Your little black book may be full but it is nothing without the relationships inside.

Business relationships take time and effort and need to be nurtured. If you answer emails on time, return phone calls, go the extra mile to help your contact and surprise and delight with the occassional lunch, thank you card, cupcake deliveries, wine and more then chances are your relationship is worth money to someone.

Humans like to be cherished, they like to know you value them, they like to be thanked and told they have done a good job regardless of their gender or generation.  But beware the one way relationship where you give and they take, that relationship goes one way, their way and if you’re not being acknowledged and you’re not being paid a good wage, get out.

Introduction marketing takes the little black book and your relationships to another level. The theory is you, the introducer, are a trusted gate keeper to the relationships you have built and worked on. A third party then wants to be introduced because they know you are considered a trusted source by your contacts and anyone you introduce will therefore be valuable.

How you charge for this is a contentious issue. An hourly fee or finders fee may be pittance once the two entities you have introduced do multi million dollar business. You could charge commission of all future deals or cap it after two, three or five years.

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Tech Republic have posted some good suggestions for value based fee structures.  Alan Weiss, author of Value Based Fees, consistently writes and speaks about the value of your introduction and how to get what you are worth. You can also view his talks on his YouTube channel.

I am working with a fantastic startup team who approached me to be part of the launch crew. They not only acknowledged the value of who I can bring to the table but placed a commission fee on that introduction for cash, contra and future business deals they do with the key players I am connecting them with. Plus they say thank you and I love working with them.

But in order to continue to value my own relationships I had to meet with them first to ensure they were ‘the real deal’. Bring someone schonky to the table to your contacts and your relationship gets damaged.

It is the same in PR. There is no point in buying a media database if you don’t intend to create relationships. The relationship is what can get you over the line with the media.

How do you value your relationships? How do you value introductions? What fee structure do you think is fair? How can you improve your business relationships?

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