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In one of my talks, I simply asked the question, “What is your R.B.S.?”  They thought I was swearing at them.  I wasn’t, although I did want to wake them up a bit.  I asked again, “what is your R.B.S.? your Relationship-Building Strategy?”


Here’s what happens.  We go through the weekend.  The week begins.  We get into our regular routine and life just happens.  We come across people and we may or may not interact with them.  If your job is in business development or sales, then you call people and you create conversations with them for the purpose of generating a sale at some point.  If you are NOT in either of those areas, then you go about your day and the conversations just sort of…well…happen.

But, do you have a strategy that you intentionally create at the start of each week?  I’m referring to a strategy where you purposely determine how you will add value to a specific number of people.

Use my 5 SMERF strategy (oh boy, another acronym).  Not the little blue people!  SMERF! It will help you connect with 20 people intentionally this week.  Here’s how it works:

– Choose a question that will help you find out about what people like or prefer.  A “What’s your favorite…” question works for this.  For example, “What’s your favorite TV awards show?”

– Ask 5 people the same question in each area of the SMERF.

By now, you are asking, “what in the world is SMERF?”

Social Media, Email, Ring them (give ’em a call), Face to Face

Find 5 people in each of those areas.  Ask them a question.  Ask them YOUR question.

Social Media – Most people, most LEADERS, don’t really consider social media a place to form REAL relationships.  Companies are using social media to research, recruit and retool.  Why not use it for another “re”? Real relationships.

Email – Business emails are the norm.  But, what about using it as a starter for a casual relationship building conversation.  Email shouldn’t be the finisher but it’s a really good place to begin.

Ring Their Phone – A good ol’ phone call still works wonders.  There is something about hearing a voice that is much more powerful than 140 characters.  The intonations and nuances provided by voice allow for nuanced responses as well.  Connection is much more likely.

Face To Face – This will never change.  Face to face communication will always be the deepest and most effective kind.

You can look at SMERF as a rising scale of communication and connection.

The point is being INTENTIONAL.  Relationships are life currency.


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