What skills do you need to be successful in affiliate marketing?
The obvious ones are copywriting, analytic skills, problem-solving, split testing, etc.
But over the years, there’s one skill I’ve discovered that’s really, really important – a skill most people don’t think about:
Here’s what I mean:
- Getting pay bumps and exclusive offers? People skills.
- Learning and networking with other affiliates? People skills.
- Building and managing a team? People skills.
Unfortunately, I don’t think your typical affiliate comes into your industry with a lot of people skills or emotional intelligence.
The industry attracts a lot of nerds. We’re spending all day at home alone and don’t get a lot of interaction time. Also, most people enter this industry at a young age. It takes years to learn how to communicate.
But regardless, you need to seriously upgrade your communication skills.
Because then affiliate managers will WANT to help you succeed. It’s the difference between knowing a lot of people at conferences and having genuine friends who want to see you succeed.
Here are four ways to level up your people skills tree.
1. Think about THEM, Not You
There’s almost always a power dynamic in any relationship.
They have something you want, and you have something they want.
Each of you has the power to help each other.
Most people focus first on getting what THEY want. That’s a mistake.
If you want someone to help you with your goals, then help THEM with THEIR goals.
Quid pro quo. Give a little get a little. That kind of thing.
Whenever you want something from someone, think about how you can also help THEM get what they want.
“Hey, can I get a pay bump?”
“Hey, I’m breaking even on an offer right now. Another network offered to give me a pay bump, but I’d rather work with you. If you can increase my payout by $1, then I can increase my volume and I’ll keep the traffic with you guys.”
The first scenario is all about you, you, you.
Right off the bat, you’re asking them to help YOU.
The second scenario offers value. You’re offering to increase the value and to keep the traffic with them.
The outcome is EXACTLY the same, but they’re much more likely to respond to the second one. Why? Because you’re giving value.
Focus on the other person – no one cares about what we want!
2. Always Give Value First
I remember meeting an affiliate. He complained that he went to a conference, and no one shared any information with him.
I thought, Hmmm…that’s weird.
I asked him about the conversations he had. What kind of questions was he asking people? Here’s what he said he asked:
- What’s working for you right now?
- What kind of numbers are you generating?
- Any tips for me?
He legit didn’t see anything wrong with what he was asking. (I wonder what this guy’s like on dates)
That’s not giving value and building relationships.
That’s interrogating people.
He just wanted to get valuable information from other people. He wasn’t offering anything in return.
If you want to succeed, give value before you expect to get value.
Keep it simple.
- Build Rapport. Shoot the shit. Get to know each other.
- Give Value. How can you help them?
This isn’t any different than normal friendships. If you’re friends with someone who’s always taking without ever giving, you don’t want to hang out with them. It’s too draining.
Relationships are all about give and take.
3. Talk About Things Outside of Work
A few years ago I had dinner with someone that I admired for many years.
I asked him a ton of questions about business because I didn’t know that many people playing at his level. Towards the end, we were talking about friendships and relationships.
I asked him, “What’s the leaping point between someone being an acquaintance and someone being a genuine friend in this space?”
He said, “Talk about stuff outside of work. Show someone you give a shit about them besides them helping you make money”
I felt horrible because I’d been grilling him with non-stop business questions since we sat down.
So then we switched over to normal guy talk: girls, travel, and Game of Thrones.
The tone of the conversation stopped being so “stuffy” and he opened up.
Think about your conversations with people in this space. It’s hard to build rapport if you ONLY hit someone up about work.
Ask them how’s life. How’s the family doing? That’s how you build a genuine connection.
4. Get Face to Face Time
Skype, Whatsapp, email.
Most of your communication is probably limited to these types of digital communication.
Guess what? That’s how everyone else is communicating.
How are you going to stick out?
By getting more personal communication time in with people.
You can develop deeper relationships by actually talking to people. With your voice.
You can start by making phone calls. In our world, that’s a big step.
But you can take it further.
Want to really stand out? Spend time networking in person.
I know, you introverts are starting to get sweaty palms. But trust me, this is worth it.
Do you have a lot of contacts in San Diego or New York City? Take a trip out there JUST for networking. Don’t piggyback off a conference because everyone’s super busy during that time.
If you’re going to a conference, create time to catch up or grab dinner with people.
Here’s a tip: schedule it around three weeks out.
If you’re going to ask a few days before, chances are they’re already booked. You need to connect with people well before you get out there.
These one-on-one meetings can help you develop VALUABLE relationships with people. When future opportunities come up, you’ll be the first one that comes to mind. If you need help, you have people who actually know you.
Plus, networking will help you up your people skills, which always pays off.
Don’t Be A Loner
When you’re in the affiliate marketing space, it’s easy to hole up in your house for days on end without seeing anyone.
The most human contact you get is playing Fortnite with a bunch of people you don’t know.
But when you do this you don’t develop your people skills.
No people skills = less money.
Having people skills can give you a serious competitive advantage too.
If everyone else is holed up in their computer caves and you’re out networking, you’re going to have assets they don’t.
So shut your laptop, call up a friend, and go grab a coffee.
Featured Image by Kitchbain