How to create relationships and opportunities like David A. Fields
One way to put it is this: Humans are social animals. We do sometimes define ourselves by our jobs, our hobbies and all these new technologies sometimes make us feel not-that-social in the end.
But let’s face it. At the end of the day, on your death bed, you’ll remember and think of people, of connections you made. For some of us, family is everything, for others, it’s the friendships they’ve made.
That’s why, even if you don’t feel the urge to, you need to start thinking about making connections today, because that’s all that will matter in the end.
Why should you grow and expand your network?
It’s a legitimate question. You’ve got your close friends and your family, why would you need more? Isn’t quality more important than quantity?
David A. Fields puts it that way:
Relationships are everything. I define wealth as relationship strength.
Of course quality matters. There is no point in having a trillion LinkedIn connections if none of them remember your name.
But, to quote Fields again:
No executive is going to to hand you $2.5 million or $250’000 or even 25’000 without having some sort of one-on-one relationship with you.
The more people you know, the more people you know well, the more opportunities you’ll get in your live.
How to create new relationships
This single sentence from our favourite consultant will summarise everything else I’ll share with you on creating relationships:
The most reliable and productive source of new relationships should be introductions and referrals from existing relationships!
… and the key element of this strategy, is to ask! Asking for introductions must become a routine part of your life.
How to ask for introductions
That’s key too. Too many people don’t know how to ask for introductions, and if you do it the wrong way, it gets very painful and annoying, for yourself and the person you’re asking.
Here is a template suggested by Fields:
Hey Nathan, You know that meeting people and building relationships are at the heart of what I do. Plus, I love meeting interesting people. Who have you met recently who is creating change? Shaking things up?
It’s simple and great, because you’re not asking for anything awkward, you’re not asking for a lead or a prospect, you’re merely asking for an interesting connection!
Don’t worry about the “quality” of the names you’re given, expanding your network is always good. Even if someone doesn’t turn into a client, he might introduce you to someone else, share insights or just be fun!
You can ask for introductions at all times but not over email. Make sure to ask during in-person meetings or over the phone.
When reaching out to this new connection, do a bit of research if needed but don’t overthink it! Be you and say hello! Don’t ask for anything except an enjoyable conversation.
How to stay in touch with the people you meet
After meeting new people, no matter where or how, you must follow-up and stay in touch.
As David A. Fields puts it:
A new contact is only a seed, that seed needs to be nurtured to become a strong, healthy addition to your garden. Nurturing relationships is an art.
Dos and DON’Ts of creating relationships
An important thing to understand about relationships is that you don’t have to constantly add value to strengthen personal bonds. To quote Fields again:
There is a world of difference between reaching out to a contact to try to find business, versus connecting with him to nurture the relationship while being alert for opportunities. And trust me, your contacts will feel it.
Identify your core network
You will meet many many people in your career, and even through using relationship productivity tools like Nat, you will not be able to give the same attention to everyone.
That’s why it’s key to separate your contacts into two distinct branches:
Your core network
Your network periphery
Your core network are those who will receive the most attention and care from you. That’s the people you’re personally emailing, calling, sending Christmas cards and so on.
Your network periphery are all the others, those are the people you’ve added on LinkedIn but aren’t in touch with, they might get your newsletter for example.
To stay in touch with your core network, you’ll need to stay in touch, reach out regularly, talk about them, be nice and occasionally add value.
You can use a smart relationship management tool to help you figure out when it’s time to reach out.
To learn more about building relationships and sales in general, check out David A. Field’s website!