The Art of Relational Urgency
I love building relationships and I believe strongly in the importance of building emotional, tactical and economic relationships to further my ideas and business dealings. A mentor of mine and a legend in the financial industry, Don Connelly, used to say, “Brian, people don’t fire their friends.” I agree that it is the emotional nature of the relationship that will provide the substance that will allow the bond to transcend time. This concept has become a foundational precept for me as a student of the art and science of business relationships.
At the same time, no one makes money by being a professional visitor. The proverbial glad hander who (is really nice and means well) often talks a big game and never delivers the relational equity needed to create actual commerce. This is often the byproduct and what usually happens when there is no relational urgency.
Sprint to the Event
Everyone is interested in some sort of event. They are interested in driving their business relationships to a mutually accretive event where something is monetized and meaningful commerce is created. Trust me when I say this, “Emotional relationships are important, but they fade in the vocational realm when economics and the monetization of the relationship are out of reach.” Or at least perceived to be out of reach. The emotional relationship will be forged and developed during and after the first win, but no one has fun in the business world if they are not seeing the fruits of their labor.
As another mentor of mine once said, “Its not show friends, its show business. Show them the business and the friendships will most certainly follow.” All of my relationships are not built on a foundation of commerce. However, the ones I encounter in the vocational world had better be.
Its About Time
In the business of sales and relationships, we focus on strategic items such as sunk cost, value, decision makers and centers of influence. While these are very important, none of the aforementioned are remotely as important as that of time.
When a relationship sees its first flicker of opportunity, its first glimpse of promise, a not so imaginary clock begins to tick. Whether it is a date, a meeting, a product purchase or an acquisition, the further away the event is from taking place, the less likely it is to happen.
The clock is ticking on your deal, your relationship and your likelihood of the economic event. How intentional are you with regards to managing the momentum of your relationships on the way to the mutually desired event?
It’s simple. Two people meet, they exchange needs and value propositions, they decide on a mutually desired event and they move heaven and earth to make it happen. What if your strategic alliances and your networking relationships committed to such a standard of energy, effort and follow up? Where would you and your organization be?
You must find a way to galvanize your relationships with an early win to kick start the momentum. As Physics has taught us, the energy exerted in the early stages of movement can be significantly greater than the energy to maintain the movement of an object or a relationship in the future. Therefore, harness the momentum, seek the early win and lay the foundation for a relationship that will be a profitable one. You see, relationships can be profitable both monetarily and emotionally.
Creating Strategic Urgency
I suffered through the gulag of networking and relational development for years before I found an answer for the secret to creating Relationship Momentum. I found out that when I intentionally concentrated on the early event, anything became possible and my relationships began to be worth their weight in gold. I eventually created a physics formula for Relationship Momentum and subsequently a time weighted execution model that I called 903 (Ninety Cubed.) It’s my secret for creating urgency around my efforts and it has served me well in many of my vocational endeavors.
People like things in threes. Its easy to remember. Its easy to execute. Hence the three point sales story surrounding most products or services. Most things have a beginning, a middle and an end. The key here is to have a structure for execution that is both simple and repeatable.
Well 90 works well for me. Your can be 20-30-40 whatever. The structure of your 903 is customizable to suit your specific event. The number is much less relevant than the commitment to being strategic and intentional when forging a new relationship or when seizing an opportunity.
903 In Practice
I first came up with the idea of 903 when helping a few of my younger Financial Advisors learn how to navigate the waters of networking. I was sure that they were just marking off the tactic of attending events as marketing and that they were wasting their time as well as the others they engaged. I developed this three step execution strategy for them:
- 90 Seconds to Make an Impression
- 90 Hours to Follow Up
- 90 Days to Consummate Relationship (Reach an Event)
Another example is one of gathering and creating action around a referral or introduction. Having Ambassadors is useless if there is no event that takes place after the handoff. I wanted to create a sense of urgency that would show the provider of the referral that I was serious about their contribution and that I would create the most efficient yet comfortable path to a mutually accretive economic event. So, I created this 903 path:
- 90 Minutes to acknowledge and qualify the referral
- 90 Hours to Contact the referral directly
- 90 Days to Consummate Relationship (Reach some form of Event)
When presented graphically, it looks like this:
Remember this: The clock is ticking on your deals, your relationships, your referrals and your likelihood of the economic event. Be strategic and intentional with regards to managing the momentum of your relationships. Agree with others on a mutually accretive event. Establish expectations around a 903 Execution Path, actually adhere to said path and watch your level of execution become more defined, purposeful and effective. If you do this, I promise that you will see more victories and shared wins than ever before. You will begin to witness your mutually desired events happen with more regularity and the career long emotional relationships that you seek to build will be forged through the economic ties of the early win.