My guest today is Jillian Vorce.
For more than two decades, Jillian has been helping professionals make connections and attain their business goals. With a focus on networking and relationship development, she works to open doors and create opportunities. Her trustworthiness and highly positive energy have inspired senior-level executives and business owners across the globe. In 2003 she founded The Jillian Group, Inc., where her team provides strategic relationship development and management consulting services.
Jillian’s previous work includes her first book “20/20 Mind Sight: Refocus, Reignite, & Reinvent Your Life From the Inside Out” and the TEDx Talk “The Lens of Connectivity.”"My whole framework for the way I show up for relationships, and therefore the way I show up for business and life is about planting and thinking of relationships as assets, not personal assets per se, but indirect assets for… Click To Tweet
In today’s episode, Jillian and I address the following topics:
- The importance of relationships in business
- If networking works and whether it’s enough
- How to build a community and why it matters
- How communities are different from networking groups
- Jillian’s secret recipe for nurturing relationships
- And so much more
Complimentary 30-Minute Brainstorm Session
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[00:00:00] video1868460104: hey, Jillian, so good to speak to you today. Hi there, Sarah . Look forward to this conversation. Yeah, it’s been on my calendar for a while. I’m excited that today’s finally here. Yeah, and we have Kelly to thank for the introduction, so thank you, Kelly. If you’re listening, . Yeah, thanks Kelly. She’s great. She’s wonder.
[00:00:19] She’s a great one. Yeah. All right, well, we’re gonna talk about relationships. Um, in business, I guess, because that’s the purpose of this podcast, but mm-hmm. overall relationships are important, right? So mm-hmm. , I gonna be focusing on, uh, a few types of business relationships, and you call them relationships.
[00:00:41] I, uh, in the seven Ps of humane marketing, I also call them, uh, partnerships. So to. It’s the same thing. I don’t know, maybe you mm-hmm. can say if you see a difference, but, but kind of let’s start with you and why, why I got you on the podcast for this topic. Right on, on your [00:01:00] LinkedIn profile, you say that you are the chief handshaker of the gym group.
[00:01:04] Yeah. So what’s a chief Handshaker do? Tell us about your role and kind of what you do in, in. Sure. So that I had to kind of, uh, reevaluate during covid times. Right. Chief Handshaker wasn’t happening too often, right. Um, in the physical sense. So then we went the digital handshake route. But, um, in any case, so the Chief Handshaker title came to be a few years ago, several years ago, um, when, you know, getting, I think it was when I was getting my LinkedIn profile set up and thinking about what would my title be, and it felt like everybody was a c e o.
[00:01:40] It felt. . Mm. That’s not really the image that I had of myself. It wasn’t really, it just felt not in alignment with who I was. And so I went through a whole host of different ideas and then thought about what do I actually do and what I actually do, what I have always done and what I love to do [00:02:00] is to shake hands and create opportunities.
[00:02:03] I was. Chief Handshaker, let’s go with it. And it was a little bit like, I’m not taking myself too seriously. It was kind of somewhat tongue in cheek, but also literal. So I went with it and then lo and behold, it’s like, I don’t know, a year or something later, a couple years later, LinkedIn featured me in one of their articles talking about how to optimize your profile and utilizing the title.
[00:02:26] And I thought, well, look at that. You know, it’s like kind of, kind of funny how it worked out that way. Certainly that was not. expectation or intent. Um, I like it. But anyhow, yeah, that’s really what I do. Um, mm-hmm. . So I’ve been, that’s the one thing, uh, when I look at the arc of my career, um, and even beginning as a late teenager, I started building relationships.
[00:02:49] Um, and that has carried me throughout my career to the point that every single piece of business I’ve ever done is a direct result of a relationship or a. , [00:03:00] um, period. Mm-hmm. . So it’s, um, not really theory for me, it’s, um, it’s what I believe in my core. It’s all to, it’s to me, everything is about relationship.
[00:03:10] Um, And so, and I love how you, that’s my high level. You’re not really calling it networking, you know, like, it, it, yeah, you can get into that, how it’s different, but yeah, I can feel that it’s somehow different than, than just networking. It is, to me it is. Um, but it’s tricky. It’s like this idea of a brand or, you know, as a brand who we say we are or what other people say of.
[00:03:36] Right. And so sometimes language is what, you know, the collective people use. And so the word that a lot of people utilize is networking. I get that. Um, and I understand strategic networking, I understand all that. But you know, just for a moment, you know, one of the, the, um, consistent offers or requests I’ve had through my career is, ah, Jillian, will you come [00:04:00] train my sales?
[00:04:01] It’s like, mm. I’m not really a sales trainer and, and, and everybody always tries to put me in sales. Uh, great at sales. I never tried to sell anything, ever. I never, I don’t like that. And that’s the thing about networking piece, it’s, it always felt like doing something to get something. Yeah. Uh, whereas for me, my whole framework for the way I show up for relationships, and therefore the way I show up for business and life is about planting.
[00:04:31] um, and thinking of relationships as assets, not personal assets per se, but indirect assets for, uh, opportunities to help other people. And so I continuously have been building relationships and planting these seeds and nurturing them for 10, 20, 25 years. Um, so it’s, that’s, I don’t know if that makes sense.
[00:04:54] Maybe it’s semantics. It makes a lot of sense. And maybe it kind. . You know, it’s similar to my [00:05:00] selling, like we’re human book, right? Mm-hmm. where when, when I, I’m in marketing, but when people ask me, well, what about selling? You know, can you create a write a book about selling? I’m like, I’m not a salesperson.
[00:05:12] I hate selling, right? Yeah. Right. But then I’m like, well, I do sell, uh, like I, you know, do make money and have clients, so, right. Um, I can share that. And I, right. And I think selling, like we’re human is actually about these relationships. A lot of, a lot of it, right. That’s what you’re saying as well. For sure.
[00:05:33] It’s like the idea as you’re talking about, well of course you are doing business, of course sales are happening. Right. But I think of it as in terms of relationships not being transactional. Right. And so that, I like that as the idea for it’s partnerships. It’s, it’s, Kind of, um, reciprocal. It’s not, it’s not just a singular transaction.
[00:05:53] And so, um, that’s what networking feels like. It feels like, let me find you. And so I understand sometimes [00:06:00] there’s a time and place for that, but by and large, you know, kind of day in and day out, I don’t kind of operate in that way. So I think that much more in the, you know, the humane, the human realm.
[00:06:11] Like we’re actually doing people. Actual people. Yeah. So we should treat them like people . Exactly. Right. Yeah. I love that. Yeah. So good. All right, well we start, we decided to kind of pick some of the areas that you were saying that there’s 10 vital, um, kind of types of relationships in the business. And we, we picked out a few that we are gonna focus on here in, in, uh, in this conversation.
[00:06:38] So, , maybe before we go there again, just kind of like in general, maybe you can give an example of what relationships did for your business. Um, sure. I just wanted to show the importance and we just talked before we started recording, like all the people that we know in common and Right. How, you know, like maybe just to [00:07:00] give people an understanding of what that does in business.
[00:07:03] Like how does that help? Sure. Something like tangible. Yeah. Sure. So, let’s see. Um, relationships, well, I had alluded a few moments ago to every piece of business, everything I’ve ever done is a direct result of relationships that were built along the way. Um, . And that’s, that’s quite true. So, uh, an example, um, is my, the, the TEDx talk that I did years ago, um, was a relationship.
[00:07:34] I just, I was, uh, chair of a board and, uh, we had a strategic consultant come in and was, you know, presenting and I was, um, doing this thing I call being professionally human. I was paying attention to him and, uh, paying like a lot of attention to him and taking notes and, um, was completely engaged with his presentation.
[00:07:57] So afterwards, he said, you know, Jillian, he said, I’ve [00:08:00] been doing this for decades, and he said, you paid such close attention to me. It was almost distracting. He said, I’m. Curious to get to know you more. Can we meet for coffee and talk? And so that was, you know, the germination of a relationship such that a month or so later he emailed me and he’s like, Jillian, I’m on vacation in Switzerland.
[00:08:20] There we go, . Um, but I just found out that there’s a TEDx coming up and I think that you should be, you know, included in it. So I, I have a relationship with the woman that’s producing it, so I let her. Um, that I, you know, advocate for you and she would like to talk to you. Mm-hmm. . And so there I was doing a TEDx three weeks after that
[00:08:39] Um, and this was back in the day when it was like very new. Mm-hmm. . Um, so that’s an example. Um, there’s so many. I have, you know, I met somebody else through a local public library. I pay attention. I. I’m a huge fan of local libraries, public libraries. So I saw on the bulletin board what’s going on. I always check it out.
[00:08:58] And there was a talk [00:09:00] coming up, so it was of interest and I was like, personal finance or something. So I went and I was like 50 years younger than everybody in the room. Um, which was so puzzling to me. But that’s like my life. Uh, anyhow, and I met the, the, um, the author afterwards and we chatted a little bit.
[00:09:17] Kind of exchanged cards. And one of us followed up a month or so, two months later, and we just connected and began to meet regularly. And he would write to me and say, I need a Jillian fix. Can we get together? And so doing that for the sake of building a relationship and just showing up and being present without an agenda.
[00:09:38] Mm-hmm. , um, in, in really, Showing interest and just being, again, professionally human. Mm-hmm. , um, eventually, turns out he became a professor at Boston College. So then he invited me in to come and teach networking, so applied networking for young professionals as a course that I created. And so I lectured at at Boston College for six years.[00:10:00]
[00:10:00] Um, and then he came and said he was working on his ninth book, uh, and he would like to collaborate with me on it, so I was able to get my first book up and out through collaboration with him. Wow, what a great example. I just love the sentence, you know, I wrote it down like, being professionally human.
[00:10:19] That is such a good phrase. Um, it just, yeah, it shows what you, exactly how you described it, like you pay extra attention. Kind of like in a human and humane way. Yes. But you make the specific choice of saying, I’m gonna pay extra attention here because I like the human and L, and I guess I like what? The human is saying, right, professionally, like intellectually, right?
[00:10:47] You’re like, sure. We, we connect on an intellectual level, we connect on a value level. Yes. And I wanna be closer to this human right. Yes. And the other thing I think is about the [00:11:00] respect level, because this idea of like, people do business with those they know, like, and trust, right? That’s true. But I also sometimes wonder if the word like could be traded for respect.
[00:11:11] Mm-hmm. because, . Um, you know, the people that I work with and the people who choose to work with me, they may like me, but I hope they respect me in. Conversely, the people that I work with, they may not be my favorite person. I might not want to go hang out with them, but if I respect them, I know them. I respect them.
[00:11:31] Chances are I will trust them. I will also work. So I don’t, so I feel like those words are kind of maybe interchangeable. Mm-hmm. . Um, so this idea is like the, the people, but, um, the. Thing I’ll just throw in for a moment. I think that anchors all relationships, um, is something that’s can be hard at times. Um, but that’s to have patience.
[00:11:53] Um, you know, relationships are not magic seeds. You know, I, I often, it’s like Jack and the Beanstock seeds, I often [00:12:00] say that, and I believe cuz it’s been true for me, that one handshake can change a life or a business. We just don’t know which handshake that’s going to. . So we have to show up for each one as if this might be the one.
[00:12:14] Um, uh, and so yeah, I think it’s about building relationships, um, and being patient. Um, but really the one relationship can lead to a harvest that far exceeds your wildest dreams. Um, and that’s certainly happened for me time and time again. Um, but in any case, to kind of tie that into the, the 10 relationships piece, that that came about after just years of just feeling frustrated or just like having this moment of like, not epiphany, but just realization that in all the years I’ve been doing business and I’ve been an entrepreneur for.
[00:12:57] you know, I’ve been saying like 10 years or [00:13:00] 20 years for a lot of years. So it’s like just about 25 years at this point. It’s like, see, see all the white hair . Um, anyhow, and the thing, you know, so I’ve worked with startups, I’ve worked with, uh, established companies and healthcare, tech, finance, you know, in politics and entertainment, all kinds of things.
[00:13:18] Um, but the one consistent thread. always, all they, all of them have been looking for is, you know, new business. They’re always looking for new business, it’s always looking for sales. And I feel like that’s so cliche and it’s so obvious. And so finally I just dialed it back and I’m like, it’s not only about getting sales, they’re all these other relationships that should be treated equally and should also, you know, have attention paid to them.
[00:13:47] Um, and that’s also why I don’t love, I don’t know what the. The new phrase would be, but this idea of customer service, um, to me, building relationships is service. That’s, that’s [00:14:00] how, that’s what the relationship is for me. It’s service of how I can help somebody else, help them or somebody else later. Um, but it, it’s not.
[00:14:09] It’s not just the customers. There are all these other relationships that influence a business. And so I just drew those out and just, you know, have lots of examples and just realizing that these are all relationships that do, that are present in some capacity in, I would say every business. Um, you know, whether or not they’re aware of them or pay any attention or deliberate or strategic or authentic in any of them remains to be seen.
[00:14:35] And so that’s kind of the. that I work now is really through this specific lens of relationships with business. Yeah. So let’s, let’s look at some of them. Um, sure. I was gonna start with the obvious one, which is current customers or clients, right. . Mm-hmm. . Um, which, yeah, I guess you’re, you’re right. That’s what everybody is looking for and that’s kind of mm-hmm.
[00:14:58] the one that stands out. And [00:15:00] that’s, to be honest also, I think the one that most people do networking for. Right. And that’s right of course’s. Personally, I’m kind of like, really? Uh, like mm-hmm. . Yeah. I don’t like it . Mm-hmm. because it feels like I’m just on display to basically be sold to, um, yeah. And it’s all trying to get, it’s what we’re trying to get.
[00:15:21] Sorry, I’m like over talking, but I’m like, yes, yes, yes. Because when we’re trying to, like, trying to get new, well, that’s it. We’re trying to. when it’s about, you know, new business or it’s new customers. We’re trying to get new customers. Mm-hmm. and um, which I understand that. Um, but I just think there are so many other ways to influence the success of our business.
[00:15:40] Um, that, you know, maybe we could go there. Um, so maybe the community piece. Yeah, let’s start there. That might be an interesting one. That’s my favorite actually. So let’s start really cool. So community is an interesting one, um, because just, you know, your definition of community versus [00:16:00] mine. Um, so I think starting there, um, so in general we have, you know, first is looking at the, you know, what is your community?
[00:16:10] So is it. , is it offline? Right? If it’s offline, you’re looking at your neighborhood of where your business is or where your home office is. You’re looking at your town, your city, or your region. So you ha we all have that. Even if we have an online business. We also have a local community as well. Um, and then the online space, we have, um, you know, obviously the communities that we are building for, you know, ourselves, we’re building and we’re facilit.
[00:16:39] as well as the commu, the larger communities that we’re also a part of. Mm-hmm. . So it’s just looking at, you know, all the communities. Um, and it reminds me, there’s a, a great quote from the Harvard Business Review, and I might butcher it a little bit, um, but it’s to the tune of, um, building a community is not about what the [00:17:00] organization can achieve, it’s about what the organization plus an engaged in, enthusiastic group of people can achieve together.
[00:17:07] So it’s not. What one can get. It’s like the hole is greater than the sum of the parts kind of idea. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . Um, and so, again, so with community, it’s about being visible and being seen as a, you know, a respected or dependable, visible. Um, You know, good positive force in the community. So it’s, you know, making sure you’re who you are is represented in the community.
[00:17:31] So, um, a couple ways to approach this, um, is just, first of all, um, I’m, aside from the relationship piece, I’m also really heavily, um, a strong proponent of sustainability and process. Um, so always looking for, because I think sidebar, approach relationships properly, and you can deliver exceptional service consistently, then you don’t have to do a lot of marketing [00:18:00] because it should be built into the way you treat all of those relationships.
[00:18:03] Mm-hmm. . Um, but, um, if we don’t have sustainable processes, You’ll probably either burn out or go broke. So it’s important that when we showing up for relation relationships, we also have things like baselines to pay attention and quantify what we’re doing and that kind of thing. Um, so in any case, so starting off with your baseline, right?
[00:18:23] So c communities like identifying, like probably writing down what community, what does your community consist of? Like who’s in your community, what are these people, what do they represent, who are they, et cetera, et cetera. And then what communities are you a part. and just look for, you know, who do you belong to?
[00:18:40] What groups are you in? Um, think about how do you want to contribute to those communities, right? So think about, um, you know, how do you, or how would you like to be able to contribute to those communities? Um, think about, um, identifying, um, you [00:19:00] know, the existing values, um, within the community that you’re facilitating or the one that you’re growing.
[00:19:07] Um, The, you know, I would say the benefit of having an online offline, um, is I think under realized by a lot of people who think, oh, I just have an online business. Mm-hmm. , I just do my thing. Or I have a local brick and mortar business. I don’t do the online thing. I think that there are a lot of opportunities to kind of leverage each other, to strengthen each other, right?
[00:19:33] Mm-hmm. . Um, so there, for example, if you have an online. , there’s, you know, opportunities to look at your local community and either do an in-kind workshop, or it could be, you know, a fee for service kind of thing. Um, but look for either your local public library or, um, the Chamber of Commerce or the Rotary Club or something, a way that you could provide the service that you’re providing online to help a local.
[00:19:59] [00:20:00] Group in your area. Um, and on the flip side, if you are doing something locally at teaching a cooking class or you know, whatever it could be, um, there’s opportunities for you to share some of that online as well. Um, another example that I feel like might be obvious, um, but I think. Um, there’s opportunity to expand on it and to be, I think it, it’s, it, it justifies having a little bit of time and attention paid to it is things like, how does, um, how do the, the activities that we are engaged in locally, How do those enhance our skillset?
[00:20:39] Um, our experience, the things that we can share, the stories, the people, we can introduce all of these things. So, um, you know, so being able to, to really not look at them as two separate parts of ourselves. , um, or like that they don’t touch each other. Um, there’s, there’s a lot. It’s like, um, they’re both parts of who you [00:21:00] are and therefore have, uh, assets to offer to each other.
[00:21:03] So your, your online community and your kind of offline community, so to speak, your local community? Yeah. Yeah. I think that there’s a lot of opportunity to be compliment, I mean, All kinds of ideas and suggestions. Um, with, with that, I can break that down. We could do a whole day on that, but yeah. Even as an, I kinda have a follow up question regarding Yeah, sure.
[00:21:24] Sure. And, and, and networking groups. Yep. Because that’s, again, that’s kind of what I s. See out there, especially on, in the online world, it’s like, oh, uh, you know, I’m in this many networking groups. Sometimes they call themselves communities. They really are, is is networking groups. So I guess the question that I have, two, two questions.
[00:21:45] The first one is, how is the community different from a networking group? What makes a community, I guess, and the second question is, is. A benefit of being in a lot of [00:22:00] communities versus being really engaged in one or two communities. Yeah. Great questions. I’m about to be really direct in my answer, so here we go.
[00:22:10] Um, so the first one about, uh, what is a community? How does a community, um, like similar or different to a networking group? immediately. It reminds me of, um, in the US there’s this, I’m not sure if it’s international, I probably should know that, but business, well, I guess it is bni, business Networking International.
[00:22:31] See how quick I am ? Yes. So I. In my, I don’t know, early twenties. I was asked several times to to join one of those chapters and to be a part of it. But at the time, I already knew most of the people, cuz I had been invited by several of them. I’m like, well, why would I do that? I already know all of you guys.
[00:22:50] I wanna build new relationships. So if I have referrals, I’m already gonna share them because it’s. Not because I have to, it’s because I, I want to, so I [00:23:00] don’t ne, I used to tell them, I don’t have to show up at eight o’clock on a Tuesday morning and give you guys referrals. I would rather have soup in the afternoon and chat and do the same thing.
[00:23:09] So I, I never, for me personally, I wasn’t into. , that type of a networking group per se. However, I recently participated in some online networking groups, which is how I met the woman who introduced US , and it was delivered in a way that I. at first was kind of frankly a little bit judgmental about, I thought, I don’t know about this.
[00:23:33] It feels very commoditized. I don’t know. It feels like we’re trying to just slam it through too many, too much. However, I really tried to be open for and be curious about what the experience would be, and it was overwhelming. But it was, you know, I was pleasantly surprised by the experience and actually met some really great people as a result of it.
[00:23:54] Um, so I think. that, you know, that’s two different answers to like, uh, two different exa ex uh, [00:24:00] experiences of a networking group. Um, but in general, I would kind of default back to what I said earlier. To me, the idea or like the definition, kind of the vibe of what networking is. Um, it implies that you’re looking to get something.
[00:24:16] It’s like it’s looking for a specific connection or looking to, to receive. Whereas the idea of a community is more of like, belong. . Um, there’s more of a sense you don’t necessarily show, you know, show up in a community to go get stuff, right. It’s more about how we can give and receive. And so I, um, I jive with that a bit more.
[00:24:37] Um, but there’s nothing wrong with participating in a networking group for sure. Mm-hmm. , um, your second an answer your question about, you know, participating in a lot of networking groups. Um, you know, I think just speaking candidly, um, I think. can easily, um, become kind of, [00:25:00] um, something we can hide behind to tell ourselves that we’re really, we’re, we’re so busy with our business, we’re doing so many things.
[00:25:08] Um, and it creates this like, kind of hollow vanity metric thing. It’s like we, you know, there’s a lot of potential so, , it’s like, you know, harboring a lot of potential. Um, but what are we not getting done? Or how could we better utilize that time? Um, and then maybe it would be prudent to spend some time to think about, you know, what are the groups that we’re participating in?
[00:25:34] Why are we participating in each one and what are we kind of, um, you know, how well are we able to contribute to that group? And then honestly, what is the result? What do we get from that group? Um, and I. Necessarily mean how many new customers or whatever. I think of it in terms of you might participate in a networking group because it gives you a lot of energy.
[00:25:56] You might feel, you get great ideas and you know, [00:26:00] great collaboration, it comes from it. So, um, you know, that can be the case too, but I think it makes sense to take inventory of, you know, all of our business activities, including the number of networking groups that we’re in to see are we really able to.
[00:26:16] you know, what are we able to part, how are we able to contribute to those groups? And it’s probably difficult if we’re in, you know, more than, you know, one or two. It’s probably difficult to continue to be a, um, you know, a, a, a very active, um, you know, contributor. I would say that on an ongoing basis, you dry out.
[00:26:38] I, I totally agree with you. What I would say is that I think, I guess you could be in several networking groups because they’re, again, it has nothing, it doesn’t have so much to do with belonging and contributing. It has more, again, to do with the, you know, I show up and I, I talk to people. I want to get something.
[00:26:58] But I also agree with [00:27:00] you that oftentimes that just contributes to the hustle and busy mode. . Yeah. It’s like, right. You should really sit with yourself and say, look, am I really right? You know, getting quality conversations and co and contacts from here. Right. And I feel like also that. There’s a lot of community, uh, owners or hosts who I think kind of struggle with the quality of the community because people are, are spread so thin, they’re in so many different things and they kind of expect community and belonging to happen on its own.
[00:27:37] Mm-hmm. , which it doesn’t because if. Want to be belonging to something, then you also have to contribute to something. Right. Right. And that’s how the community is different. It it really requires personal responsibility of each of the member. It’s not the same as a membership site or a, a networking [00:28:00] group, right?
[00:28:00] So there, there’s like, we kind of interchangeably use the same terms, but it is completely different in terms of different, they’re, they are completely different. Yeah. I agree with you wholeheartedly and yeah. Um, and both are true the online and, um, You know, local, it’s the same thing. You have to contribute, have to be a part of.
[00:28:20] And the more I feel like if you’re, if you’re in a, you know, in a community or in a networking group, um, and there are other people that are contributing. It’s going to also make you want to contribute more, and then it gets richer and richer and richer, and then it attracts more and more people as opposed to the opposite when everybody’s trying to pick the last bit of meat off the bone kind of thing.
[00:28:42] You can feel that too. And when, you know, I think, you know, it’s, it’s, there’s this sense of, you know, you kind of mentioned about, you know, people who, um, are quite proud of the number of networking groups they’re in. Um, you know, numbers can be spun lots of [00:29:00] different ways. Um, and it’s like, is it better to go to a networking event in, you know, kind of old school but come home with 50 business cards or to have two follow up coffees booked the night you, you’re at the event.
[00:29:13] It’s like to be able to have something that kind of crystallizes those relationships that are tangible, um, and be present with them and. Not try to just skim code everything, like a just fire hose. It’s not the way anymore. It’s really about, um, creating. Impressions with people. Um, and I said, like I said, being, being patient.
[00:29:35] But in any case, yeah, I think there’s opportunity with, uh, for companies, uh, for business owners to look at the communities, the community communities that they facilitate, that they’re a part of, and then really take inventory of them, your baselines. What are you currently doing? Which ones are you in? . Um, and then how could you add more value?
[00:29:53] Mm-hmm. . Um, so what else do they, what else is it that they’re looking for? Um, and then the opportunity to leverage [00:30:00] the online and the offline communities to help each other. Um, so your, you know, your local community affiliations and, you know, volunteer things and whatnot that you do can be. , um, kind of repackaged to help your online community, et cetera, um, and vice versa.
[00:30:18] So I think, you know, we could go on about that, but, um, I think that that’s awesome. And, and like I said, it’s my, my favorite kind of out of all 10. But the other one that I really picked out that I’d like to, uh, kind of have you talk about is the strategic partners. Sure. Cause I think that’s a key one as well that probably is often overlooked and.
[00:30:41] And I mentioned to you the, the book, the Widest net by uh Yes. Pam Slim. Yes. That just came out and Yes. And that I really also think she talks about these strategic partners. quite a bit. That that is how you are gonna, you know, [00:31:00] yeah. Expand your business if that’s your goal. Mm-hmm. , but also just yeah, kind of reach different audiences that you’d never mm-hmm.
[00:31:09] thought of, um mm-hmm. reaching otherwise. So Yeah, for sure. More about these strategic partners. Yeah, so I love, like I was saying, I love that you brought her book up cuz that was on my list of suggested resources actually. Mm-hmm. , um, specifically around the strategic partner section. So, um, and I love, um, the part how she talks about ecosystem.
[00:31:30] Mm-hmm. , I think that fits in really nicely with the idea of building strategic partnerships. Um, so straight away I. This is an easy one for smaller businesses like micro or smaller solopreneurs, uh, smaller businesses to think That doesn’t apply to me. Mm-hmm. . Um, but I think it absolutely does. As I said earlier, I think all 10 of these relationships really in some capacity, um, are true for all businesses regardless of the size.
[00:31:57] Um, if you’re a solopreneur, then [00:32:00] your relationship with the ceo. Is yourself. So that still matters, you know? Right. Um, so in any case, strategic partnerships. So, um, the idea here is, the action word to me is collaboration. Right? And it’s creating influence, right? So again, same as previously. Starting off with taking a baseline, establishing your baseline.
[00:32:22] um, you know, what do you currently do in the way of building strategic partnerships? Do you have any in place or not? Where did they originate? Um, what was the result? Um, you know, would you say it was a successful partnership or not? And how did you measure it? How, how did you, or how could you measure that partnership to see if it was, um, healthy?
[00:32:45] Was it successful and was it mutually beneficial? . I think that’s a really important piece, again, to not show up in a relationship as a transaction, not for what you’re going to get, but also what you’re going to give, um, what you can contribute to [00:33:00] this partnership. Um, so the first point is, is there, so to look at, you know, where, what you’re starting point, where you starting from?
[00:33:08] The second part of strategic building, strategic partnership, I think is about that collaboration. Um, so starting. , you know, making a wishlist. Are there people or companies or organizations that you’d love to be able to collaborate with, um, and just kind of make a, you know, good old fashioned if you could have anything or if you could work with anybody, who would it be and why?
[00:33:32] Um, and so kind of thinking through that, I think, and again, I’m a huge advocate of documenting things because we often have a lot of things in our. , but getting it down on paper helps us to take action and be able to look at it a little bit more objectively, perhaps. . And then, so thinking about, you know, why would you want to, uh, collaborate with these people?
[00:33:54] What is the experience you’re looking to ascertain? Or what is the result you’re looking for and [00:34:00] what are the reasons? Um, so, you know, you might wanna collaborate with somebody to create some new content, maybe to produce an event, um, maybe to do a po, you know, to create a podcast with them. Um, maybe it’s to better serve your own customer.
[00:34:15] right? Um, it might be that, it might be you, you’ve, you know, found out or you’ve done some research and found out that your, you know, your customer base has a specific interest, so you wanna bring that person or bring that expertise in. So it can be just a matter of, of adding value to your ex, your existing customer base.
[00:34:34] Um, it can also be to tap into a potential new customer. Um, it can be for co-marketing purposes, it can be to share data on something. I mean, there are lots of different reasons to collaborate, um, you know, to co-create on things. There’s, there’s lots of reasons. So to actually spend the time thinking about who you’d like to collaborate with and, and why I think is a good place to start is a good exercise.[00:35:00]
[00:35:00] And then from there, probably you want to collect some intel and start to research a little bit. Um, you know, I would recommend doing things like looking at some of these people, these people, organizations, et cetera. You know, check them out on social media, see what they’re about, what are the things that they’re looking for, what is it that they’re offering?
[00:35:19] Um, , you know, list, look them up on podcasts. That’s a, I think, um, highly underutilized kind of search engine, if you will, is to certain people that you’d like to connect with or learn more about, see if they have, either have their own podcast or have been, uh, interviewed on others. You can learn more about them, et cetera.
[00:35:38] Um, you know, so online communities, et cetera. So start to collect the information to see what kinds of things so you can educate yourself a little bit on the things. Of these people that you want to collaborate with the things that they’re doing, so you can start to look for the overlaps, the things that you know, that you, you are doing, how you wanna serve your, your community, what things you’re looking for in a [00:36:00] partnership, the people you’d like to contribute or work with.
[00:36:03] and then how, you know, start to have some ideas about how you might collaborate together so that when you do reach out to these people, you have already put some idea, some thought into it. So you already can, you know, say you’ve spent a little bit of time, I mean, obviously you don’t wanna go crazy.
[00:36:19] You’ve got, you know, you wanna make sure time management is in check. Um, but it’s, it, it really speaks well of us and I think demonstrates our brand. Um, that we are human and we. , um, being thoughtful and deliberate so that when you reach out to somebody and say, you know, I’d love to have a conversation with you.
[00:36:39] I have some ideas. If you’re open to collaborating, or at least you know, I’d like to, to share these ideas with you, to see what you think, um, then you can be thoughtful about it and you’ve already kind of come up with a rough draft, so to speak. Um, certainly you wanna give them room to be able to contribute their own ideas or feedback and contribute to that.
[00:36:58] But I think. . [00:37:00] Um, again, it just speaks well, rather than showing up with a completely like, oh, I’d like to collaborate with you, which can be you. Code word for do you have any business? I can get , right? So it’s kind of like, I’ve actually spent some time on this and I really like that you’re doing this and I’ve been doing this, and I think we can potentially explore that overlap.
[00:37:21] Um, so I think wouldn’t you spend wouldn’t say maybe that that’s like almost a step too fast. Uh, like if I don’t know this person from scratch Sure. And they’re like approaching me, oh, I have this great plan and here’s what we could do together. personally, I’d be like, whoa, you know, can we slow down and go back to dating a little bit first?
[00:37:44] Sure, sure, sure. So, of course, I mean, you, you, great point. Obviously I went too fast down the kind of the sequence because that, that was like the end of the sequence, right? Yeah, pretty much. Because across the board always it’s like goes back to the patient’s thing and how no [00:38:00] matter who it is or what you’re looking to do and how to.
[00:38:04] How to build relationships, how to build trust, um, period. And it’s not really build trust online cuz we live in an online world these days and we’re going to be utilizing online tools in some capacity. But how to do that? Um, so, um, Yeah, so we do a lot of that in the media section too, but it’s the same thing here.
[00:38:22] Um, so, uh, for sure, depending if you know this person or the group, or if you don’t know them, um, you know, there’s certain, you know, kind of low hanging fruit things that we. Probably ought to be doing anyway on a regular basis, which is, you know, aside from, you know, publishing our own stuff always is to look at other people’s stuff and to be able to contribute to theirs by liking things, commenting, sharing things, making introductions, you know, looking for ways to add value or contribute to those people.
[00:38:53] So if there are, um, you know, on your wishlist, if you started off with, you know, 25 and you’ve whittled it down to maybe [00:39:00] five to. So those are the people, the organizations you begin to focus on and observe what it is that they’re doing. And generally speaking, if, I mean, depending. the size of the organization and there are lots of factors, but generally speaking, if you, it doesn’t take a long time to start to show up on somebody’s radar.
[00:39:21] Um, if you like things or comment, if you’re, if you’re engaging with their content, people are going to take notice. Mm-hmm. Um, and then, um, again, if we’re using things, tools available, like linked. , it’s then they’re generally, so it’s probably better if you do this ahead of time to know. Do you have any connections in common with them?
[00:39:40] Like where are they in your kind of network? Um, it’s nice to know that, um, I don’t generally reach out immediately. I don’t always go and find somebody that says, oh, can you, can you refer me to so-and-so? I, I handle it a little bit differently. Um, but in any case, so to, to reach out to them like that. [00:40:00] But after I feel.
[00:40:02] after doing that for a little bit, if you ha you’ll often get some feedback. Sometimes they’ll be proactive and shoot you a message, you know, on LinkedIn or Instagram or something. Um, and just comment like, thanks. Or you’ll start to see things like, I mean, this is like social media stuff, but after you comment for a while, at first you might get nothing, and then you might get like a, like, and then eventually they might thank you with your.
[00:40:27] and then eventually they might add a little bit more. So you’re kind of rising up the level of their, you know, top of mind awareness kind bit. Yeah, yeah, the awareness for sure. Um, so that, I feel like some of this there, it’s an art and a science. Um, it really is an art and a science and, and that’s why I, I, Gave myself permission to interrupt you because I, yeah.
[00:40:47] I think for, for you and maybe myself, it’s kind of like so obvious, those tiny steps. Yeah. But I know that people would hear that on the podcast and, and go, you know, [00:41:00] oh, I can just send them a message and, and say, here I am. because I’m, I’m saying that because I did that as well. Yeah. Like a couple of times.
[00:41:09] Yeah. Because you get so excited and then you’re like, like this just happened. Um, in the past few weeks I saw a summit and I’m like, oh, you know, great summit. I’d love to be speaking at this summit. And so I, I looked up who’s hosting it and uh, and then I’m like, okay, I’m gonna reach out to her. . The summit actually just finished, but I looked up that she’s been hosting this for several years.
[00:41:35] I’m mm-hmm. Okay. I’m gonna connect with her, not mentioning it at all. Yeah. You know, I’d like to be a speaker on your summit at all. Just kind congrats on the Great summit. I hope it was a great success. Mm-hmm. success and so now we’re connected on LinkedIn and that was gonna be gonna be my job to do those small things.
[00:41:53] Mm-hmm. those small seeds that mm-hmm. so that hopefully in a year from now, or eight months from now, Will [00:42:00] have some kind of relationship, uh, right then go, Hey, how about, you know, being on your summit? Yeah, it’s definitely true. It’s a really valid point. I appreciate you interrupting me for that. Cause I think it matters a lot.
[00:42:11] Um, and I think, you know, here’s the deal, um, I think intention, um, is something that we can often feel, right? It’s like we can tell when someone. . I mean, it’s harder to do online or through email. Tone is optimist. I get that, but I think. , if our intention is, is true and we are showing up and we, we really do care, we are present, we do wanna contribute and we’re not just simply looking to check a quick box and try to get something, um, I think that that can resonate.
[00:42:45] People can pick up on that. So sometimes, um, it can be, Hey, listen, you don’t know me at all. I know this is really strange. Like, and sometimes it’s just. honest about it, and just like being professionally human, we’ve all had [00:43:00] those situations. And so sometimes, and that’s why it’s the art and science and the only way to get good at that, which is not really getting good at it, it’s becoming more confident in trusting ourselves is by doing it a lot.
[00:43:14] And so I will do that sometimes now, reach directly out to somebody that’s a, you know, uh, a high level person because I, I trust my instinct. . Um, because I know how I’m showing up and because I’m not desperate, it’s okay. And I’ve had the experience where I do that and it’s crickets. I don’t hear from them.
[00:43:34] But the universe is funny. In three months, six months or two years later, I end up standing next to them in an elevator. It’s like, oh my gosh, ah, whatever. And then they go on LinkedIn, they’re like, oh, I’m so sorry I left you hanging. I’m like, yeah, lunch is on you next time, . So it’s like that. Right? So there are situations like that, but your your point about the.
[00:43:54] I think makes sense. And it is, that’s why being kind of organized, um, and being consistent with it and [00:44:00] being patient all matters. Um, yeah. But yeah, so I think that is a good point. I, I appreciate you slowing me down. So, um, yeah, so you have kind of, um, the, the people that you would like to collaborate with, um, you know, what you can potentially offer to them, but then going a step further, and this is the, the part that I got that I liked that Pamela Slim talks about in her book, which is the E.
[00:44:24] Um, and I think this is, there’s huge opportunity again, for any company, any size, to spend a moment in more than a few moments, but spend some time kind of mapping out what your ecosystem is in terms of your consumer, your consumer, uh, your customer base, your clients, um, who else do they interact with, what other complimentary businesses, um, you know, who, who else is there, who are your competitors?
[00:44:49] All of it kind of mapping it out to look at. Who are the, the people that influence your customers, and then even bigger is who has the potential to [00:45:00] influence? So it’s like, you know, if it’s um, you know, Google has the potential to influence them, it’s like, great, good luck. Go wait in line. Everybody wants to get to Google, but who has the potential to influence?
[00:45:12] Yeah. So you start to look at that next tier. Yeah, the next tier. Um, so I feel like there’s far more opportunity in that next tier than the, the top level cuz that’s played out and it’s packed and it’s, it’s bloated and kind of. Right. Um, so in any case, I think, yeah, I love how she talks about the ecosystem and exploring op.
[00:45:32] This is a great opportunity to explore potential opportunities to collaborate. And, um, and it’s just, I think again, it, yeah, when, when you’re looking to develop strategic partnerships, it’s, um, believing and knowing that what you do, what you have to offer can help. , you know, other networks, other organizations, other groups, other companies, other people too.
[00:45:56] And so if that’s how you’re showing up, that will be [00:46:00] understood. I mean, certainly we’re not just, you know, handing out stuff for free everywhere, but if we are genuine, genuinely looking to serve people, you will probably resonate with other people who also have that value. And then that’s when magic happens.
[00:46:15] Really. Yeah, I, I’m looking at the time, I’m like, wow, we only just, you know, kind of went over two of the 10 vital relationships. So yeah, we are gonna have to have you back, but, but I’ll definitely link to that block post. And like you said, the, um, the book, the widest net is a great resource. You, you have any other resources on, on your end that you want to bring up?
[00:46:40] I do. Um, because, I realize, um, this can be really overwhelming, um, for. , you know, for any small business it can be overwhelming to think about, you know, how much time does this take? You know, where do I even start? How can I, where do I even begin? Like, what tools should I use? All of these things, it can be [00:47:00] very overwhelming.
[00:47:01] Um, so for that reason, um, if any of your listeners want to spend, you know, 30 minutes with me, I would love to be available to kind of talk this through or to brainstorm. One of the 10 relationships, um, the media section we didn’t really get to, but, you know, can be that one or any, any of the 10 to just talk about what it might look like for their business.
[00:47:24] Um, and just brainstorm some of the ideas or, you know, anything that would be helpful. Sign me up. I, I’m, yeah, I think it’s helpful. Much. It’s a great offer, so it’s just, um, I’ll give you the link. Um, but people know you don’t have to sign up for anything. Mm-hmm. just, it’s just schedule, um, schedule time with me.
[00:47:41] So it’s just a, a 30. Complimentary chat that I would love to do for your listeners, so hopefully that will be helpful. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s amazing. I, I think you’re right. It, it sounds so trivial. It’s like, oh, yeah, obviously I love relationships, but if you start to think on the strategic level and on [00:48:00] that ecosystem level, It does take, like I tried to do it, um, with my husband and, and he is like, he doesn’t know my world, right?
[00:48:10] So, yeah. Not actually you have to be in the same kind of world, otherwise you, he’s like, yeah, what about like, no, that doesn’t make sense, . I’m like, get it? So, so yeah, it does take some kind of sitting down and going, okay, what’s the strategy here? How are we gonna approach this? . Yeah. And I love that you, you keep kept saying the art and the science.
[00:48:31] Yeah. And it’s almost almo, what comes up is also the mind and the heart, right? Yeah. Sure. Strategy is the mind. It’s like, yeah, there is kind of a mm-hmm. plan behind it, but then I’m gonna bring the heart once it goes into the relationship building. Yes. Yes. And that’s really what I, yeah. What I like about you, how you approach it.
[00:48:50] So thanks so much for coming on. This has been brilliant. I, I really love it. Um, I have always one last question that I ask, and that’s what are you grateful [00:49:00] for today or this week, Jillian? Um, grateful for I, my life has far exceeded what I ever could have imagined for myself. I woke up this morning and I had two legs.
[00:49:12] I got out of bed in my own bed with a roof and. . Um, and that was in the first 30 seconds. Um, so, you know, I have a healthy boy. I have lots of things, but straight away I, I woke up in kind of one piece in a home today. So I feel like that’s the starting point and there’s just layers of gratitude upon that.
[00:49:33] So. Mm-hmm. , that’s my answer. Sure. Thank you. Thanks so much. And I’m grateful for the opportunity to talk about relationships. I, it’s, um, a challenge sometimes cuz there’s so much I. I wanna, there’s a lot to it. Um, so I, I really appreciate, you know, having the opportunity. Thanks for inviting me to talk about the thing that I’m most passionate about is, is building relationships.
[00:49:57] So thank you. Yeah, thank you. Thanks for [00:50:00] coming on this show. We’ll talk again soon. All right. Take it easy.