“I know I’m wasting half of my marketing budget, I just don’t know which half” – Old Marketing Adage
Over the last several years, we moved to several different locations throughout the world. While we obviously enjoy the adventure of travel, one of the challenges we face is meeting new friends. In each locale, the people that live there already have satisfying relationships with others, as a result, they aren’t looking for new friends — it’s not that they actively reject new friends, but they don’t work to find them. As a result, the onus for making new connections falls on us, not only to seek out opportunities to meet people but also to initiate strengthening the relationship.
Today I was thinking that there is a lot of similarity between the marketing adage above and building relationships. I know that half of the time I spend finding friends won’t result in a friendship, but I don’t know which half. Serendipity is involved — being in the right place at the right time with the right person. It’s emotional labor facing rejection, and it can feel like it isn’t worth the effort, but then suddenly, when you least expect it, you stumble upon a group of people that you can really related to.
Investing even without knowing whether it will pay off is a strategy that applies to many things, including all of the relationships you currently have. Normally, no single time together makes or breaks a relationship, but the sum of all of the things done together does have a big impact.
So if you’re just trying to find people that you like, keep looking even when it doesn’t seem to be having much effect. If you’re well established, look for how you can invest in your existing relationships. We may not know what half of the effort is most important, but in the end, the payoff is always worth it.