Both baseball star Alex Rodriguez and basketball star Kobe Bryant use a bold yet effective trick to score meetings with busy famous people: They cold-call them.
The strategy isn't as ludicrous as it might seem. So far it's landed Bryant meetings with the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Arianna Huffington, and helped Rodriguez connect with legendary investor Warren Buffett.
"I'm known for sending out cold emails," Bryant told The New York Times in 2014, as Business Insider points out. "I love learning from people who take on giants and slay them. I wanted to know how Arianna [Huffington] did what she did, and why."
That simple curiosity led Bryant to send Huffington an out-of-the-blue email in 2014, asking to get to know her, and she responded. From there, the media mogul and champion athlete cultivated an unlikely friendship.
It wasn't the first time Bryant had cold-called someone successful just to pick their brain. As he told Bloomberg, he also used the method to speak with Winfrey, Apple's Jony Ive and Nike CEO Mark Parker.
While Bryant emailed business leaders he was interested in connecting with, Rodriguez used a slightly more personalized approach to land a meeting with Buffett .
It all started when A-Rod signed with the Texas Rangers in 2000 for a record-breaking $252 million. The team needed the last, most expensive part of his contract to be insured in order to close the deal, Rodriguez explained at the eMerge Americas conference in Miami, Fla. Unbeknownst to him at the time, Buffett, a longtime sports fan and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, which owns insurance companies, stepped up.
"If you send $4 million by 11 o'clock in the morning, I'll insure it," Buffett reportedly told Rangers owner Tom Hicks at the time. Hicks sent him cash the next day, and Buffett insured Rodriguez's 10-year contract.
Years later, when Rodriguez learned what had transpired, he used the connection to book a meeting with Buffett.
"I cold-called his office... I said, 'Hey, I'm in business with Warren Buffett, do you mind if I have a call with him or something?'" Rodriguez remembers.
Buffett agreed and soon became one of A-Rod's top mentors in finance and business.
"[They said], 'Why doesn't he come up and spend the day with [Buffett] in Omaha?'" Rodriguez says. "And I ended up doing that like five or six years in a row and had some great times with him."
Intimidating as it might seem to reach out to a dream mentor, it never hurts to take a chance on a connection and ask. You never know which chance meetings will lead to valuable partnerships and career advice down the line. Need some help? You can follow one CEO's formula for the perfect cold-email here .
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