The Process Is Not Easily Explained

This came across my desk recently:

Dear Mr. Covel, My name is [name] and I’ve read three of your books and have listened to over 50 of your podcasts. I’m emailing you because I have a project in which I need to interview a group of successful, yet secretive, professionals. They aren’t in the Managed Futures/Trend Following space. There will be a “secret sauce” that they will not want to give away, but obviously I need to get as much out of them as possible. The interviews will be conducted in person and via telephone/skype. My questions are:

1) What successful ways have you found to break the ice and establish rapport during the interview? I would certainly be viewed as an outsider to the industry.

2) What are some uncommon ways or tactics you have used to get the proverbial “foot in the door” with individuals who have been reluctant to accept your interview?

3) What am I offering in return for this interview? In many of your podcasts reciprocity can obviously being a great thing to get the author/guest to agree to the interview, but I’m struggling with how I might be creating value for my interviewee.

4) Any words of wisdom when it comes to this first stage of the project?

I appreciate your time and keep up the good work.

Sincerely,

[name]

Tough questions as much of what I do is instinctive now after years of practice (and of course all of my on air process is out there for all to see). It might not feel like a direct answer to your questions, but my list here is the best place to start. If you are really serious, you have some homework ahead of you.