dress your best, in an outfit that makes you feel
like the King of the Hill. (Depending on your set, that may be Frankie or it may be Marilyn
Manson; make your own statement.)

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PREP WORK
SELF-MASTERY: TOP TRICKS TO BUILD CONFIDENCE

The world
can’t 7. Know thyself. The world can’t conspire to help you if you don’t know what you want. So write
conspire to down your mission statement, perfect it as an elevator pitch, and revise it every so often to stay
100% in step with who you are.
help you if
8. Due diligence isn’t enough: If you’re working hard, investing yourself, and doing your
you don’t research, confidence will come naturally. Nothing about you should be half-baked..

know what
you want.

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SCENARIO I
THE SITUATIONAL GATEKEEPER
It doesn’t usually take slipping someone a Ben Franklin to get behind the velvet rope. Focus instead on a keen eye and
healthy dose of confidence.

Never Eat Alone discusses managing gatekeepers by treating them well and respecting their power. But occasionally the
“art” in managing the gatekeeper is less about relationship building and more about a glib tongue, a sharp suit, and a
forward stare.

Here are some tactical pointers – along with a qualification: Honesty IS the best policy –
Literally plan out so choose your audacious moments with care.

the path you’re 1. Dress the part: Adapt for your particular venue, but in most business settings, the best
choice for men is a sharp, custom-fitted suit with a pressed shirt and tie. A nice watch and
going to take to polished shoes complete the look. And if you can’t afford a top brand, just get an imitation –
who’s knows the difference? Women’s fashion is more variable, but similarly, suits are a safe
bypass the bet.
gatekeepers. 2. Act the part: What role are you playing? If you’re at a conference, dress well and hold
yourself like a speaker. Observe the VIPs (or those who have the same access as VIPs) in
your environment and emulate them.

3. Plan your approach: Literally plan out the path you’re going to take to bypass the
gatekeepers. You don’t want to be wandering around, attracting attention – people will ask if
they can help you. Not good. You’re in control, and exactly where you’re supposed to be
(right?), so make sure you walk with intent and direction.

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SCENARIO I
THE SITUATIONAL GATEKEEPER

4. Look forward and keep moving: Make as little eye contact as possible with people along
the way and always keep moving forward. Eye contact is an invitation to ask you questions
about what you’re doing and why you’re there. If someone does ask you a question, just point
to your watch and keep walking.

5. Don’t be an ass: Be respectful and don’t get in the way of people trying to do their
Be respectful and business. Also, be prepared to do yours. What that means – prepping the perfect elevator
pitch, for example – depends on you.
don’t get in the
way of people
…And if you’re stopped?
trying to do their
business. 1. Retreat! – temporarily. Say “nevermind” and then try to find another entrance and a fresh
gatekeeper.

2. Make intense eye contact (don’t break eye contact once made, don’t blink, and have a
look of anticipation on your face) and insist you have something very important to deliver.

3. Abort mission – be prepared to recognize and humbly accept game over.

4. New approach: If you can’t get to your main target, consider working on someone in his or
her entourage. You may not succeed in meeting your VIP that day, but if you can lay the
groundwork for a relationship to someone close to him or her, you may have a shot at and
even better meeting in the future.

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SCENARIO II
The Situational Gatekeeper

Let’s face it, having a list of names of people you want to reach in business and even the
craftiest pitch don’t mean much if can’t get your targets on the phone. Half the difficulty in
Half the difficulty reaching out to others is actually reaching somebody at all. It’s even more difficult when that
in reaching out to somebody is a Big Kahuna with a thicket of protective voice mailboxes, blind e-mail addresses,
and defensive assistants running interference.
others is actually
reaching So how do you open the door? You need to learn to artfully manage the gatekeeper. That
somebody at all. requires both Mindsets and a Skill Set.

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SCENARIO II
THE SITUATIONAL GATEKEEPER

Managing the Gatekeeper: The Mindsets

1. The first rule of managing the gatekeeper: Never go head-to-head with an admin. You’ll
Half the difficulty lose every time. Never, ever get on his or her bad side. Your job is to make him or her into an
ally, not an adversary.
in reaching out to
2. Recognize the gatekeeper’s awesome power. If they’re any good, they become trusted
others is actually friends advocates for their bosses, and integral parts of their professional, and even personal,
reaching lives.

somebody at all. 3. Don’t approach a gatekeeper – or a target – without a deep understanding of his boss’
business and an interesting value proposition. You won’t necessarily need this upfront, but
don’t waste your time getting access if you’re not ready to play ball once you’re there. Ideally,
you should be approaching new contacts with 98 percent value add, 2 percent ask.

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SCENARIO II
The Situational Gatekeeper
Managing the Gatekeeper: The Skill Set

1. First contact: Particularly on your first call, be very careful not to be aggressive or nervous.
Remember, you don’t want to anger him or make him feel like you’re trying to get away with
anything. As in all situations, relaxed confidence goes a long way.

2. No traction from the first call? (This will happen more often than not.) Then follow up
Be very careful not promptly to establish your presence and make it known you won’t go away. “Hi, this is X. I’m just
to be aggressive calling back because I haven’t heard from Y.” Without being too pushy, this approach starts to
create the presumption that his return call is imminent and expected.
or nervous.
Relaxed 3. Remember to reward good behavior – or in other words, treat gatekeepers with the dignity
they deserve. What does that mean? Acknowledge their help – thank them by phone, or with a
confidence goes a gift – flowers, Starby’s card – and thoughtful note. You may even do this at the stage where
long way. they’ve just been polite and open, but haven’t yet made anything concrete happen. (Feel out the
situation – a gift shouldn’t come across as a bribe.)

4. Honey, not vinegar: If your gatekeeper signals you’ve taken a step too far – for example, if
he/she is short with you – recover quickly. The way to do that is by being humble, candid and
even vulnerable. She’ll question whether she was too gruff, perhaps with someone who really
should meet her boss.

5. The Value Prop: If the gatekeeper gives you the chance to send an email to your target,
make sure to put your best value prop right up front. Be simple, direct, and to the point.

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SCENARIO II
The Situational Gatekeeper

Still not getting anywhere?


Never be needy.
Persist. Slowly but surely build the relationship over time, without being a pain. Never be needy.
Try to add some Try to add some value to the gatekeeper’s life – even just finding a way to make her smile every
value to the time you call can go a long way.

gatekeeper’s You can also try to whiz past the gatekeeper by:
life.
• Calling the office at an odd time – early morning or late evening. The admin will have gone
home, and there’s the off chance your target might just pick up the phone himself.

• Utilizing several forms of communication. emails, letters, LinkedIn requests – try ’em all.

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COMMUNITY TIPS
from KeithFerrazzi.com

How one reader scored 30 minutes with Keith:


At conferences where there is going to be a speaker that you really want to meet, draft a short,
concise note as to who you are and why you want to meet and leave it at the front desk before
the speaker arrives (assuming they are staying for an overnight). Be sure to include how to get
Never look at the in touch with you. The front desk agent will deliver your note to the speaker along with their
gatekeepers. You room keys. This note WILL be read, because as far as the speaker knows, it could be last
minute instructions relative to the speaking engagement itself. If you’ve made a compelling
may betray your reason for meeting you can more often than not secure some face time with your target.
–Jeff Burg
doubts or hidden
insecurities. Other reader tips:

Never look at the gatekeepers. You may betray your doubts or hidden insecurities, and it may
look as if you are seeking their approval. - Robert Ngwu, megasouk.com

Remember the advice given by Arthur Ashe: “Regardless of how you feel inside, always try to
look like a winner. Even if you are behind, a sustained look of control and confidence can give
you a mental edge that results in victory.” – Darl Gleed, http://startuphawaii.com/

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COMMUNITY TIPS
from KeithFerrazzi.com

Always treat the gatekeeper with respect! The AA of today can easily become the VP of
tomorrow… A Starbucks Gift Card to thank a gatekeeper can go a long way… Even Ari Gold
listens to Lloyd once and a while. – Kent Speakman, http://kentspeakman.wordpress.com/
Even Ari Gold
listens to Lloyd Be prepared to spend some time just chit-chatting with a gate-keeper as you would any
colleague (“Any plans for the weekend?,” “Taken any holidays yet?,” etc). Too often, we’re so
once and a keen to get to our target that we try to rush past the gatekeeper. Greeting them by name on
while. follow-up calls and visits also goes a long way, as does relating back to previous exchanges.
I’ve made myself invaluable allies when I build rapport based on a genuine interest in the person
behind the reception desk. – Gerard Tannam, http://www.islandbridge.com/

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