While I was preparing the video for “Lots and Lots of Meetings” I remembered a conversation I had with a colleague years ago.
I came across Andrea Nierenberg, a business relationship expert, in a newsletter where we had both published an article. So, on a whim, I shot out an email asking her to meet with me.
Andrea quickly got back to me and we had a great conversation.
Turns out that Andrea was known as the “Thank You Note Queen” as she had gained a reputation for sending out lots and lots of thank you notes to clients, networking connections, and prospective clients.
I loved Andrea’s approach so much that I wrote an article about her and her approach and also did a live audio interview with her (it’s still in my More Clients Club).
And as a result of that, Andrea started to spread the word of my business far and wide.
And all of this started simply by reaching out to ask for a conversation that had only happened because of the random chance of being published in the same newsletter.
Something I talk and write a lot about these days is getting more meetings and having more conversations.
But the truth is, meetings and conversations almost always happen randomly. Here are a couple of notable examples.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the Google founders, met when Larry was taking advantage of a guided tour for prospective students at Stanford University that Larry was conducting. What if Sergey had never shown up for that tour?
Apple founders, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were introduced by a mutual friend, Bill Fernandez, who knew Jobs from high school and was a neighbor of Wozniak. Apparently, the stars were aligned!
So, do we need to wait for fate to intervene to meet with someone who could help our business, or perhaps change our lives?
Well, no, we should start to think of who we’d like to meet and search for a way to make it happen intentionally.
In some cases, these may be prospective clients, in other cases, valuable networking contacts like Andrea, or perhaps a mentor.
About 25 years ago I was introduced to Alan Weiss’s book, “Million Dollar Consulting” and it may have been the most valuable book on consulting I had ever read.
Not long after that, I had joined IMC (Institute of Management Consultants) and learned that they were looking for a speaker for an IMC fundraiser. Alan Weiss was named as a possible candidate, but everyone thought he was unapproachable.
So, I stuck up my hand and said, “I’ll call him.” And I did. I told him what we were looking for and he immediately agreed. We ended up with a sold-out event and raised several thousands of dollars for IMC.
After that, we stayed in touch and I’ve interviewed him a few times for my virtual programs.
Yes, some connections you simply can’t anticipate, but for many others, you can put yourself in a place where the chances of connection increase exponentially.
Thomas Edison was a big hero of Henry Ford. In fact, in his early days, he worked in one of Edison’s factories. Ford decided to attend the convention for the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies in 1886 and, of course, he ended up meeting Edison and talking to him about an early invention of his. This conversation was a major inspiration for his career and Ford and Edison forged a deep, life-long friendship.
So, here are my questions for you:
Who do you want to meet?
Why do you want to meet them?
Where could you connect with them?
Who do you know most likely to know them?
What will you do to increase the chances of that happening?
Look, there is no perfect blueprint for this but one thing is important to remember:
What connections, affiliations, shared interests, alma matter, place of birth, professional expertise, hobbies, or an endless array of other things might you have in common with this person?
Do a little research on LinkedIn or the web and I predict you’ll find something, perhaps a number of things, that will facilitate the connection.
Then dash off an email and see what happens!
P.S. Make sure to watch my video, “How to Get Lots and Lots of Meetings” which will give you many more ideas on this topic.