This is the critical step.
Even though the previous steps take a lot of effort, attention, and patience, connection should not be underestimated and is worth all of the previous work.
The person in front of you is making decisions about you, throughout, subtle split-second decisions. Do I like you? What is your intention? Are you a threat? Do I feel safe? Can I trust you? Are you competent at what you do?
How you traverse this step will determine whether you can successfully complete the Relationship Journey. Done well you have the opportunity to build a long-term relationship, done badly, could result in calls or emails not being returned.
We see evidence of this all the time.
How many of us receive a standard LinkedIn invitation, which arrives out of the blue, from someone we don’t know? We may accept the connection and then…sadly, nothing happens, no message, nothing. What do you think?
Or, we take a look at their profile, are curious about why they may wish to connect with us, and send them a brief message, again, sadly, nothing comes back.
Or, we send them a brief message and they reply. However, the reply is a qualifying question, nothing about making a connection.
I appreciate that ‘life is too short’, so best find out who is in or who is out. This is fine, of course, however, the world has moved on. We can find out all about someone, their products, and services, so why not research first and then reach out with a personal message. At least then the recipient will know why you want to connect, and then they can decide.
But even then, it still feels wrong.
I take a different approach. How about building a relationship first? A human to human one. For sure, be mindful about who you want to invite, and look at their profile and their website. Could there be a relationship? The reality is that we have no idea where a relationship may take us. Even if the recipient is not in the market for our services, they may know someone who is and could make an introduction. We just don’t know.
I can think of two great examples where this approach worked perfectly, Glenn Behenna and Garry Turner. Both of them contacted me as a result of reading something I had posted, both sent me a personalised invitation to connect, and after my replying were keen to follow up with a Zoom call or a face to face meeting, which we subsequently did. Neither were ‘after anything’ quite the opposite, it felt more like, ‘What can I give’. Since then we have shared many conversations. I have learned a lot from my time with them. Both of them have shared contacts, links to blogs or posts that they feel could be of interest, and introductions to events I would never have known about, and I have wholeheartedly reciprocated.
Do I trust these two people? Absolutely. Would I take a call from them late at night? Would I be there for them if they needed my help? Yes, and without hesitation.
If I had a business opportunity for them or they had one for me, what do you think might happen?