Over the past week, I had two speaking engagements, attended a workshop, and a conference.
The first speaking engagement was for a class of startup business owners. Each year, I talk about market research and how to identify an ideal customer. Understanding whom you are marketing your products and services to and why is critical to the success of a marketing campaign and the business.
The second speaking engagement was at Christopher Newport University, my alma mater. Each semester, I’m asked to be a guest speaker for Dr. Lisa Spiller’s personal marketing class. This is one of my favorite speaking engagements that I do. It is always so much fun to go back to where I learned direct marketing and share some of my knowledge and experience with the students.
The third event I attended was a local writer’s workshop. One of my clients was on a panel of authors talking about publishing and marketing. What I enjoyed the most about this night was just 3 short years ago, when I first started working with this person, she didn’t know anything about marketing. Today, she has an email list of 25,000 engaged, raving fans that are excited to purchase her books and she earns 3 times her husband who is an engineer. I love supporting and listening to her teach other fellow authors about marketing!
From Life Changing Traumatic and Painful Experience to Serving Others
Finally, another client, whom I admire immensely, invited my wife and me to a weekend-long conference where she presented on Leadership. This conference was fascinating!
Everyone who attended had a child who was born a preemie. Each child, upon their birth, stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The parents attending this conference took their experience in the NICU and then started either a business or non-profit to help other families who have children in the NICU. My child staying 8 months out of the first year of his life in the NICU and children’s hospital is one of the most challenging and stressful events that I have personally experienced. But it is also an experience that has impacted my life in more profound ways than I could imagine. Seeing sick children with complex medical challenges fighting for their lives each day is one of the most humbling experiences and will stick with me forever. At the conference, I enjoyed meeting families who had a NICU experience and then noticed a need that wasn’t being met, so they launched an organization to help families facing similar challenges was beyond gratifying and inspiring.
At each event, I met people that I enjoyed meeting. I look forward to staying in touch, getting to know each one of them and having them in my life.
Moreover, as a bonus, at each event, I met potential prospects and new clients.
Connecting With People And Making New Friends!
One of my favorite parts of life is connecting with people. I love making new friends!
So, how do I meet and then build long-term relationships with people at events?
- The first thing I do is look for people who inspire me, or we have a commonality. This can be anyone at first. It can be a speaker, or someone I meet, or someone I hope to meet at the conference.
- Once I meet the person, I always try to find some way to connect with them on an individual basis. This can be an interest in a certain topic, a commonality such as a mutual friend or acquaintance, a school we both attended, or any other type of mutual connection, or even asking a question. It really is looking for a means of starting a conversation.
- Conversations can often lead to sharing more time together and talking more during the event.
- Follow up once I get home. If anyone hands me a business card and says, please stay in touch, then I do. The follow up can be an email, a thank you card, a phone call, or in some cases even a text message.
- Add Value- During the follow-up I always try to add value to the person’s life. It can be an introduction to someone, promoting their offer or lead magnet to my email list, asking them if I can share one of their blog posts with my audience or some other way for me to provide value.
- Often during the follow-up, this leads to more conversations and builds on the relationship. As the relationship grows, then find more and more ways to learn about each other’s lives.
- The key to building relationships is to be genuine and to want to provide value and help other people truly. If you are thinking of others, then you will always have people that want to reciprocate and help you also.
Developing Long-Term Relationships
Developing long-term relationships with people is one of the most valuable skills you can develop. It is a skill that will always be beneficial. Often, I think of building relationships and trying to help others is like teamwork. There is no “I” in “Teamwork,” and a team will always outperform any one individual.
So, as you are reaching out and building relationships with new people remember that working together and collaborating is almost always better than working alone. Meet people, make friends, and make a bigger impact together!