Originally published on Entrepreneur Magazine on April 18, 2016.
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Imagine having a power Rolodex full of influencers and market makers. For younger readers, a Rolodex is what we used to keep our contact information in the old days. Today, you probably keep your power Rolodex on your smartphone.
Now, imagine that you are about to make a big move in your business, and you would love to have those influencers help you get the word out and even help you establish credibility with your audience. Relationships are an essential part of a business, and having real relationships with influencers opens up new possibilities.
In case you want to be considered an authority or a thought leader yourself, click on this list of 10 ways to position yourself as the authority in your market. It should help you understand the art of relationships — a critical factor to your success. Nothing gets done without relationships, because business is not a solo sport.
Are you wondering how you create meaningful relationships with others? Well, it starts with intention. Look for areas to serve others and be valuable to them. And, you must do it well in advance of ever calling upon that relationship.
I reached out to Selena Soo, founder of S2 Groupe, who understands this art of relationships. Selena is a publicity strategist who works with visionary entrepreneurs.
“You have to go above and beyond to create deep relationships.” Selena says.
Selena has her own power Rolodex stored in her phone and can call upon those influencers when needed. After talking with her, she is also thoughtful and valuable to these influencers. This is seen by their actions when Selena was ready to launch her business and even as it continues to grow.
Selena is a master of going above and beyond with top influencers. She considers these cherished relationships, not just Facebook friends or Twitter buddies. Here are a two examples of ways Selena has nourished these relationships — and one way she leveraged her network when in a jam.
The feedback that blew him away.
It started with a chance meeting on the streets of Manhattan. Selena has followed Ramit Sethi’s blog for some time. Ramit is a New York Times bestselling author and the founder ofiwillteachyoutoberich.com, and Selena was a big fan. They chatted, and Selena was invited to Ramit’s New York meet-ups to hang out with his friends.
Selena purchased a training course that Ramit offered and kept the conversation going. One day, Ramit reached out to her to get feedback on a new website. Selena could have looked at the site and typed up a few quick comments, but she believes in exceeding expectations. She took the time to gather some friends for a quick focus group, where she documented the conversation amongst them. She gave him pages of notes on the website — and it blew him away.
Ice cream and the dinner party.
In 2014, Selena appeared on an extremely popular podcast,Entrepreneur on Fire hosted by John Lee Dumas. Instead of just a thank you card, she wanted to do something memorable. Selena sent over her favorite gourmet ice cream like goat cheese and red cherries. Well, that got the relationship started off at a different level.
When John Lee planned to be in New York, he immediately thought of connecting Selena. Selena had an even better idea. She decided to throw a dinner party for him. This small event was a great way to connect John Lee to other influencers in Selena’s network and a fantastic example of going “above and beyond.”
Getting out of a jam.
Recently, she hosted an event in New York inviting her clients and guests to learn from her about building relationships. The irony of this is Selena’s ability to fill the stage with influencers like Derek Halpern, founder of SocialTriggers.com, and Ryan Lee, a serial entrepreneur that has amassed several businesses that net him more than seven-figures per month.
What is interesting here is that Selena was in a jam with her event, she had 200 people in the room flying in from around the world and the main speaker could not make it. And she needed a big name to step on stage in a few days. Derek does not do much public speaking now and has publicly stated he has seriously limited his appearances. However, because of the relationship that was established long before… Derek ended up speaking to save the day. He would only do that if he had a strong and committed relationship with Selena.
I hope these examples give you ideas about building deeper relationships with the influencers in your market.
Your network can help you out when you need them if you invest into those relationships with the expectation of not being paid back. If you go above and beyond, those relationships will want to do the same for you.