My friend Sarah reached out to me to tell me she’d discovered her daughter was bunking at camp with the daughter of a man she’d been trying to get as a client for years. Sarah met the girl’s father during a parents’ weekend, and during their conversation, she mentioned she’d love to talk with him sometime about how they might work together. He was very nice and told her to get in touch with him.
It all sounded great – until Sarah sat down to write a follow up email. That’s when she called me. “What do I say to him?” Sarah asked me in a panic.
I told her to make it conversational, to ask how his daughter was enjoying camp and talk about anything else they might have discussed in their initial conversation. Then add that she would like to get a time to meet on the calendar if he would suggest a few good dates.
“But I don’t want to create all this back and forth between us,” Sarah said. Her response surprised me. “Yes, you do,” I said. “That’s exactly what you want.”
Sometimes the things we have in common are obvious and sometimes you need to dig a little deeper to find them. But it is those similarities that you discover that creates a stronger connection. You absolutely want to find other things to talk about that interest both of you. That’s when it stops feeling like business and starts feeling like friendship.
The more you can take the relationship to the next level – beyond business – the better. Be curious and find common ground on things outside the business world, the stronger connection will enhance your interactions and likelihood of doing business together. After all, people do business with people they like.