Selena Soo | Creating VIP Connections (Episode 361)

Add value before asking for anything.

“Picking someone’s brain is like picking someone’s pocket.” -Selena Soo

The Cheat Sheet:

  • How did Selena create a relationship with Ramit Sethi?
  • Breakfast, lunch, or coffee: which is the best meeting suggestion?
  • How to talk to an influencer and create the foundation for a friendship.
  • Why and when to not ask for advice.
  • What are the three fastest ways to add value to someone’s life?
  • And so much more…

If you believe in the old adage you become the sum of your five closest friends and you want to create VIP connections, do you know how to go about doing so? Or, perhaps more important, do you know how not to do it? Here to answer both of those questions is super connector Selena Soo.

Selena is the PR maven and publicity strategist at S2 Groupe. Today we chat about how she got her start (she wasn’t born into her connections!), the pitfalls and mistakes she sees people make when trying to create VIP connections, and a whole lot more on episode 361 of The Art of Charm.

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Not so many years ago, Selena Soo had a dream to run her own PR firm. She had always been that person who connects people, even before there was anything in it for her, so she knew she could do it. But it wasn’t until people like Marie Forleo and Ramit Sethi believed in her that she found the confidence to go forward and achieve that dream.

It wasn’t just happenstance that brought Marie and Ramit into her life. Showing her disposition for creating VIP connections even before she started her firm, Selena approached Ramit when she saw him on the streets of New York one day. Selena was in college at the time, but she followed Ramit and was a big fan of his. She knew a lot about him, had taken his courses, was on his email list, and had read his books. She went up to him, introduced herself, and thanked him for all he had contributed to in her life.

After meeting with him, she got on his mailing list for his local events in New York and started showing up. She made friends with other influencers there like Derek Halpern and began following them in the online world as well. Over time, Ramit became more familiar with her through her attendance at those events and their mutual friends (who she met at the events).

At one point, he asked her for feedback on two different home pages he was considering for his website. Instead of giving him a few minutes of her time, she gave him hours. She organized focus groups within her business school classmates and got their input. Then she typed it all and sent him a multiple page document of their collective feedback. He was blown away by her initiative and massive input, so much so that he shared it with his team.

She continued the relationship by staying up to date on his interests and commitments. For instance, when she heard he had a new app coming out, she reached out to see if he wanted to be in Oprah’s magazine. Of course he did, so she made the pitch and got him an article. Then she got him on TV.

And that is how she became friends with and connected to Ramit Sethi. Her advice to you? Simply take leadership and find out what your influencer is interested in by following them on social media, get on their mailing list, and then start adding value. Be proactive!

Give them an iTunes review if they have a podcast, and leave a comment on their blog or on their Facebook status. If they ask for a recommendation, give one (if you have an appropriate one to give). When they are attending an event, be there and introduce yourself. Then continue to add more value. Over time they’ll come to see you as a reliable source of information and you’ll develop a rapport.

What if you don’t even know how to start a conversation to create that VIP connection? Selena has two great questions you can ask and they are: What are you most excited about in your business? What is your biggest goal in your business for 2015? With those answers you’ll know where their priorities are and how you can benefit them. Remember, even if you can’t directly help them, you may know someone who can and you can make the introduction.

Which leads us to another topic we discuss on the show: the three fastest ways to add value to anyone. Connect the person to other people, connect them to resources, and offer advice if you are knowledgeable on the topic.

Selena and I also highlight the mistakes and pitfalls we see so many people make when trying to create these friendships and connections. We go into greater detail on this, but one thing I’ll mention here is only reaching out when you need something.

This is a common mistake most people make and the way to alleviate this is to simply stay connected to people. Make a list of the people who have achieved what you want to achieve, get connected to them, and stay that way. And if you’re already connected to them? Reach out and keep that line of communication open. Then find ways to add value over time, like we discuss on this show and we mentioned earlier here.

This was a terrific chat with Selena; she is truly a superstar connector who has created a network of VIP connections and what we talk about today will help you do the same. Thanks for being here Selena, and special thanks to all of you for listening. We’ll see you next time on The Art of Charm.


If you enjoyed this session of The Art of Charm Podcast, let Selena know by clicking on the link below and sending her a quick shout out on Twitter:

Click here to thank Selena on Twitter!

Resources from this episode:

Selena Soo’s website
Selena Soo on Twitter
Selena Soo’s free gift for AOC listeners

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Jordan Harbinger - author of 949 posts on The Art of Charm

Jordan Harbinger has spent several years abroad in Europe and the developing world, including South America, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, and speaks several languages. He has also worked for various governments and NGOs overseas, traveled through war zones, and been kidnapped -- twice. He’ll tell you the only reason he’s still alive and kicking is because of his ability to talk his way into (and out of) just about any type of situation. Here at The Art of Charm, Jordan shares that experience, and the system borne as a result, with students and clients.

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in Business, Confidence, Connecting, Podcast