Using people is bad, right? Yes and No. Learning how to leveraging relationships properly can be a real asset to your business development tool box.
The first thing to consider is that you have to help people use YOU. You have to be a giver. You have to offer to help others succeed without expecting anything in advance. As you make this habit, you will begin to develop relationships with people that can help you in return. The important thing is to remember that you want to use your relationships wisely.
For example, you are at a cocktail party and get introduced to a shy, but self-made billionaire. What do you do? Do you get him to buy you drinks and dinner or do you take his business card and suggest people that he should meet? You might be thinking “how can I possibly help someone that is much more successful and influential than I am?” The truth is that everyone needs new contacts and many successful people got to where they are by leveraging contacts. If you practice the “how can I help you?” mentality, you will find that when you need a real favor, people remember that you helped them.
What about using clients? There are some clients that will support you every day of the week. They will evangelize for you. But sometimes you need their help obtaining new clients or gaining credibility. How do you leverage clients at the right time? Providing stellar service and developing personal relationships with clients can benefit you in ways that you never imagined. However, it is important to ask yourself, “is this the right time to use my client?” or “is this opportunity important enough?
We all meet people who can help us and we all need help in business. The critical thing is to know how and when to take advantage of your circle of influence.
How do you use people? Do you save up strong contacts for a rainy day? When was the last time you called in a favor? How was it perceived? Please share your stories.