Daniel DiPiazza said one sentence and blew my mind.
You know those shotgun moments of clarity where something suddenly makes sense?
One moment you're knocking on the door, trying to pick the lock and peeking into the windows of a particular problem. Then, your saviour rocks up and opens the door for you (generously giving you the key).
He said, paraphrasing,
"Businesses are run by people. Chasing business is a dead end. Build real relationships with the people behind the business and you will have all the opportunity you could ask for."
In other words... show people you care about them.
As simple as that sounds, I didn't quite grasp the concept of building my network. You might also have struggled with similar thoughts as:
"If only I knew this person."
"How can I work with this person?"
"I feel like I'm the only one going through this."
As Tim Ferriss is always saying, "your network is your net worth."
A strong friendship group is powerful beyond measure. Financially, emotionally, physically, spiritually; your network contributes to how you think, behave and grow.
You become just like the people you hang out with. We know this. We want to be friends with people on our wavelength who will grow with us. A rising tide raises all ships.
But how can you actually do something about it?
Great relationships are built by giving.
True giving is the art of relationships.
As John Ruhlin states in his popular book 'Giftology',
"Radical generosity is the against-the-grain secret weapon of real influencers."
The simple act of giving an incredibly thoughtful and lasting gift can build instant relationships and powerfully accelerate current ones.
It doesn't always have to be for a purpose. Learning to give a great gift is a skill which can improve any relationships you have. Giving for the sense of knowing you're making someone's life better is all the return on investment you need.
Jon Goodman, of the PTDC, is a master gifter. He believes gifting is the best form of advertising and his success leads me to agree with him.
Some tips from Jon on gifting:
Don't gift when they are expected.
Give something with personal meaning.
Give something top of class and high-quality.
Give something which will be used a lot. Every time they use it they will think of you.
If possible, put their name on it.
A unique, thoughtful gift is rewarding for both the giver and receiver. Many opportunities have developed from true giving.
Great relationships are built through caring.
We all think we are good listeners. We aren't.
Instead of listening to understand, we listen to reply. How our own experiences relate to the basis of what they are saying while overlooking the details of what they are actually saying.
We are actually terrible at listening.
As we speak we usually drop references to things we care about. Passing phrases said in a way not to make too much impact.
"My Mum makes the best lasagne."
"I can't get enough of motivational cat posters."
"I'd love some pancakes right about now." (wouldn't we all...)
These go overlooked and unacknowledged.
Daniel told us a story about him posting a Facebook status about craving pancakes. 30-minutes later a fresh batch was delivered right to his door. A Facebook friend had noticed and ordered him some. Daniel has never forgotten.
If you can be the person who begins to hear these things as people speak you will be able to form fantastic bonds.
Imagine remembering a throwaway reference to a friends dog's birthday and then texting them to wish their dog a happy birthday. You will be the only person to do this. No one else will care about this dogs birthday, but you can bet your friend cares about it (if they are like any other dog owner I know).
Be the person to repeatedly acknowledge the little things.
It shows you care.
This is powerful.
Another way to care is to reach out to people when they are going through a hard time.
Social media is a platform where people can air their emotions in the subtle hope of acknowledgement. If it's an obvious cry for help, reach out.
Let a person know that you are available to talk if they want. They may not reply. That's not the point. The point is to show you care.
Live. Laugh. Love. A terribly bastardised phrase.
As commonly as this phrase is said by 17 year old girls in their Instagram caption, the phrase has deeper merit. John Romaniello showed me how these three words are the basis of relationships.
Shared experiences develop bonds. In times of transformation, we can create lasting memories and share these with the people involved.
Consider two guys rooming together at uni. On the first day,
"Did we just become best friends?" "Yup!"
Put yourself in a state of vulnerability with others. In this situation we allow our emotions (humour, love, fear, desire ect.) to surface. It's no wonder 'going for a drink' is such a popular social activity.
Helping someone find acceptance, acknowledgement, connection and love connects you in deeply rooted ways. It's the result of the above and taken a step further.
In other words -- help them get laid, make more money and solve their problems. You will share that success.
How to become friends with people who are 'above you on the totem pole'.
Daniel also told us of a man.
He has never met this man, but if he asked Daniel for a favour, Daniel would go out of his way to help him.
The reason is this man has liked and positively commented on every single piece of content Daniel has put out for the last six years. Asking nothing in return, actively being his number one fan.
One way to build a relationship is to become a known name to that person. Consume, comment on and share all of their content, always in a positive light.
Some other ways you can build a relationship with someone 'above' you:
Give true compliments.
Give insanely thoughtful and useful gifts.
Go out of your way to make their life easier.
Become a fantastic student.
A little more on that last one.
Paying to become a client of someone you admire puts you in a position to show them what type of person you are. They are at a point where they find success in helping others succeed. If you become a superstar student of theirs they will trust you, admire you and want to continue the relationship.
Relationships improve your chances of a lucky accident.
Some people seem lucky. But is it really luck, or are they actively putting themselves into a position where opportunities are thrown at them?
Having a large network based on real, giving, caring relationships is the ultimate business goal you can have. If you can do this, you will never have financial or emotional struggles.
It takes time and effort.
Like anything worthwhile.
But the benefits are more than worth it.
P.S. If you'd like to be friends, add me on my personal Facebook page. I WILL ask you how you're doing.