by Tony Vidler
That is perhaps a bit excessive in today’s environment (and for ageing waistlines), but the concept is more important than ever before as in our increasingly frantically busy work lives and with the emphasis upon moving away from anything that looks like incentives, fun or investing time in relationships.
Yet advisers still often ask how to create and cultivate centre’s of influence who can help drive new prospects and clients to their business. Maybe the answer is “Go to lunch”.
In all seriousness, go to lunch once per week with someone who is, or could be, a potential centre of influence for you and your business. Make it a long’ish lunch (but not an afternoon off). So that is maybe 50 lunches, not 250 like Tom suggested.
The objective is really quite simple: get to know each other. Build trust and respect. See how you can help each other in business. Be interested in them…and they will be interested in you.
The key point is that a long lunch is a luxury for many busy professionals today, and they do not dedicate the time needed to really get to know other professionals. Naturally they do not tend to refer clients to people that they do not feel they know well enough. It is also highly likely that they do not know enough about what you do, and how you do it, and what your philosophies and values are.
Invest time in people in a relaxed and enjoyable environment. Get to know them, and try to help them. They will get to know you and try to help you.
It will pay off, and be good for your business I suspect. Even if it doesn’t quite pay off in terms of prospecting; you need to ease off the intensity at some point each week if you want to stay effective. But time invested in relationships with good people is rarely wasted time.