Hi guys -
All fun aside, everyone here seems to agree that Tim has a point about this low cost means of maintaining relationships (networks) with others in the biz. But something that might not occur to newbies is that even if the leads don’t prove to be useful, folks remember that you offered to them.
Years ago – in a time before emails, it was standard practice (for me, at least) to purchase airline tickets to visit possible property acquisitions. I believed then (and I still do today) that most negotiations are best handled face to face (besides, there is the fact that I am terrible on the telephone – too much hearing loss). The only way to conduct business at any reasonable level was to travel a lot and that often meant purchasing tickets I might not end up using. I called them “lunch tickets” – use it or eat it.
In any case, by buying these things early and in quantity I could get pretty good deals on the airline fares. My usual practice was simply to offer the tickets I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) use to people (friends, business people, acquaintences, etc) at no cost. The good will these generated was unbelievable – especially with those folks who DIDN’T take the tickets.
You see, no matter the outcome, they always remembered you offered. And when’s the last time anyone offered you something like that – no strings attached?
I can’t say it was really a marketing effort because it wasn’t. Any marketing or goodwill was simply an extra benefit. On the other hand, over the years I can point to seveal very profitable deals that came my way through similar circumstances. Keep in mind that you don’t have to own an airline to make this concept work, dinner invitations to nice restaurants, tickets to sporting events or shows, vacation week-ends at posh hotels – all of these have the same effect (more or less).
PS - I should also mention that not paying attention to little things (like these) can sometimes come back to haunt you. Last month, a former business parther offered me some great concert tickets – but at a very high price. Not only did I not take him up on them, I also decided then and there to close out my positions (any operations with mutual involvement) ASAP.
First, he’s benefited to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars by working with me – and he wants to now charge me for these? What’s up with that?
Second, by insisting that he really needs the money to cover these tickets he’s sending a signal that he may be in trouble (he hasn’t yet asked for money directly, but it’s on his mind). Time to cut him loose. People who aren’t upfront about their circumstances cause problems for themselves and everyone around them. Becoming part of the collateral damage in someone else’s BK or reorganization isn’t on my agenda. And it shouldn’t be on yours.