I do what I can to build and maintain relationships. Our industry is based on trust and relationships. I try to provide free content through the TMC. I often discount my speaking fee to organizations, so they can provide cost-effective professional development to their staff or membership. I work hard to keep up on news about people I work with, past, present, and future clients. I try to send birthday greetings (if I know when it is), and congratulate them on a promotion or move to a new opportunity. I try to reach out to them for coffee, breakfast, or lunch when I am in their city or town during my travels. I think I am pretty good at it—but I sure met my match!
My match was Josh McKernan, whom I met in 2013 when I delivered a session on sponsorship at Brock University. Josh was in the class and they were using my book Reality Check – Straight Talk about Sponsorship Marketing as part of their curriculum. Josh and I have stayed in touch over the years as his career within (and outside) the sponsorship industry has developed. His passion back then and still today is sponsorship. He has kept me updated and we have exchanged emails and corresponded on LinkedIn over the years. I have provided direction and advice when I could. Most recently, Josh reached out last fall with regard to some insights on a best practices approach to something he was working on. I noted that I would be in the Niagara Region where he was still living and suggested we get coffee, breakfast, or lunch together. A couple of weeks before my trip to Niagara, he reached out to say his brother was coming to Vancouver Island, may end up in Nanaimo (where I live), and could I name a few of my favorite restaurants? So, I did.
We met for breakfast in November, chatted about some of the situations he was dealing with, and delved deeper into best practices. We also talked about the next steps in his career and potential paths to be taken. When I had to step away from the table for a few minutes, unbeknownst to me, he paid for breakfast. He said he appreciated all that I had done for him over the years and wanted to say thanks. What a great way to further build an existing relationship. Then he handed me an envelope. Inside was a handwritten thank you appreciation card and a gift certificate for our favorite family restaurant back in Nanaimo. His brother had been to the Island… not Nanaimo… but was on the Island, so no lie there. But it had all been to figure out where my wife, daughter, and I like to dine out when I am home. What an amazing treat and so well executed. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at New York Style Pizza Bistro just blocks from our house. I am back in Niagara Region this month and Josh is definitely on my list to meet with. He has solidified himself in my books as a member of our industry who knows how to develop, cultivate, and escalate relationships.
When was the last time you did something like Josh did to advance a relationship with a sponsor, property, or industry peer that you value? Think about how to build your relationships further and you will go far in this industry!
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