This is yet another blog in a series I’m devoting to the “art of business.” One technique that I know is used by those who have mastered that art — and that separates the “pros” from the “amateurs” in terms of success — comes down to just two words: “showing up”.
But what, exactly, does that mean? It means being there in person whenever and wherever you can. It means always being willing to go to someone else’s office or environment — their home, club, favorite restaurant, wherever. One of my most successful friends always insists on coming to my office, and I always reply, no I will come to your office, which has become kind of a standing joke between us. But this individual basically wins the lottery every year from an income standpoint, and if you ask him how, he’d probably say it’s by always showing up no matter where or when the occasion calls for it. He always meets with people in their offices rather than his, or else over breakfast or lunch, and basically spends his entire week on the road interacting with business contacts and new leads as well as friends.
Now, you might be surprised to learn that the individual I’m talking about is really not what you’d call a “social butterfly.” He is in fact basically shy, with an almost savant-like personality. But the “art” at which he excels is the business of discovery, He has done everything from marketing medical devices to oil trading to selling chicken in Russia, all by meeting interesting people and taking the time to understand them and what their needs are. In his own way, then, he becomes an artist in the way he “draws” other people to him – and in the degree of heart and passion he puts into every endeavor that he undertakes. And it is by always showing up on the scene that he is able to reshape it by sheer force of his personality, and thus make it his “canvas.”
Of course, not everyone can do what he does – but you’ll never know to what extent you, too, might influence the people and situations you’d like to work with unless you enter their domain. So I’d suggest that you try meeting with people in this manner as much as possible for, say, the next month. (And if that’s impossible, Skype.)
If nothing else, you’ll have a better understanding of their culture and “where they’re coming from” – and a better sense of how you might lend your own talents and inspiration to that scene, and thus transform a lead into a success story.