These 5 Things Can Turn Strangers Into Allies
Relationships are the network for life and I’ve spent a decade teaching lawyers and business people the same lessons. But, making friends isn’t easy. Luckily, you don’t need to be best friends with someone to be helpful or to ask a favor in return. You just need to trust each other enough to know what to expect by staying in touch. Whether it’s a hook-up for great reservations at that popular restaurant, or to get the inside scoop on the co-op board of the building you’re trying to move into, staying cordial and useful to others is really all it is takes to make good colleagues.
Say you met someone on a social media site or at some networking event – what now? You’ve got to court them and they’ll either entertain you for a little while and court you in return – or not. Keep these tips in mind when developing new connections:
1) Do your research
Google them. Ask them what they’re into. The only way you’ll know how they can be beneficial to you is by getting to know them. See how many interests you share. Make time to gain some understanding of how they spend their days. Get to know their business. Try this: join their blog or corporate subscription lists. If you can talk about what’s going on their neck of the woods that’s an easy illustration that you care.
2) Track how often you stay in touch
If you sent them an email two weeks ago and they never responded, wait a month and hit them up again. Just track how often you’ve made contact. Use your calendar as a record and be specific as to what you attempted that day. If by holiday time they aren’t looking to deepen the connection, maybe send them a holiday card and stop any further communications. By tracking your outreach you can better determine if this person is worth your efforts.
Have a vision for your life and fill it with people who can help you build it.
3) Develop some email savvy
Think before you type. When trying to spark meaningful conversation with folks, keep it short and sweet. You hate long-winded emails too! Remember the research you did? Well, put some of that reconnaissance to work. Reference the conference they just attended or an article that aligns with their interests. Avoid typos and speak authentically. If they don’t vibe with your style either adjust or move on.
4) Have a schedule
What better way to touch base with someone than to have fun and cool events that you know they’d love to come to? Tell them about a great class you took, a new book you started, your latest travels, or about a wonderful tasting event you attended (shameless plugs lol). As importantly, while you’re looking for inroads with one person, you’re still out meeting other people that could be aligned with your interests. The summer is approaching – fill your schedule up!
5) Be patient
As in all types of relationships, everything takes time. Building trust and making the case for why you should remain in contact with certain folks takes time. Did you know that from the day a lawyer exchanges a business card with a B2B potential, it can be anywhere from 8-18 months before a piece of business is realized? So keep track of how many times you reach out and adjust accordingly.
The world is a big place and your inner circle should stay small. However, having a network of folks that you can call on requires work and authenticity. Have a vision for your life and fill it with people who can help you build it. Better yet, be that someone that’s generous and useful to others – you’ll attract more like-minded people that way.
On to the wine...
A note on Cabernet Sauvignon --
Kick butt reds are right up my ally. Cabernet Sauvignon (pronounced: Cabern-ae Sow-ven-yon) is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world. It's a well known varietal that packs lots of dark fruit flavors and savory tastes from black pepper to bell peppers depending on where it comes from. One of my faves is from Josh Cellars. The bouquet is rich with dark fruits, cinnamon, clove and subtle vanilla aromas. After a decade serving as a world-class sommelier followed by another decade as a wine industry executive, the founder, Joseph Carr set out on his own in 2005 to form his family-owned wine company. Influenced by the wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy, Joseph Carr began making wines under a label bearing his name with a winemaking philosophy emphasizing balance, sophistication and approachability. Old world in style, but expressive of California’s best winegrowing regions, the Joseph Carr line of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is sourced from select vineyards in Rutherford, Oakville and the Stags Leap District, and the Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast.