People often ask me “How do you know the people you know?” “How do you get them to do the things they do for you?”
They often have a tone in their voice that implies they are waiting for me to dispense some secret, some “formula” that will finally reveal what they need to know.
When I give them my answer (which I tell you in just a second), they often look at me like I have twelve heads. Like it isn’t complicated enough, or sophisticated enough or, I don’t know, SOMETHING enough.
Here’s the thing, when I am putting together a Guest Blog Series or a Live Event or anything else that means I need to participation of people who are smarter than I am, I’m pretty good at getting people to say yes.
And here’s the super secret special strategy I use to make that happen: I’ve been building that relationship LONG before I ever need to ask them for anything. So when I ask, it is an easy, natural thing and whether they say “yes” or say “no”, our relationship stays in tact.
I’ve watched people try to “mechanize” this whole relationship thing. Trust me when I say, if you try to use some formulaic approach, people know it. And it will have the opposite affect that you are after. Instead of drawing people toward you, it will repel them in an irreparable way.
That said, I can give you a few ideas on how to start relationships, not only with “famous” people, but also with your tribe. The people you want to connect with so that they engage with the message you are putting out in the world.
Here we go:
1) Be yourself. I mean your strange, weird, quirky self. Not the airbrushed version of yourself. People love connecting with REAL people who talk about REAL life. I talk about my children, Harry Potter, the weather, all kinds of non-business related stuff. That’s what people connect with – not your latest gizmo or widget.
2) Pay attention. Notice what your people are talking about. Do you share an interest? Say so. Seen a movie they are thinking of seeing? Say so? Are they trying to spread the word about something they are up to? Help them out.
3) Laugh. A lot. The people I love most are the people who make me laugh. The people I connect with most easily are the people I’ve shared many laughs with. There is no substitute. The end.
4) Keep your relationship light. There is nothing creepier than the person who laughs at everything you say, shares everything you say and generally stalks you. Don’t be that guy.
5) Give tons and tons and tons before you ever ask for anything.
6) Take the conversation to the phone or skype or real life. This part is HUGE!
6) When it is time to ask for something, make sure you know that it is a good fit for what they are up to. And tell them why you think it would HELP them. (And just so you know, “it would help me out a lot” isn’t a good reason for someone to do anything for/with you.)
So there you go. My super secret “formula” for this really complicated thing called “making friends”.
Would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and challenges around this, so be sure to share in the comments!