How I Got Richard Branson to Say ‘Yes’


It's easier than you think.

Lisa Messenger and Richard Branson

In November 2014, I was invited to Richard Branson’s Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, along with 28 other entrepreneurs. Everyone got the opportunity to “pitch to Rich”. I proceeded to watch as, one after the other, people pitched him massively complicated ideas – “Can I rebrand my entire company Virgin?”; “Can you sit on my board?”; “Can you invest?”. Now, the thing is, the pitches were all of 8 or so minutes, and he had never met any of these people before. He had, to date, no relationship or rapport with them, and these people were diving right in to the deep end, boots and all.

Read more: The Biggest Mistake Any Budding Entrepreneur Can Make

Having often been on the receiving end of complicated requests from people whom I have no existing relationship with, I thought, “How can I make it easy for him to say yes?” So rather than pitch some outlandish or complex idea, I simply asked, “Can I send you a box of Collective Hub print magazine to the island every month?”. A big fat resounding “yes” was his answer.

Keep things simple. People want to help you, so make it easy for them to do so.

You see, I know the calibre of people who go to Necker, and I knew that, as the product speaks for itself, [the magazine] would keep us front of mind for Richard, his wonderful team and the extraordinary people who circulate through Necker. So remember – keep things simple. People want to help you, so make it easy for them to do so.

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