A: You go out of your way to provide exceptional value for other people.
It really is that simple.
The only thing I would add, is to continue to work hard at both; delivering value and protecting that relationship.
So let me unpack that a little.
How do you deliver exceptional value for someone? Do you try and jam a business card in someones hand? Maybe pitch them your product or service straight away? or do you act like a normal human being and just ask how they are going and what brings them here? Basically, listen.
At a networking event, It may seem counter-intuitive to what we think about business networking, but I assure you this is how you build meaningful relationships over time, and that may mean leaving out ‘what you do’ altogether. I have personally found that 9/10 if you don’t mention it straight away the intrigue will get the best of them anyway and the ask will be natural! Perfectly set up for you to shine!:)
Your job is to see how you can help, or to quickly understand how you could add value. Could you help this person? Do you know someone that could help this person? That is it – no pre-tense. If the opportunity does arise, you develop a relationship based on giving value first, and ideally it will lead to all the other steps if you think it could lead to business (a meeting, proposal, etc etc). But it may just lead to you making an introduction for them, great – this is also super powerful. I assure you, they will remember that and remember you, and in time do their best to repay the favour. They will introduce people to you and your network will grow.
If they turn into a customer, always deliver the value you promised, and if you cannot, which from time to time also happens (despite best efforts), it is your responsibility to make up the difference. It should not stop with we tried our best. It should continue with we managed to increase sales by x% and I know we promised y%. What we plan to do is A, B, C, to make up the difference . This signals two things, and that you will bend over backwards to deliver the results you promised regardless of circumstance.
Protecting the Relationship
Relationships are fragile, particularly those in business, so protect the relationships you create by thinking about the other person, it is not hard to ask yourself whether what you are offering or the intro you are suggesting is aligned with their brand or objectives. If it is not, you have your answer.
I love the VC style ‘double opt-in’. As you start to deal with high-powered people or whenever you are in doubt as to whether the connection is truly beneficial to the other person. Email them first with the proposed introduction. Ie. I met this person, they have a great product or proposition would you mind if I connected you both? Your connection will appreciate you putting their interests first.
So that is it for today. Deliver value, keep delivering value, and protect the relationship.
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