Making Connections & Building Relationships

Making Connections & Building Relationships

At this point in the process, you're starting to making connections with people, both online and offline.

Now it's time for the real magic to start. As I've mentioned several times throughout this course, for a tribe to work, it has to be built on a foundation of great relationships and trust.

So in this stage, we're going to start building a nurturing relationships. We'll also start looking for people with shared vision and values, because those are the people who we'll eventually want to add to our tribes.

Again, I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating.

Just because someone's not a great fit for your tribe doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't work with them. Even people who aren't tribe material could still be incredible collaborators. So you'll want to build and nurture relationships with them all the same.

Anyhow, here are some of the best ways to do exactly that.

Work with people on films

There's no better way to vet potential collaborators and tribe members than working with them on an actual project.

Oftentimes people can talk a great game, but once it comes time to get down and dirty and make a film, they're nowhere near as effective as they made themselves sound.

That's why I'd say it's absolutely essential that you work with somebody at least once (but preferably more) before even considering adding them to the tribe.

This is how you find out if you've got shared values and a shared work ethic, plus you'll find out whether you've got good collaborative chemistry together.

It's also extremely helpful to see how people lead and deal with others on the team. Do they have a sense of toxic ego or an overwhelming sense of arrogance when they're in a position of power? Are they good at delegating responsibility and executing the bigger vision?

The last thing it's important to pay attention to is how people deal with obstacles and adversity. I've never been on a film set that didn't present some kind of unforeseen obstacle, so people's ability to tackle adversity head on is an essential quality to seek out in your tribe members.

Pay attention to this stuff, and you'll eventually know everything you need to know about people. You'll know whether they're a good fit as a collaborator or a tribe member.

Micro films

Sometimes it can seem kind of daunting to wait for a project in order to determine if someone's a good fit for your tribe.

This is one of those areas where micro films really shine. Because you can put them together so quickly, you can use these tiny little films as testing grounds for your tribe on relatively short notice.

Personally, I like to have a few micro film scripts that are ready to go at a moment's notice. That way, if I suspect someone would be a good fit for the tribe, the film can be ready to shoot within a few weeks. This can speed up the process dramatically and help you get to know people on a deeper level without having to wait ages for big, ambitious film projects to materialize.

So please, start making some micro films! It's one of those practices that can be beneficial in so, so many ways.

Have great conversations

Truth is, you can't always work with people on projects. But that doesn't mean you can't still get to know them and build the foundation for long-lasting relationships.

Again, you'll want to work with people before adding them to your tribe. But you can definitely find potential tribe members simply through having great conversations.

Here are a few tips to get you headed in the right direction here.

Listen twice as much as you speak

Dale Carnegie once said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

In other words, if you listen to people intently and you're genuinely interested in what they have to say, you will be far more attractive to them than you would be otherwise. Plus you'll learn a whole lot of stuff that'll be useful in your tribe building efforts.

But active listening is only part of the equation. If you want to discover people's values and visions, you have to ask the right questions.

And no, I don't recommend asking "what are your values and visions?" That would be weird, and it'd probably close the conversation down more than it'd open it up.

Instead, you'll want to ask more targeted questions.

Questions to identify vision and values

Good questions are an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to having great conversations and understanding people at a deep level.

In fact, if you ask the right questions—open-ended ones that spark people's passion and imagination—you'll open up a world of understanding between you and whoever you're talking to in a matter of mere minutes. It's crazy how well this works.

So when you're meeting someone for the first time, either at some kind of event, or someone you've been chatting with on social media, skip the small talk and go straight for the good stuff.

Here are a few of my favorite questions to ask.

  1. What's the most exciting thing happening in your life right now?

  2. If you had enough money to never have to work again, what would you do with your time?

  3. What's a film you've always wanted to make, and why is it important to you?

Ask those questions, then sit back and listen. Outside of working with people, this alone can tell you most of what you need to know in regards to them being a good fit for the the tribe or not.

Oh, and you should have answers of your own for these. If it turns out that you share similar visions and values, it will create an instant bond.

Follow up regularly

Building relationships is obviously a long-term game. You can have great and meaningful conversations, or even work with someone on a project, but if you fail to follow up with them, eventually that connection will fade.

This is perhaps one of the worst things you can do when trying to build a network, especially when the goal is to build lasting friendships and collaborative relationships.

So let's talk specifics of following up.

In terms of how long you should wait between follow ups, it's fairly dependent on the specifics of that relationship. However, a good rule of thumb is that you should follow up roughly every 45-60 days.

That's why the Film Tribe CRM is set to tell you tell you when a follow up is overdue. If it's been more than 60 days since you last contacted someone, the CRM will mark that contact as overdue. And obviously you can sort your contacts by whether they're overdue or not, which makes it easy to go in and follow up with a bunch of people in a batch of work.

As for how to follow up with people without being annoying, it doesn't have to be difficult. Here's a great little template I learned from Jordan Harbinger in his free (and awesome) networking course.

"Hey NAME! Haven't spoken to you in ages. I hope this finds you well. What's the latest with you? No rush to reply if you're busy, but I'd love to hear what you're up to when you get a chance!"

I've got a few more tips here, but the only thing I'll add in this section is that if you have information about them in your CRM (say notes about a project they're working on, or something that was happening in their lives last time you spoke), then you can ask about that stuff in your follow ups.

This little trick builds good will quickly, as it shows you listen and it shows you care enough to remember.

Add value wherever you can

Relationships are a game of give and take. And the more you give, the more you get.

That's why the golden rule of effective networking and relationship building is that you need to give value whenever and however you can.

And by "give value," I simply mean that you should put yourself out there and act selflessly. Do nice things for people, because when you help them reach towards their goals, they'll be far more inclined to help you reach towards yours.

It's kind of like a bank. You make a bunch of value deposits so that you can eventually make a withdrawal later on when you need it.

Now, in terms of how to add value to the people in your relationships, I have two suggestions, although there are probably dozens of ways to be valuable. But these are a great place to start.

First, you can make introductions between people who could benefit from knowing each other.

It sounds so simple and unassuming, but this is probably the quickest way to add tremendous value to multiple people at once within your network.

Because of your CRM, you'll be able to become a "super connector" between the people you know. So if one of your friends is in dire need of a cinematographer, you can jump into the CRM, pull up a list of everyone who's tagged as a DP, then connect your friend with the person or people who are the best match for the project.

Again, this is like a superpower, and it's one of the biggest reasons you should take your CRM seriously and keep it well organized.

Secondly, send them content, ideas, or even books you think will benefit them.

This is the best way to add lots of value without a lot of effort, especially if you have your CRM set up properly and you consume a good deal of filmmaking content anyway.

For instance, if one of the people in your network is interested in direct DIY distribution, send them the latest case study from Sundance. Or maybe a copy of a new book if you really want to make someone feel special.

If you have a handful of DPs in your CRM, send them a great article you found in American Cinematographer. (Yep, you can send the same content out to multiple people if you think it’ll be useful to them.)

This will not only keep you on their radar, but it shows you were thinking of them, and builds rapport.

The other great way to add value (or at least perceived value) is offering to help people on their projects.

Even if you just offer to show up for a few hours and take some BTS photos/video, that is still an incredible value for someone. Even better if you can dedicate a day to help on set, in whatever capacity is most needed.

And the awesome thing about this is that people don't even have to take you up on your offer in order for it to be perceived as valuable and for you to reap the benefits of reciprocity.

Turns out, just making the offer is enough to get people feeling warmly towards you. But don't take advantage of that. If you offer to help, you should be willing to back up that offer with action. Obviously.

Another benefit here is that this can count as “working with someone.” Again, you can learn a ton about people by getting on set with them and observing how they work, so you can kill two birds with one stone by offering to help. It builds your relationships, and helps you find the best people for the tribe.

How to use your CRM at this stage

Like I alluded to a moment ago, this is the stage where your CRM is going to be the star of the show. So here are some recommendations for how to categorize people as you navigate this stage.

For starters, once you start meeting folks, you'll want to tag them all as "Potential Collaborators" within the Film Tribe CRM. This simply means they're people you haven't collaborated with, but might one day.

Once you've collaborated with them, and you think it's worth collaborating again, then you can move them to the "Collaborators" tag.

Through meeting and working with these folks, you'll eventually find out whether they're tribe material, in which case they get tagged "Potential Tribe Members." And once you invite somebody into your tribe, then you obviously tag them as a "Tribe Member."

And if you work with someone who isn't great for whatever reason, tag them as "People to Avoid."

All of these different tags may seem a bit obsessive at first. But trust me, as your database grows, you'll want to be able to sort people in different ways.

Lastly, as you work through the engagement stage, you'll want to make sure you add proper followup dates inside your CRM. That way, the system can keep you informed about whether it's time to follow up with someone or not.

And of course, when you meet up with someone, or catch up with them over text, email, or anything else, it's always a good idea to keep some basic notes inside your CRM. Things like birthdays can be helpful to add, so can outside interests, spouses and kids' names, and general information about the projects they're working on.

Next time you follow up, you'll seem like you have a superhuman memory if you ask about this stuff you talked about months before.

Ok, so that’s a wrap on the building relationships section of the course. Once you’ve worked through everything so far, you should eventually have at least one person you want to invite to found the tribe with you. Or maybe you’ve got a couple people. Either way, you’ll learn how to invite them in the next lesson.

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