Today I bumped into an old business associate while shopping at Costco with my family. I haven’t seen or heard from him in over three years, though I still receive his weekly emails that I can’t seem to unsubscribe from.
Our conversation centered on three main points:
- He’s not busy.
- He wants to know if I have any work I could send his way.
- Maybe if I send him some work, he’ll reciprocate.
This would not build a strong business relationship! While relationships should be quid pro quo, it’s imperative that they’re genuine. Do you want work (or anything else) from me? Then take an interest in me. Put me in your debt. Be a nice person, genuinely. Make me like you.
Do not imply that if things don’t turn around for you soon, you’ll have to sell your house.
Last night I ran into a colleague in the ad industry, and she told me this story.
On May 16, 2011, a wildfire tore through the town of Slave Lake, Alberta. One-third of the city was destroyed. Fortunately, no one was reported hurt.
My friend thought that one of her clients, a home builder who does a lot of business in the Slave Lake area, should do something simple to help the people of Slave Lake. She came up with a great plan to have the client set up donation boxes at show homes across the province. It seemed like a real win-win-win for all: It would be easy to set up, wouldn’t cost much, would get the client some additional traffic into the show homes, and would help people affected by the tragedy.
The client scoffed, however. “We don’t want to be associated with tragedy,” my friend was told.