Building Professional Relationships

Building Professional Relationships

© 2021 Vinny Ribas

I have worked hard to establish myself as a thought leader and educator in the indie music industry and in business. It’s a brand I’ve spent decades developing. So it’s no surprise that I have a lot of people contacting me daily for advice, contacts, and even investment. 

The good news is that I really do love to meet new people, and try to get back to everyone. It doesn’t matter if it’s a young artist (and sometimes the parent of a young artist), an entrepreneur, an established business or a salesperson. I almost always reply as thoroughly as possible and often hop on a Zoom call with many of them.

The bad news is that very few of the people who contact me do so in a professional manner. For example, many just try to pitch their music without even knowing what I do or the kind of artists I work with. Many assume I am going to stop everything to help them for free (which I am willing to do if approached professionally). Many want introductions to my contacts even though I don’t know them at all. All of this sometimes becomes very draining. 

So here are my 6 simple guidelines for getting my attention or the attention of anyone else who’s help you seek.

  • Do your research on the person first. Nothing is more frustrating than getting a pitch that is completely out of my wheelhouse, or trying to explain what I do when it’s in plain English on my websites.  
  • Tell me why you want to connect or meet. One great way is to recognize one of my roles (or achievements or accomplishments) that pertain to the purpose for the connection. It signals that spending time answering or even meeting with you will not be wasted.  
  • Build a relationship with me and earn my trust before you ask for contacts or connections. Better yet, let me offer them. I have worked hard to earn the trust of people in business and the music industry. I can’t risk sending someone I don’t know and trust to a major decision maker. It’s my reputation and their trust in me on the line. 
  • Don’t assume I can’t live without you. Too many times people approach me with the attitude that they are the ‘next Taylor Swift’ or ‘next Jay-Z’ and that I would be a fool not to help them. And of course, those are the people who don’t even ask if I charge for my services. Nothing is a bigger turnoff. 
  • Offer to help me. In 95% of the cases I will not need any help, but I certainly appreciate the offer. But there have been many times when I did think of a need, and that offer has turned into a very beneficial business relationship.  
  • Follow up professionally. An email or even a text that thanks me for my time, points out if and how I helped, and sets up our next steps (if any) goes a long way towards building that all important relationship. 

If you follow these guidelines, I guarantee that you will find many people who are willing to take the time to help you or explore working together in some capacity.