I took a road trip to Atlanta last week… to make a few sales calls and spend some time with two of my remote employees. I also met with a couple of industry contacts (who I know only through LinkedIn) who would never be a client, a vendor or a partner.
So why bother? Why take a meeting and spend the time when there’s no “value” in it? Answer… because you never know!
While the person you’re meeting with might work for a firm that can’t or won’t ever do business with you… we work in a small, incestuous industry and you never know where that person might end up in the future. Start and maintain a friend-to-friend relationship now and it could develop into a buyer-seller relationship when that person changes jobs. Or when you do! Remember… people do business with people they like.
Likewise, you never know who they know. Small industries like ours are very interconnected – it’s like a spider web… buyers, suppliers, vendors, associations, the press – and it seems like everyone knows everyone. And now there’s LinkedIn, too. Good relationships lead to good connections.
And in true Paul Harvey fashion… here’s “the rest of the story.”
I had a meeting here in Nashville yesterday with a firm that’s relatively new to our industry. No agenda… no sales pitch… just a chance to connect with the firm’s partners… because you never know.
As it turns out, after simply chatting for a half-hour about business, our backgrounds, etc. – and connecting on a bit of a personal level – one of the partners offered to connect me with one of her senior-level contacts at a prestigious Honomichl 50 firm. No promises, nothing asked in return… just a genuine willingness to help. Not bad, huh?
So, the next time someone invites you out for coffee “just to introduce themselves,” Don’t say, “Why?”… say, “Why not?”
Because you never know…