When you meet people, network with them, talk to them, and connect with them. It is a great thing if you aren’t always thinking about yourself and how you can benefit.
Think about the other guy. Try to do nice things. Do your best to be helpful. Spread good karma and just see what happens.
Most of the time, good things will come back to you in unexpected ways because people will think you are a good person and they will want to reciprocate or help you. Marketing is all about statistics and you cannot predict outcomes. All you can therefore logically do is set things up so that outcomes are likely to occur and be positive for you. What could be better than just doing a ton of really nice and helpful things for people in your core industry?
Along these lines, don’t be a jerk!
If you have power over an adversary in a business dealing, or in representing a client, don’t rub it in their faces. Be respectful and as friendly as the situation permits.
In particular, when people are in trouble, don’t let them wither on the vine, but rather choose to help them out in any way you can. Indeed, times of trouble are when we all figure out who our friends are.
Along these lines, some obvious admonitions are the following:
- Don’t screw over your partners or colleagues.
- Don’t blow people off — perhaps by saying that you will do something, but then not getting around to doing it.
- Don’t mistreat those below you. The junior associate lawyer you treated like crap because you thought he was a moron and likely can’t cut it at a law firm may someday be the same person you will run into as a very senior (and maybe very powerful) in-house counsel at a major client or prospect. Gulp! Boy will you wish you could turn back the clock and undo all the meanness you gave him when you had that power. When you have power over someone else, overdo not misusing that power. What comes around goes around sometimes… in both a good way and a bad way.
If you really do your best to just be a good person, good stuff will happen to you — and the converse.
One thing that is somewhat metaphysical is that if you act like a jerk to people, you will never know how many referrals and opportunities you didn’t get because you acted that way. Think about it for a moment: all sorts of good things that could have happened just don’t happen and you don’t know what could have been… sigh.
In this vein, a short story is as follows: One thing I do, is I make a ton of referrals for my clients. In other words, if two clients might do good business as a team, I refer them to one another. Both clients typically greatly appreciate that I do this.
Well, I had a client who was so gosh-darned awful that I finally fired him as client. He was just not a nice person. I couldn’t in good conscience connect him with any of my other clients as it just wasn’t right to do it. What was I going to say? “Toby, I would like to introduce you to my other client, Tobias. He is a major jerk and you will love working with him.”
Ironically, this client’s business was very suited to that of my other clients. He has lost out on at least 20 introductions (no exaggeration) that I would have made to him. He doesn’t know how much business he lost by acting so negatively though, and he never will. Too bad, so sad….