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3 Lessons I Learned From a 10-minute Phone Call with Gary Vaynerchuk

Dan Marzullo
CEO & Founder

It was May 12th, 2016 at 3 p.m. Not a date of particular meaning for most people—but I watched the seconds tick by, more nervous than I’d ever been for a phone call. Any moment now, Gary Vaynerchuk was going to call.

Before beginning my career as a copywriter, I ran a health and fitness business. I was coaching clients one-on-one as a personal trainer and selling corporate wellness programs to businesses across the country. As a longtime fan of Gary Vee, I’d been studying his tactics for years to help grow my business.

When he announced the release of his book #AskGaryVee, it included an offer for 10 minutes of his time to anyone who bought at least 75 copies of his book. As an ambitious young entrepreneur, I jumped on the chance to pitch my corporate wellness program to VaynerMedia's wine connoisseur turned digital marketing CEO.

Fast forward a few months and I’m on the phone, talking business with Gary—words I never thought I’d say. Here are the three key lessons I learned from our chat.

Creativity Gets Attention

You don’t have to be the biggest or the best to garner the attention of the top players in the league. Sometimes a creative strategy and relentless work ethic is what it takes. Before ordering 75 copies of #AskGaryVee, I started a Twitter campaign to grab his attention—and the attention of his fitness coach at the time, Mike Vacanti. Gary and his team are incredibly busy, so I knew I had to get support from others to get on their radar.

That’s how my hashtag #VaynerFit came into play. I created this unique hashtag to categorize all of the tweets that would go out to Mike and Gary in my campaign.

On the first day of the #VaynerFit hashtag campaign, I spent 15 hours reaching out to all of my clients and friends asking for their support. I asked every single one of them if they would tweet Mike and Gary to recommend me as their top fitness professional using the #VaynerFit tag.

A few days of hard work later, I had several hundred tweets from my network sent out to these influencers. They all recommended me to Gary as the leading health and fitness expert. Tweets ranged from inspiring weight loss stories to how my programs helped improve their company wellness culture.

Word of mouth is powerful stuff, especially when you have a great support system and the ability to connect with anyone through social media.  

Having 100k followers on social media is awesome, but it isn’t the only way to snag the attention of top players.

Several hundred tweets to @Garyvee and @Mikevacanti with the #VaynerFit hashtag later, and I got replies from Gary and Mike. I wasn’t going to gamble on simply buying 75 of his books to connect with Gary. It set the stage well before landing my call, and even before my book order was placed.

Having 100k followers on social media is awesome, but it isn’t the only way to snag the attention of top players.

Nothing is Off Limits

During our call, Gary was all ears. He listened. I pitched my program and let him know how confident I was that I could strengthen VaynerMedia’s company culture with strategic wellness initiatives.

Here’s the bottom line: I proved that my service and my brand had value through word of mouth from my supporters. They were willing to tweet someone they had never heard of on my behalf because of the impact I created.

Don’t rely on a sales pitch alone. Warm them up with some referrals and noise to get them seeking you out first.

If you're bringing value, and you get in front of the right people, they listen.

The Risk is Always Worth It

Did I land VaynerMedia as a client? No. But the experience was just as good. My #VaynerFit hustle led to other fantastic opportunities and connections.

Sure, I spent some money to get his attention and now I have a few extra books laying around, but they make great gifts for clients.

Ultimately, I decided to shift my focus to a new business venture that has now grown beyond what I believed I was capable of scaling the wellness business to. So in the end everything worked out.

I learned a lot about business and the power of putting myself out there to the mercy of my closest friends and clients. The risk of those people telling me no was high and completely valid, but they came through with incredible support. The entire process taught me that when it comes to risk, calculated risk, it’s always worth it.

If you’re an entrepreneur, business professional, or anyone who wants to make big strides and leave a legacy, force yourself to take risks.

Create opportunities, don’t wait for them. Connect with those who are already making an impact. And never, ever, stop aspiring to be great.

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