Tinder – the mobile dating app that lets you swipe left (dislike) or right (like) to determine who you are or are not attracted to…if you both swipe right, the app opens up the opportunity to chat.
What if we had Tinder for businesses – a massive social network of potential partners that you could choose to swipe left or right until you both find the right match(es). At times that is exactly what searching for new business partnerships can feel like, minus the application and complete unknowns as to who is truly “available.” Often times there are subtleties and cryptic approaches to an organization’s willingness to open up about where they stand and what they would like out of the relationship. In my experience, when motives and agendas are at the forefront of conversation it’s much easier to navigate the relationship.
The painstaking process of finding new clients in the agency world can be exhausting to say the least. Many people seem skeptical and somewhat fearful of that first interaction…like a first date…from a dating app.
There is often an underlying uneasiness before first interactions. What will they think of us? What will we think of them? Are they the same as they appeared to be online? Did they market themselves truthfully? Did the people who connected me to them know what I’m looking for?
Our initial responses to connection are seemingly purely relational although we all have an agenda and hope for a good connection. Similar to a first date, we are searching for qualities that excite, motivate, attract, share and the list can go on. We also look for differences, difficulties and problematic components to individuals or groups that would seem less like a “good fit.”
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to kick-off a business conversation with business aside – discuss who a person is, what their hobbies are, what they do in their free time, what books do they read, what shows or movies do they like?
I’ve worked in several industries over the past ten years but I always find it comical that initial conversations often times start with the same small talk out of “courtesy,” but what if the norm became truly getting to know each other.
Communicating non-traditionally makes some people feel awkward. We are familiar with our routine first steps but think back to first dates or business conversations when people took unconventional routes to establish a relationship. I’m not saying it’s always the best approach but I do want to challenge the status quo.
Nontraditional initial conversation could establish a foundational understanding of what is possible for a potential relationship.
Business relationships take energy, and a lot of it, but we all know clients and partners that make life easier for each other by how they communicate and interact.
Leading a relationship, whether personal or professional, takes vulnerability and risk. If we aren’t willing to take the risks, we will never understand the true potential of that partnership.
We all have a certain amount of relational capital that we can expend…relational capital is a formal term, but I’m speaking about a more generic sense of energy and ability to apply toward developing and growing a relationship with partnered business.