In Keith Ferrazzi’s best-selling book ‘Never Eat Alone,’ Ferrazzi outlines how from an early age he recognized the importance of relationships and the power an individual’s network can have in helping them achieve their goals. What took him some time to figure out is the best way to establish those relationships. Eventually Ferrazzi discovered generosity is the key to beginning what may prove to be a beneficial relationship. The key word here is that the relationships ‘may’ become beneficial. No score cards are allowed in the Ferrazzi school of relationship building. We all should be giving with no expectations of receiving something in return. Seems like we’ve heard that one before (it is better to give than to receive, anyone?).
Ferrazzi sums this up near the end of the book when he says, “Life is less a quest than a quilt. We find meaning, love, and prosperity through the process of stitching together our bold attempts to help others find their own way in their lives. The relationships we weave become an exquisite and endless pattern,” (Never Eat Alone, 2005, p. 297, emphasis added).
Recently the Mediaspace Solutions business development group went through Ferrazzi’s book as a group in an effort to put what we learned into practice. Below are a few examples of both what’s been done and the sometimes immediate results we have experienced:
- While on a recent trip to NYC, I decided to build a relationship with two CEO's of major ad agencies. As part of the due diligence up front, I found out their favorite kind of wine by talking to their assistants. I purchased wine as gifts but bought Starbucks gift cards for their assistants. Both assistants were blown away by the gesture. "We never get any gifts" one said. I had two sincere conversations with two smart women and I now have regular communications with both of them. The key was being genuine and generous with no expectations in return. They are now on my "ping list" for regular communications. Keith's teachings work.
- Pinging/Generosity – I recently sent an email to a high level agency exec who I met years ago but have not been able to connect with in at least the past two years (despite repeated attempts). I sent this person a note of sincere appreciation for being a business professional I have enjoyed working with in the past, and it worked. The ping + sincere generosity helped me secure an in-person meeting.
- Warm Calling – I now do an exhaustive search for any type of reference I can "draft" off before sending a note to an executive I have not yet met. I am seeing the benefits first hand of making "6 degrees of separation" … one or two degrees. Example: I just referenced us working with an agency in New York that also has offices in Chicago. I was able to leverage that relationship to secure a meeting with the desired group in Chicago.
- Staying Connected – I have made a personal commitment to schedule either lunch or coffee with someone I know (or want to know) in the ad business – outside of just newspapers – at least every two weeks. Thus far I have established or re-established connections (and met) with people who work in or sell in complementary verticals and plan to continue this networking contact circle.
These examples are fresh so we haven’t yet fully realized the outcome. And abiding by Ferrazzi’s principles, the outcomes are not the key so much as the establishment of new relationships.
For more on Ferrazzi check out the video below and let us know in the comments how you’ve applied his concepts: