On Friday I had lunch at Payard with my friend Stefanie Smith, a very high-end executive coach at Stratex Consulting, here in NYC. In addition to catching up, she also wanted to buy some signed copies of Smart Networking for her clients.
We hadn’t seen each other in a while, so she made me share EVERY detail about what’s been going on with the book promotion, including the “very glamorous day” in December when I appeared on Fox Business News in the morning, ABC News in the afternoon, then flew to Paris with my husband in the evening (as Eddie Murphy said in Trading Places, “This kind of thing happens to me every week.” No, not really! )
At the end of our lunch, I pulled out of my tote bag four copies of Smart Networking, taken from my private stash of books that my publisher sent me. As Stefanie writes out a check for four books and I start to sign the first one, the gentleman sitting with his wife at the table next to us says, “Excuse me, I don’t mean to interrupt but we’ve been eavesdropping on your conversation. You wrote that book and you were on Fox Business News? Can we buy some copies for our kids?”
Stefanie goes into full promo mode and says how wonderful the book is, pulling out her own copy to show how much she’s check-marked and underlined. She offered to give up two of her unsigned books to this couple who were visiting from California. As I’m signing these books for our newfound friends, a woman sitting on the other side of them starts to ask about the book as well, and Stefanie cheerfully gives up her last unsigned copy without blinking an eye.
If we hadn’t already paid the bill, lunch would have been on me as my present to Stefanie for being such a sport. I’ll be sending her replacement copies, of course, but that experience was a strong reminder of how spending time with your strongest supporters can often generate unexpected opportunities, and we should all make sure to do it more often.
So, to get started:
- Identify 3-5 people in your network who know, like and trust you, and who also work in professions synergistic to yours.
- Get together for lunch, coffee, drinks or dinner in the next few months.
- Give each other equal time in describing what’s been going on in your respective businesses and where you want to go.
- As the conversation flows, jump in with an idea, resource or insight that might help them push forward on their most important goal.
- Identify what you can do to help promote them to your network (So Stef, this blog entry’s for you! Thanks!).
For more ideas on how to network with a buddy, read a related article I wrote a few years ago and posted to my website called, Double Your Contacts and Double Your Fun by Networking with a Friend, which describes how two other colleagues Beth Silver and Jeanne McDonald support each other’s business-building efforts through tag-team networking.
Now go find a friend and try this for yourself. It’s really fun.