Stalk Everyone. Really Hard.

One of my friends asked me on how I connect with people completely digitally and make myself memorable?

This was my response —

I strongly encourage you to stalk people. Thats it. That is the only way. You stalk them really hard. You do it not with a purpose of hurting or trashing or annoying them. You stalk them to absorb all the content available online on them and written by them. Once you do that, you get a decent idea of how the person thinks, how he or she interacts, what he or she likes, what topics he or she feels passionate about and where you might be able to offer some help. Doing so takes a lot of time but here is why I do it and why I encourage you to do it -

  • You might realize after consuming all the knowledge that there is no point in drafting emails, sending them, waiting on their response etc. You might find your answers through research or you might discover he or she is not the right person to reach out to.
  • Lets say, you really want to reach out to them for some specific reason. You need to figure out a way to make them feel that it is worth their while to communicate with you. You do this by making sure that your message aligns with their passion, ideas, career, life or philosophies. How do you become memorable by communicating digitally? You put in the time and energy to get to know them however you can and then show them whats in it for them. Once you do that, you have sown seeds for a genuine relationship. I wasted months cold-emailing people. I wasted time. I did not get what I wanted. I ended up at the same exact place I started out from.
  • How do you make sure your name stays on their radar? Once they have gotten back to you, you need to maintain that relationship by periodically pinging, as Keith Ferrazzi, puts it. It could be a retweet, article/book recommendation, or any small gesture that adds value to them.
  • I think relationships should not be all digital. I strongly believe that. Face time is crucial. One of my friends told me face time is much harder than digital messaging. He is totally right. Its more personable and memorable. But, if you are geographically disadvantaged, you can either sit around not building relationships or you can proactively sow seeds for real relationships that increase your odds of getting some face time with them when the opportunity arises. I got offered two coffee meetings without even asking for them by two very well-renowned authors and management consultants. Their personal assistants have told me twice that they would love to set up one-to-one meting for me when I am around their offices. NOTHING BEATS IN-PERSON MEETINGS. NOTHING AT ALL. But, fostering a digital relationship is a very first step unless successful people are just very happy to meet with you immediately.
  • Also, a good hack that I use is this — In all this social media chaos, successful people tend to ignore the likes, tweets and emails they get daily. I would start thoughtfully commenting on their articles and retweeting them a couple days before you reach out to them. This might bring you under their radar. When you send out the email, you double down on commenting, retweeting, and likes. BUT, MAKE SURE, you have a reason for doing it.
  • Everything needs to be well thought-out. Everyone appreciates effort. Everyone appreciates appreciation. Everyone appreciate authenticity. Do not fake being genuine. The person on the other side is not stupid.
In short, three words to keep in mind — STALKING, AUTHENTICITY, and PERSISTENCE.
Do things that don’t scale for building your relationships. Be very entrepreneurial in your approach.

My friend Chirag Kulkarni has written a great post on purposeful “stalking” for adding value and building relationships with influencers on Insightfully’s blog.

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