Last time, I shared the first part of my answer to Justine’s question: “How can I maximize my contact list and make sure that I am tapping into the opportunities out there while I am working?”
Today, I’ll dive into this topic a bit deeper.
Friendship Marketing includes the concept of nurturing. To nurture, according to Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, means to “to supply with nourishment; educate; or to further the development of; foster.” To nurture some means that it requires input, exchange, development, and interaction between you and others. This means more than just creating a contact list through Linked-In! Therefore, to properly “Friendship Market” means that you must invest yourself in the process of nurturing others.
C.S. Lewis said, “Friendship seemed the happiest and most fully human of all loves; the crown of life and the school of virtue.” He also said, “Friendship is…the least natural of loves; the least instinctive, organic, biological, gregarious and necessary.” Therefore, Friendship Marketing, then, it requires “a kinder, gentler self-centeredness,” according to Gerald R. Baron, author of Friendship Marketing. Baron says, “Friendships are good for us. They require us to trade our selfish needs for a greater good. They push us to admit there is a world, a viewpoint, a way of thinking that’s a little different from our own.”
Yet I find that we are less tolerant of others. Recently, at my doctor’s office, I was discussing this concept of Friendship Marketing with her during my annual physical. She told me something that was very disturbing. “I’ve lost patients and friends, dear friends,” she said, “because I have a different point-of-view than they do. When I opened up with them about what I believed about certain issues, these ‘friends’ of mine told me that they didn’t agree and boldly stated that they could no longer be in any relationship with me.” How sad! Have we come to a place that we must all agree 100% before we can be friends?
But I digress.
Friendship Marketing to yield opportunities for you and Justine means that it will cost you in time, commitment, and, occasionally, compromise. Yet the value of building long-term relationships means the investment will pay off – sometimes 10 times the amount you put into the relationship. But it does require your investment first.
Friendship Marketing requires a strategic focus, too, in who you build relationships with!
My advice is to limit your friendship marketing to about 30 high-level Power Brokers. Select the “critical few” strategy versus the “connected many” tactics that are promoted today with Social Networking. Remember that about 90 percent of your opportunities will come from only about 10 percent of your network. Therefore, nurturing strategic relationships that matter is critical to your long-term success and the ability to tap into opportunities within your network. That means building strategic relationships with leaders.
According to Baron, “Being strategic is simply finding the quickest, easiest, least expensive and most effective way to get to your destination. You need to find those who understand your value, your offering, and those who you can make happy. Never concern yourself too much with the others.”
I couldn’t agree more.
There are many folks who come into my network when they need something (that is, they sign-up for my newsletter, ask for a Strategy Session, attend my Webinars) but the minute that they land a job they opt-out, mark my communiques as “spam”, or ask for more time without any desire to hire me. These people are not friends; they are contacts. It’s okay with me that they do so because they give me an initial opportunity to nurture and build a relationship with me. But it is always a two-way street and if someone doesn’t want to have that relationship with me, there is little I can do about it. They are the “others” that Baron talks about.
But between you and me, let’s work a bit harder to stay in relationship with each other. Let’s be a bit more tolerant of our individual differences. And let’s invest in each other more so that we grow – together.
I’m looking for more friends; aren’t you?