Relationship InvestI’ve longed believed that every interaction is a relationship learning opportunity. I’m also amazed at how much goes on in our personal lives that can dramatically impact our professional lives or vice versa, further dismissing the notion by some that we should create a Chinese Wall between the two! I’ve never understood that idea. Why? You’re the common denominator and I believe:

Like Me – Know Me – Trust Me – Pay Me!

It works in that sequence and people, who try to circumvent it, shoot themselves in the foot. If we like someone, we’ll invest time to get to know him or her. If we get to know them, hopefully we can see that we can trust them. Only when we feel and genuinely believe that we can trust them, will we pay them. Not just monetarily for products or services, but also for their ideas, perspectives, or unique point of view. Two quick stories from the weekend:

On a recent Friday night, my 9-year-old son and I participated in our school’s Lower School campout, where we pitched a tent on the grounds of our school, participated in various activities, and invested in general comradery with 100+ other kids and their dads. It was sold as “Mom’s night off” and boy did it work! I’m an old Eagle Scout so I’m in my element outside. Unfortunately, one dad showed up without a tarp to go under his tent and no rain fly to go over this massive tent that he had won in a contest at work and had never setup. Make a long story short, my son and I helped them get setup. Afterwards around the campfire making s’mores, we get talking about what we do for a living; it turns out that he was formerly a high ranking exec with a Fortune 100 company and having learned more about my work, this morning introduced me to several of his former colleagues. Highlight of the intro: “David lives the spirit of Eagle Scouting!”

Last week, I began to reach out to several older clients to simply touch base and gauge their progress, goals, objectives for 2014, etc. So far, I’ve had 12 conversations, 4 of which have resulted in us working together again, with another 6 either becoming referrals or simply reconnect and get caught up on both sides. Relationships are like food – you never know when you’ll need them!

Takeaways: build relationships first, last and every opportunity in between. Keep your relationships warm and never, ever go dark. Find value-based reasons to stay connected, engage and influence their thinking and call to action. The outcomes you seek will come from those who matter.

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