Imagine that you met someone at a conference and instead of thinking that you were just going to know them for the next 15 minutes, you actually reframed that and asked yourself, “What if I would know this person for the next 50 years?”
It’s a really interesting question and something that I decided to shift in my thinking about seven years ago.
Any time I meet someone, I don’t think about how to get to know them in 15 minutes, I actually ask myself, “What would it be like if this person was a part of my life as a friend or a potential partner for the next 50 years?”
In the internet world, where I play and where I build companies, I’ve always taken this really “long” approach to business.
For me, it’s not about the transactional nature of things and just getting deals done.
It’s about asking how I can create value for this person and how I can get to know them, KNOWING that I would probably be in this industry with that person for the next 50 years… not 15 minutes!
What would change?
How would it change your life?
What would be different if you came from that perspective?
Maybe you would try to spend more time trying to get to know who they were – as a person – not just as an entrepreneur or business leader, but truly as a person and find out what makes them tick.
One of the things I love doing when I meet someone is finding out what their passions are.
Some people are quick to assume that it’s whatever they are working on in their business, but that’s not always the case!
Sometimes they are passionate about their baby (maybe they are a new father or a new mother), maybe it’s a ski trip they take every year with their friends because they really enjoy being outside, whatever it is for them!
I go on this “inspector-like” process to get to know people, because honestly, I have a really hard time being friends with people when I don’t understand what drives them – simply because I have that “50 year” mindset.
Something else that may be different if you were coming from the perspective of knowing a person for 50 years, is that you would also try to be helpful.
What better way to build a relationship with somebody then right off the bat say, “Hey, I really like what you are working on, I know somebody that could maybe help you out.
Did you want me to make an introduction?” Even if they so no, or it’s not good timing, the fact that you kicked that off with an opportunity to create value for that person, really sets the stage for a long term relationship.
I think it’s a very powerful opportunity for everybody in business – no matter where you are in the world – to stop thinking in a “transactional” nature.
I don’t even go to “Business after 5” events anymore because I felt like people were just stuffing business cards in my face and asking me the stupidest questions!
The dumbest question I get asked is, “What would an ideal customer look like for you, because I would like to make an introduction or refer somebody to you!” And in my mind, I’m like, “You don’t even know me man! Why would you refer somebody to me if you don’t even know if what I do is awesome or not?!”
Instead of trying to meet everybody in the room, try to spend time with two people.
There’s a great quote that says:
“You will accomplish more in your lifetime trying to build a genuine interest in two people, then trying to get everybody interested in you.”
~ Dale Carnegie
I live by that.
It’s these little things that I feel we need to change in our perspective on how we approach things.
If you are on board with this concept, then the next time you meet somebody, sit down and really get to know them.
If you believe you are going to get to know them over the next 50 years, then you’re going to want to get their email address, follow them on twitter and also friend them on facebook.
Really add value to them.
Wish them a happy birthday when that comes around.
It might sound crazy, and you may think that you don’t have the time to do all of that, but trust me – you DO have the time.
Again, reframe it to be 50 years, not 15 minutes.
Obviously I’m ridiculously passionate about this topic, because I know I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the people who believed in me and let me stand on their shoulders.
So with that, I want to challenge you to stack your business for growth, by focusing on 50 years – not 15 minutes, and I hope you have an extraordinary day! All the best!