The PayPal Effect (How To Get Anyone’s Attention)
Can I, Uh…Pick Your Brain?
Every week through the glorious DM (direct message) on social media —I get a variation of the following:
Can I meet you for coffee?
Could I pick your brain for 30 minutes?
I’m in town. I’d love to connect!
And listen, I’m not trying to make myself look cool or popular —my platform isn’t even that big.
But these messages always come, and while I’d love to meet with people:
I’m very clear about my priorities, goals and outcomes on where I place my most valuable resource:
And you should too.
But what if you’re on the other side?
What if you’ve got something powerful to share with someone?
The great news about social media is you’re a few seconds away from connecting with nearly anyone in the world.
The bad news is: they’re being hit up constantly, and standing out can seem impossible.
Welcome to the PayPal effect, one of my trusted secrets for skipping the line, getting noticed and connecting with people who can give you life shifting advice.
But first, let’s understand what’s in the way and why it matters.
Understanding The Dilemma
Ask nearly anyone these days how they’re doing, and you’ll get a universal response:
I’m so busy.
I’m beyond stressed.
I’m trying to keep up.
Busyness is now #trending, and if you’re not busy —you’re essentially worthless.
But the people who you are trying to reach are truly busy. I don’t mean they’re better than others —but to experience some type of success means they’re at least somewhat intentional about how they use their time.
(Please don’t send me newspaper clippings from Tucker in Idaho who made $1.7 million in lotto winnings and plays Xbox all day to counteract this point.)
Often, these people are being pulled in endless directions —and it’s important for you not only to recognize this…
…but explicitly call it out in any communication. This shows you get it and aren’t someone who’s simply cold messaging them to get them to shout you out.
If you want to stand out even more, be hyper specific about their current busyness and intensity, saying things like:
“I know you’re slammed and just released a new…”
“Congrats on the ____. I know you must have no time, but..”
The first step is all about putting yourself in their shoes, to create instant rapport.
Get. To. The. Point!
I’m a rambler. If you’ve ever listened to the Resist Average Academy podcast —you (may) realize this.
But when you’re reaching out to someone of influence, don’t write a 2,750 word thesis or else you’ll get lost in the noise.
Even if it’s amazing.
Do whatever you can to minimize the word count and get straight to the point. In this case, less is always more.
Instead of telling them your life story with a vague and confusing request (I want to connect…), tell them outright what you want or how you’re looking to help.
The equation to follow is:
Connect with how busy they are + show you care (reference a deeper cut of their material) + be explicit and specific in the shortest amount of words = success!
Recently, when I was asking for endorsements for a book, I put “endorsement request” in the email line.
So they (or their assistant) knows exactly what the email is about —without the usual fluff.
The PayPal Effect
And now to the clincher: the PayPal effect. When finishing off your communication, the PayPal effect goes like this:
Since you have so much going on and I deeply respect your time —shoot me your PayPal email and I’ll send you a token of my appreciation.
Now, you may be thinking:
This entire thing was about buying people’s time, Tommy!??!
Not really. The PayPal effect works because 99% of people aren’t willing to do it —and it’s not really about the money.
It’s about not being someone who feels entitled to someone else’s time.
It’s about going above and beyond —and truly placing yourself in their shoes.
It’s about respecting yourself enough —knowing you’ll value the interaction more.
And so, yes —the PayPal Effect is all about getting noticed, and skipping the free line where most people are doing anything to get noticed.
But curiously enough, sometimes it doesn’t cost you anything.
Some (Unexpected) Observations
I’ve used the PayPal effect several times to grab people’s attention, get 45 minutes with someone who doesn’t have an opening on their calendar for 6 months —and get access to some incredible people.
I’ve used it to get life shifting advice before, during and after a conference.
The value of these moments were truly in the thousands, or tens of thousands and radically created a shift in my life and business.
Could I have done it without the PayPal effect?
Sure, but it’d likely take 10X the work, persistence and follow up —for the same result.
However, I’ve also noticed some interesting and surprising observations around the PayPal effect, including:
Sometimes asking is enough. I’ve had a lot of people give me their time without giving me their PayPal.
The amount is somewhat irrelevant. Okay, $7 won’t get you too far —but often $200 will get you very far.
People are often surprised when you’re willing to do this. You are remembered instantly, and it will come back to you.
So, What Now?
I remember being at an event in San Diego where Grant Cardone was speaking and he told a story of a kid in the lobby who asked for 15 minutes of his time —offering $1,000.
If you know Grant, you understand he didn’t need the $1K. But, it was besides the point and he took it anyway.
What Grant understood is money and value psychology:
If he took the kid’s money, he’d hang on to every single word Grant said and take his advice 110%. If he didn’t, there would be less chance the kid would take action on his advice.
Remember, if you and I don’t pay —we rarely pay attention.
This, my friends, is the hidden benefit of the PayPal effect: you’re paying to pay attention —and create a radical shift.
For this reason, every penny is worth it.