Over the course of the past months, many of my clients and readers have asked me to talk more about building relationships with leaders of organizations that make people’s lives better. So I decided to answer that call.
In this article, you will learn how to develop these relationships with inspiring leaders to eventually win them as clients or partners by adding massive value to their lives.
Why “Strategic” Relationships?
You may have noticed the term “strategic” in the title.
By “strategic”, I mean a relationship that is mutually beneficial to both parties. That’s the only way the relationship will be a successful and fruitful one. Every successful leader knows this.
I believe you need to have a clear goal that expresses what you want to achieve before you go on your journey. If you don’t, every road will lead to nowhere.
A goal could be to win them as a client or partner. Or it can be as simple as learning about somebody’s needs & desires to be able to add value to their lives.
Whatever goal you choose, the outcome has to be clearly defined in order for you to focus on the right actions.
The Difference Between Non-Profit & Only-For-Profit Leaders
We have two different extremes in our economy in terms of what purpose an organization has.
There are the organizations that purely exist to make a profit (even if they have not been started for this reason) and there are the organizations that solely focus on changing the world and have no profit focus (what we know as non-profits).
And then there is everything in between.
If we look at the two extremes, there is a major difference in terms of their leaders.
Leaders at an organization that only exists to make a profit are emotionally disconnected from that company and care merely about the shareholder value and short term profits. Therefore, most attempts to establish a relationship with them that is not immediately related to increasing profits goes to waste.
This is what so many people I know experience on a consistent basis and they get frustrated with their attempts to connect with these leaders.
Leaders of non-profits with a strong vision and a “doing” attitude are generally on the opposite.
No matter how far ahead in the book of business they may seem, it’s usually not that difficult to get their attention and develop a relationship with them. This is because they care.
These leaders are emotionally connected to that organization and know the long term value of strategic relationships. Therefore, you have a much greater chance to get on their radar if you add value to their lives and care for them and their mission.
But What If I Have no Interest in Non-Profits?
In between non-profits and only-for-profits is a large variety or businesses with a purpose-driven vision. The more they care about the impact they want to have in the world, the easier it is for you to develop relationships with the leaders of those organizations.
No matter if you decide to work with a non-profit or a for profit organization, the core message is that the organization must have a purpose-driven vision. If that’s not the case, you will not be able to make an emotional connect with the leader of such an organization and your outreach efforts to go waste.
How I Developed a Strategic Partnership with an Inspiring CEO in Zurich
Very recently, I decided to focus more time on scaling my business and to develop strategic partnerships to do so. One of my strategies is to develop partnerships with leaders I admire to find ways we can benefit from each other.
This led me to reach out to a CEO in Zurich who owns both, a non-profit and a for-profit organization. I had followed him since over a year and he has built a significant venture. He is one of those high-achievers who use their superpowers to make a difference in the world.
I never had contact with him before but he somehow slipped into my LinkedIn connections. I started drafting a message that looked something along those lines:
“I just wanted to congratulate you to what you have built with your venture and sincerely wanted to thank you for making the world a better place.
We need more leaders like you who are doing what they love while making a difference.
I am committed to “help those who help others”. I hope we have the chance to meet in the near future in Zurich for coffee or lunch because I would love to hear about your vision and support you in any way I can.
Wish you a wonderful and sunny week.
I did not expect an answer in return so the feedback was even more pleasant.
The CEO replied back with an offer to meet for a beer in the coming weeks. We had a great conversation over some afterwork drinks and I found out many valuable things about his plans and challenges in business.
We followed the meeting up with a phone call and decided to enter a mutually beneficial partnership where I will act as an ambassador of his foundation to help him raise $20 million to fund entrepreneurs in developing countries and also to find these entrepreneurs through my network.
In return, he will expose me to his extensive network of purpose-driven executives and leaders, which happens to be my exact target market.
This example is not an exception. By continuously reaching out to purpose-driven leaders I admire, I get in front of incredibly inspiring people who also happen to be very influential.
Some of them eventually become clients and even more have referred me to others in their network who have become clients.
How Meeting 3 Change-Making Leaders in Switzerland Led Into a Proposal
Not long ago, I told you about 7 of my inspiring clients who are turning their passion into a thriving career in Switzerland. One of them is Glenda.
She is currently located outside of Switzerland. Her goal is to move into the startup scene in education in Switzerland. Glenda used the summer holidays – when most people believe everyone is on vacation and therefore stop taking action – to spend a week in Switzerland and meet up with the CEOs, founders and owners of organizations she started to develop a relationship with from abroad.
Before building these relationships, we worked hard on her offerings. The outcome was for her to offer her expertise, talents and passion to help startups in education expand to French and Spanish speaking markets.
About a week before her trip, she asked several leaders of organizations that inspire her if they are available to meet for coffee. Some were on vacation but three responded and said yes, so she met with all of them.
Two out of these three had an interest in talking about a potential partnership and one of them asked her for a concrete proposal.
Here is an important fact. She was only able to develop these relationships so quickly and to meet these leaders face to face because she focused on the ones that inspire her. Even though she targeted businesses that are for profit, these companies have a purpose-driven vision and strive to make a difference.
This exemplifies how important it is that you target organizations that inspire you.
3 Steps to Build Strategic Relationships With Inspiring Leaders
I have showed you why building relationships with inspiring leaders is easier than you may think and also some examples on how to go about it.
Now, I want to show you three specific action steps you can apply today to get to know these leaders.
1. Make a List of 5 Inspiring Leaders
Why five? Because if I tell you to come up with 20 or 50, you will likely not take action today. I want you to take action today and get results tomorrow.
List 5 organizations that inspire you. Don’t limit yourself to a specific location at this moment. There is always a division, subsidiary, daughter company or partner organization that has a leg or even just a toe in Switzerland.
Then identify the leaders of those 5 organizations that you need to build a strategic relationship with.
2. Get Clear on Why They Inspire You
This is always the second step I go through with my clients when we do this exercise. It’s imperative that you have a compelling reason for why these organizations or leaders inspire you. Otherwise, you won’t be able to come up with a compelling reason why they should want to talk to you.
Write down one paragraph for each organization and its leader on why they inspire you.
If the reason you come up with is not compelling enough, you either need to learn more about the organization or replace it with a more inspiring one.
3. Reach Out With a Strategic & Genuine Message
Send each and every one of those leaders a message with these 3 components:
1. What fascinates or inspires you about that leader and organization?
2. Why does their vision or mission inspire you?
3. A call to action with a compelling reason on why they should know you
You can see all of these three elements in the 5 LinkedIn connection request examples I gave here.
How to Get in Front of These Leaders
Eventually, when you talk to those leaders via email, phone or in a meeting, your goal needs to be to nurture these relationships. This is what can lead into them becoming a client or a partner.
I have created a 10 step workbook for you to craft messages and conversations that will get you in front of decision makers.
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