When we were developing Love and Theft (if you don’t know that part of my back story, just click here), we spent hours and hours writing and practicing, playing live shows at tiny little pizza shops and acoustic rooms.
We did weekend writing camps and demoed more songs than I can even remember.
We polished up our harmonies and dialed in complementary guitar parts and piano parts.
We worked on photos and social media campaigns and websites and building up a following.
These things—that drive and that hard work—all played a part in us finally signing a record deal and experiencing the ensuing madness. But it all would have been for naught if it weren’t for one final ingredient that blew the doors open for us.
What was this magical ingredient? What was the special sauce?
We were working with two producers who had years of experience, and even more importantly, years of solid relationships in Nashville. This network of relationships opened the door for a showcase in an ASCAP board room early one morning. Upon hearing us perform, the people in that room used their relationships to open the doors to almost 10 in-office showcases with major labels around town.
We may have been pretty good, we may have had a growing following, we may have had our songs and harmonies and looks and photos all dialed in. But without those relationships, we were just a good band with a handful of local fans. There would’ve been no ‘Runaway,’ no People magazine, no Taylor Swift. (There I am with long hair. Sexy, right?)
Clearly, your network of relationships is crucial to success, regardless of what business you’re in. (Jeff Goins admits this freely and gratefully, as an example.)
So I’ll share with you one go-to phrase to help you network like a champion and open those doors. You ready for it? Here it goes…
“Who do you know that I should know?”
Simply add to that phrase to make it more specific to your needs and to find the right people.
“I’m working on creating a product for entrepreneurs. Who do you know that I should know who might be interested in sharing their experience as a business owner?”
“I’ve been writing songs in town for several years and am starting to gain some momentum. Who do you know that I should know, that might appreciate my writing style and want to write together?”
This works for a couple reasons.
First, it’s an open-ended question, not a yes/no question.
If you ask, “Do you know anyone that you think I should write with?”
Easy answer: “Not off the top of my head. I’ll keep an ear out.” No they won’t. That door is closed, that conversation is over.
Secondly, it’s specific enough that it engages their mind, it causes them to actually stop and think. It incites them to start trying to think of a name. You’ll see their eyes dart up as they begin to search their mental directory.
Here’s how to really make it work: have the patience to wait for an answer. If you have the discipline to ask that question and then to wait quietly and expectantly, (here’s the magic), they will fill the silence with information that is valuable to you.
So ask, “Who do you know that I should know?” and then wait, patiently, for the answer.
Here’s your simple challenge: Ask this question once today. Just try it out. Rehearse it privately once or twice if you need to, ask it, and don’t back down. Have the strength to make them fill the silence with valuable info.