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The Simplest Marketing Strategy: Make New Friends
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Note: This post was part of the “Marketing That Works” Ideas Contest, showcasing 20 of the most innovative marketing ideas from the blogosphere’s up and coming marketers. We’ve since picked a winner – check out this post for the details! :)

Marketing strategies on the internet are as prolific and omnipresent as a trust-fund hippie bragging about his wanderings in a hostel in Hat Yai.

I will never apologize for my lack of reverence, tact, or muzzle. I will also never brag about how awesome I am at making you a lot of money.

Let’s agree to deal with those two facts.

Today I’m going to give you 4 simple steps that will ensure lots of (1) money, (2) fun, and (3) super-duper sexy sex.

Have I got your attention? ;-D

It’s important to realize that all of this online marketing is a brilliant extension to offline marketing, not a replacement of offline marketing. Alan Weiss is a consultant and consultant trainer, and according to Weiss (and, according to Craig, because Weiss has made me many moneys), profitable business comes from a “sphere of influence”. Put plainly, if you are the center of your universe, everything around you will move towards you. In business, writing, or service, you need to create your universe.

Luckily for you, that means you get to create your own gravity.

One very exciting aspect of marketing is getting to know people. If you would rather sit in your office sending emails and Popup Domination javascripts to collect lists, send a pre-sell formula to those lists, and only focus on the selling, then you are a douche and this post is not for you. (Craig’s words, not Danny’s. Danny is too nice to say that.) Business is about making other peoples lives better. Focus on your purple cows and your product, then figure out how to let people know. Not the other way around. And today, I’m going to show you how being an awesome person, living life to the fullest, and getting drunk and talking to strangers might be the best thing for your business

Offline marketing techniques have made my internet business lots of money. Let me show you how humor, irreverence, and balls made me a winner:

Three years ago I was taking public transportation with a circus performer friend of mine to an art show in Bangkok, Thailand. We saw this black guy looking at us; we smiled and went back to talking about Burning Man or Lollapalooza or some rockin’ music festival.

When we got to the art show, we drank a few glasses of wine, mingled in broken Thai, and ran into the same black guy. My friend, Mel, told me, “wow, that African guy is at the same art show. Pretty cool, huh?” Obviously, I replied, “are you serious? That guy is 100% American.”

Naturally, it was on! She was calling him African because of the color of his skin and I was calling him American because he was kind of dressed boringly. Our invisible scripts were manifesting themselves in the most ugly (re: hilarious) of ways. But, we went forward. Maybe it was the wine, maybe it was the shamelessness, or maybe it was because this guy, despite our misguided conviction of his birthplace, seemed to be really cool.

So, we went up to him, said, “hey, we saw you on the train. Are you from America or Africa?

“I’m from Atlanta, guys, and that’s kind of racist,” Dwight Turner replied with a laugh.

Boom!

Not only did I get a free meal, but I also made a friend. Dwight, it turned out, ran charities in Thailand and knew so many people in SE Asia that I was instantly transported into another beautiful, people-filled world. After about 10 minutes, I told him that he would be my friend.

And I made him my friend. I invited him over, we had dinner, we had drinks. Slowly, but surely, he introduced me to some really cool people. Whenever I had a friend coming to visit wanting to volunteer, I sent them to Dwight. Whenever a refugee boy needed some help getting a scholarship, Dwight ask me to help. And that’s what we did.

We become friends. Rock and roll, sushi at midnight, wine by the bucket friends.

And there wasn’t anything tactical about it. A lot of offline marketers, networkers, and college flunk-outs are really only interested in what people can do for them. Others like to say, you need to find people whom you can help. It’s always about giving and taking. Give and take. Take take take. No! Give, give, give.

Fuck that noise.

Money, money, money. Take, take, take.

Do you have a family to feed, wife to love, information to give? Rock on. I’m 100% into people making money and living their lives. Hell, I think Sarah Palin is AWESOME because she legally scammed an entire nation into mega-wealth. Seriously.

But relationships and friends shouldn’t be about that. I like a friend whom I can talk to about my problems. I like a friend who likes tequila almost as much as I like tequila.

And out of those relationships beautiful things happen. Dwight is directly responsible for my success. He introduced me to people who introduced me to people. Friends of friends became friends of clients became solopreneurship, joint ventures, and serious cash. (Note: Dwight is directly responsible for something like 65k USD in client cash in my pocket this year because he introduced me to a client network that I would never have known.)

The Lesson

I have a lot of lessons to teach. Today, I will teach you this:

Stop thinking about yourself. Seriously, you are boring, or ugly, or worse. Boring AND ugly. And NOBODY wants to hang around boring people. Ugly is okay. To an point. But if you are boring, you suck. If you only think about yourself, you suck. If you only talk about your projects and your money, you suck. But also, don’t think about other people and service so much, too. I mean, that’s so business-like. We are all trying to make money, sure. But we are trying to make money to get a lifestyle.

Part of your business is to have a great lifestyle. Why not mold those a bit? I hate it when people are always talking about some business project they are working on. Those people are fucking lame. So, who are the cool people? Those who already did a project, or don’t care about a project, or just like talking about food, music, hot women, or adventure. Seriously, let’s just talk adventure, tasty food, neat places to travel, kids, or sex & drugs.

Four Steps To Instant Wealth

Step 1) Find something cool to do. Today or Tomorrow.

How? Go to the newspaper, internet, Facebook and look for an event. Do NOT pick a business event, pick a fun event. Food tasting, wine drinking, movie watching, game playing, music listening, art confounding event. Tonight I’m going to a couchsurfing event. I am a couch surfing rep and moderator in Thailand and I go every Wednesday to meet travelers, talk about food, and flirt with cute girls. (Note: If you are my girlfriend and you are reading this, that was a lie to make me seem cooler than I really am. ;) )

Step 2) Go with 1 friend.

Why 1 friend? While I think going alone is better, you may be shy. Go with one friend, and only one friend, so you can, together, get the courage to go talk to people. At couch surfing it’s easy, I just say, how long have you been in BKK? For you, it doesn’t matter. Having a friend can make it impossible to leave when you know no one, but having too many people makes it impossible to get out of your clique. Only go with one person. Trust me, we are about to get to the marketing strategy that will make you an overnight billionaire.

Step 3) MAKE 1 friend.

Make one friend. Find a stranger looking at a piece of art that sucks, go up to him, and say, “seriously, that is a piece of shit.” If he says, “I made it.” You better say, “well, don’t quit your day job. I’m Craig. What else have you done?”

And make him your friend. This is the point of living our life, right? Sartre was 100% wrong. Hell is loneliness, not others. You make a friend today, and your life will be so much richer. Get it? Not only is your life better, but who knows who this friend is and how he might help you in the future. I just wanted Dwight to be my friend because he liked wine and food. Who knew it would help business. If I was a douche only looking for people to help my business, I’d be hanging out with other douches. And that shit is WHACK!

Step 4) There is no step 4. If you make a friend today – you don’t need any other business networking tips – you will have gained so much more in your life than connecting with a jackass who might send a client to you in exchange for back links and shout outs on a website 100 people go to.

Craig Gonzales has one goal in life: have the fun. Sometimes he is on Twitter @CraigGonzales. Other times he’s staring at himself in the mirror wondering how one person can be this crescent fresh.

Craig Gonzales has one goal in life: have the fun. Sometimes he is on Twitter @CraigGonzales. Other times he's staring at himself in the mirror wondering how one person can be this crescent fresh.

28 Comments

  1. Yes dude.
    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes… YES.

    F***ing yes.

    YES.

    Make friends!

    You learn how to do it when you’re a kid — maybe you forget — but you always have access to ‘friendliness’.

    Fantastic advice, Craig. Not only that, but you broke it down in steps, and delivered it in one of the most refreshing voices (to me) in marketing circles

  2. As we grow up are imagination dies as barriers are presented to their realization.

    Breaking down those barriers as an adult opens a world of limitless experience and connections.

    Love it.

    Also great use of the word “Douche” when appropriate so powerful.

    Ryan H.

  3. Craig says:

    Thanks Jason and Ryan. It’s been really great writing this post and I hope to get more great feedback.

  4. Jill Tooley says:

    Craig, this article is so full of win that I couldn’t possibly pick my favorite section. I think I’m just going to print it out and tape it to my wall. Or better yet, can I hire you to shadow me every day and give me friendship advice and networking tips? ;)

    *PERSONAL STORY ALERT: My best friend and I used to hate each other. Seriously, we talked shit about each other all the time without actually getting past all of the surface-level stuff. But after we were repeatedly thrown into a room together by various mutual friends, we were forced to interact on a deeper level. And you know what? We had an assload of stuff in common! We loved the same movies (like Amelie), listened to the same music, and shared the same fears. If I hadn’t “made her my friend,” as you call it, then I shudder to think about how dreadful my life would be today!

    So, in short, killer advice here. You can bet I’ll be sharing this post like crazy, start reading your blog, AND connecting with you on Twitter. I’m going to follow your tips — starting with you! ;)

    Seriously though, thank you. This post rocks.

    • Craig says:

      Dude, that’s awesome! I bet the reason you hated each other was because you were secretly jealous of each other.

      I like this music, and so does she, so she must be a faker or a liar.

      It’s the same reason I want the Patriots to lose in American football. I’m super, super jealous of the quarterback because he is TOO talented, TOO handsome, and TOO married to beautiful women.

      cg

  5. Dan Sumner says:

    Awesome Craig!

    My wife always says I make friends everywhere I go. I talk to strangers, I can talk serious, I can talk about nothing in particular. If there is beer involved, we are going to be talking for a long time :-D

    This post made me smile…

    Thanks,

    Dan

  6. Ryan Biddulph says:

    Hi Craig,

    Spot on.

    The best thing you can do is making friends. Both people help leverage the other person’s presence. It’s win-win every time. Another cool part? It’s fun. Really, how sweet is life when surrounded by a network of loving, caring friends?

    Your life improves with good, caring loving friends in it. Business-wise, your presence expands super quickly. What is the saying? Great business people build networks? Nobody does it alone. No one. We are one. We grow like a weed when we realize our “One-ness”, meaning as we grow a group of great friends we stop competing and begin creating, forgetting about concepts like “against”, and simply being “for”.

    Struggling entrepreneurs usually have small networks. Entrepreneurs with big networks usually do darn well. You can have little knowledge of your niche, build a massive network, and do amazing things. I see this again and again. Folks who have some insight but a ton of supportive, high energy friends, who spread their word for them…and these folks become uber-successful.

    So dig the message in this post Craig. It’s why I advise my new team members to start networking on Twitter and Facebook from Day 1. No exceptions. If you reach out wonderful things happen for you. If you do not, you lengthen your learning curve each day, and make things a zillion times harder on yourself. Why not have 10, 20, 50, or 1000 people or more sharing your content? Right?

    Thanks for sharing your awesome insight Craig.

    Ryan

    • Craig says:

      Hey man, I think that is spot on, to a point.

      I’m a huge, huge, huge fan of flesh-and-blood hangouts. Twitter is great, of course, especially when people live in crappy places like Lubbock, Texas, but if you are in a hotspot like LA, NYC, Bangkok, or Madrid, use twitter to find activities, then get out there and break it down.

      Dancing, arting, eating, kissing, and playing are great ways to make people LIKE you. And people want to do business with people they like.

      It’s one of those things, I ignore the business when I’m not in my work zone, and instead focus on finding people with common interests, not money or power.

      My friends like rock climbing, swimming, beaches, paintball, fightclub, coffee, and tequila. But of course, they have their own works, dreams, fears, desires, and aspirations. Sometimes, those things come together.

      Case-in-point, a paintball and late-night-beer run friend works for the embassy. Her friend has children than need US history tuition. She referred them to me, I nailed that first conversation, and now the US embassy pays me to run a really, really useful history course in bkk.

      It just happened because friends are friends and steak night in the embassy is awesome.

      cg

  7. Chris Hedbanz says:

    Craig, you’re a wordsmith my man. Laughed my ass off…but it’s so true: people are so concerned with themselves they forget that by giving, getting comes naturally. Solid post; Heading to Thailand in t minus 4 days btw

    -Chris

    • Craig says:

      Oh, awesome man! I really appreciate the nice words.

      You know, if you are in the big bad bkk this wednesday, I host a weekly meetup in town. Shoot me an email or a tweet in the next few and I’ll send you the info. Would love to chat it up in person.

      Warmest

      cg

  8. Aside from making me laugh, this also made me think, think back to all the times someone has come in to my life for a reason. We crossed paths on a train, a plane or a boat. Or you made a new friend and that friendship faded but they introduced you to your new best friend or someone who gave you your first job, your first client, your first shot at being a ping pong star.

    So true!

    • Craig says:

      Hey natalie,

      So funny you talk about ping pong stars. Just this past wednesday I met a princeton grad who was the US #1 ping pong whatever for the last three years. We talked travel, ping pong, and economics.

      Thanks for enjoying this post. It’s the true me.

      cg

  9. Jenks says:

    OH! You mean real relationships are still worth something these days? But I’ve been accumulating Twitter followers, hanging out in G+ circles, and pinning like crazy! Shoot, I need to go back to where business really happens, with real friends made… I suppose :)

    • Craig says:

      Hah! Only if you are after the money, jenksy. Ideally, you’ll just go make friends because friends are great to have.

      Work might come out of it, but then again, it might not.

      cg

  10. Dan Lew says:

    This is what I do sometimes to market my own website and products, which is to make new friends. It gives me the possibility to grow my own online business and to help build my own brand.

    Cheers!

    Dan Lew

  11. Daniel Rose says:

    Shh! You’re going to give away the secret!
    Seriously though, it really is that simple (for those of us who are a little extrovert). I’m sure that introverts find it a little more difficult…
    Keep up the good work

  12. Hi Craig, I love your take no prisoners approach. Your bit about making honest comments on someone’s art made me laugh out loud, that’s one way to make an impact on someone, that’s for sure!!

    Some say it gets harder to make friends as you get older but I’ve found that if you keep learning and networking you always find people you just click with that become friends. Thanks for your refreshing, honest approach.

  13. David Sneen says:

    What seems so complicated–making a niche in the social marketing world– is in fact, so simple. The idea is to make friends. People shy away from doing business from anyone they do not know, like, and trust. So, be a good, honest friend. What can be simpler?

  14. Florin says:

    Like someone here said, it’s extremely easy for extroverts, but for us other guys it gets a little complicated, meaning we have to make an effort :)

  15. Amit says:

    Marketing is the key behind every business if you do it right you will get benefits otherwise good businesses fails because of lack in marketing

  16. Corine Miller says:

    Great Post. Very informative. This information should save many brand new internet marketers from making the common mistake of believing all the mis leading get rich quick schemes that are being advertised all over the internet. It is refreshing to read honest internet marketing information instead of all the false promises that so many blog posters write. Have A Wonderful Day Corine Miller

  17. Joe Frabotta says:

    This post rules. Totally dig the no fluff / no frills style. I HATE reading marketing or biz articles where the advice or call to action is ridiculously vague. You know what I’m talking about… This – this is exactly what I needed. I’ve been super heads down lately in work that honestly, I haven’t met many new people lately. I also recently kicked off a new band and I can see applying this stratgey to that “venture” as well. Somehow we managed to garner a decent amount of media / blog love when we released our first EP, but have been holed up in the studio, not meeting anyone… I’m excited to get out there and start making friends with similar (or dissimilar) interests at cool events. You never know what could happen…

    Thanks again Craig!

    -joe

  18. [...] Make new friends, give referrals, and be a real person. [...]

  19. [...] leads – advertising, networking, cold calling, guest posting, [...]

  20. […] Make new friends, give referrals, and be a real person. […]

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