How to Convince Influential Entrepreneurs to Endorse Your Brand

entrepreneurshipPersonal Branding

How can I get a big-name entrepreneur to publicly endorse my product / service?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Pick the Right Person

“Not every entrepreneur is the right pick for product or service endorsements. That is one thing to think about. Once you’ve picked the right fit, have conviction about your product or service and don’t be afraid to ask them. Additionally, always be prepared to give them the product or service at no cost to them. And always go for building a good relationship, not just their endorsement.”

Parker Powers, Millionaire Network

2. Offer Equity

“A company’s equity is one of its biggest assets to incentivize others to add value to the company. Sometimes granting a big-name entrepreneur a piece of the equity pie can pay enormous dividends in public exposure for your product or service.”

Doug Bend, Bend Law Group, PC

3. Build the Relationship First

“It’s much easier to ask for an endorsement from someone you already have an existing relationship with. When I was working on my book proposal I was able to easily garner endorsements from some very big names in the business world. These are all people that I’ve known for years and have never before hit up for a favor. Focus on the relationship first.”

Laura Roeder, LKR Social Media

4. Personalize Your Message

“First off, you have to build a quality product. Second, you have to personalize your message to that big-name entrepreneur. Third, find a mutual connection to that person to gain better access to them. Fourth, write a personal note and pick a product that you know they will really like. For instance, if its apparel, send them the colors of their favorite team or school.”

Jason Grill, JGrill Media | Sock 101

5. Ask Them to Mentor You

“By asking a big-name entrepreneur to mentor you, they’ll learn the ins and outs of your business and share best practices with you. The more they know about your business, and the more they offer you actionable advice, the more they’ll believe in and stand behind your business. They’ll start to make introductions for you within your industry, as well as advocate and evangelize for you.”

Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

6. Have Them Use the Product

“Make sure they’re users of the product/service first. If they are, and they like what they see, you should then approach them on Twitter.”

Ioannis Verdelis, Fleksy

7. Give Rather Than Ask

“Big-name entrepreneurs get asked to endorse products all the time, so you need to set yourself apart from the rest. First find commonalities and provide value before asking for anything in return. Perhaps find a recent article they’ve written and engage them in discussion, or find a way to add value to one of their existing ventures. Then you can suggest that they take a look at your product.”

Arian Radmand, CoachUp

8. Have Them Help Develop the Product

“Get them to create or help develop the product/service. Then it’s no longer just an endorsement. It’s theirs as much as it’s yours. For example, 2014 Boston Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi is designing a Skechers running shoe to his own specs.”

Phil Dumontet, DASHED

9. Ask Them for Feedback

“In my experience, most entrepreneurs have a number one company that they remember and refer to others to fulfill the other person’s specific needs. So pick someone who will value and benefit from your product, then do what you can to get an introduction and ask for their feedback. Your job is to create a fantastic product they will love and then get it on their radar.”

David Hassell, 15Five