The Relationship Game

Designing a game where you always win.

There's a recent quote from James Clear that stood up to me last week:

"The person who gets 1 shot needs everything to go right.
The person who gets 1000 shots is going to score at some point.
Find a way to play the game that ensures you get a lot of shots."

Consciously designing the game you play is incredibly important for us to make the best out of our lives and businesses. What most consultants forget about is that this is also true for our relationships.

Why do your relationships matter to you? What's your goal in sustaining them?

If you see them exclusively as a source of business, chances are you will:

  • Adopt a spray-and-pray approach by reaching out to a huge number of people as efficiently as possible. To make this happen, your message will necessarily come across as impersonal, opportunistic, and intrusive.
  • Fail to nurture important relationships when there's no potential gain for you in the short-term, or no clear business opportunities for you to benefit from.
  • Hurt your brand and reputation in the process, since people can feel your real intentions and don't enjoy being sold to.

How do you get 1000 shots to score in a relationship? It's surprisingly simple: By focusing on being helpful.

When you focus on being helpful to your contacts, you end up:

  • Building natural rapport and earning trust from people before you even talk business with them. There's no need to "chase prospects" - they will be happy to hear from you.
  • Diagnosing before prescribing. By exploring the root cause of their challenges, you help them clarify and solve the problem more effectively while identifying if they're really a good fit for your services. It's a win-win situation.
  • Adding value to your network, even when they're a bad fit and you can't directly solve their issues. By focusing on being helpful (instead of selling), you can send referrals and cross-introduce people in your network. This will boost your reputation and mindshare among your contacts.

You can spam thousands of leads hoping they need exactly what you offer, or you can be helpful in a thousand different ways to a selected number of prospects. Which one of these games would you rather play?

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