I met a guy the other day at a networking event and he asked me what I did for work. I told him that a big part of my business was coaching entrepreneurs to be more empowered and effective in developing their businesses. His response was to ask me, in what I felt to be a pretty insulting way, what metrics I used to determine how successful my work was with my clients. Hmmm.
While I think that was a fair and efficient question in one way, I felt a little like a piece of meat that was being evaluated. It was, after all, only the second sentence that he had said to me.
It reminded me of a guy who goes into a bar and goes up to each girl asking whether she sleeps with guys on the first date. You know, at least buy me a glass of wine or something before you use me and toss me aside.
I used to know a secretary who worked for the CEO and Chairman of the Board of one of the largest defense contractors in the world. The CEO was meeting with the CEO of a similar company to talk about buying one of their divisions – a billion dollar level deal. My friend, the secretary, said that she had asked her boss about the meeting and he described it something like this.
It was a lunch meeting between the two CEO’s and they spent most of the lunch talking about their wives and kids and soccer and other everyday stuff. Towards the end of the meeting, the one CEO took a cocktail napkin and wrote – “$1 billion” on it and slid it across to the other CEO. That was his company’s offer to buy the division of the other company.
Obviously, someone had done a lot of work to come up with that dollar amount but for people at the top, the language tends to be pretty simple and straight forward. It also tends to begin with relationship not metrics.
When I was a member of the National Speakers Association they used to tell us over and over that as a speaker, your audience doesn’t care what you know until they know that you care. I truly felt like the guy at this networking event did not care about ME in any way.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that an invasive and overwhelming approach can be quite effective in a search and destroy mission. But really, if you are just at a networking event rather than a war zone, that approach can have you overlooking some serious value that others might have to offer.
If you know anything about me and my work then you will know that this guy’s approach was what I call, classic Achievement model and, as a result, it limits the very awareness that could have been transformative for him. He might have known what he wanted, but I can tell you for sure, he did not know what I had to offer.
I tell my clients that creating relevance with your market is the biggest challenge that you will face. Those people who are most effective at doing that tend to rise to the top of the organization. Relevance is what lies underneath relationship and it has to do with energy not metrics. If you want transformation in your life and in your business, relevance and the relationship it creates is key.
If I meet you at a networking event, buy me a drink and ask me about my kids. Do that and I can pretty much guarantee you that I will find something valuable and relevant to give you in return.
PS Post comment or hit the “like” button to let me know if these ideas are useful to you.