I'm up to my ears with books about how to become more personally effective in making business connections, building relationships, and networking my way to success. Why, all of a sudden, are there so many books about relationship-building and "connecting?" I admit I liked last year's book by Keith Ferrazzi, "Never Eat Alone." I know Keith, and he has the professional services chops to offer credible tips for accountants, actuaries, engineers, lawyers and other professionals to (gather the courage to) engage people in a personally valuable way.
So, what pushed my puh-LEEZ button? It was seeing Jeffrey Gitomer's book "Little Black Book of Connections: 6.5 Assets for Networking your way to RICH relationships" featured on the 800CEOread blog. This book, among other things is ". . . about how to say the right things to the right people in the right circumstances to make the right impression."
I admit it: I have never heard of Jeffrey Gitomer ("the country’s #1 sales trainer"). He's probably a fabulous expert. I could probably learn a lot from him. But I'm put off by what appears to be glib promises, and packaging that seems a bit over-the-top ("The book is small. The cover is classic black cloth. The four-color text graphics makes it attractive and easy to read ").
Why am I so peevish about this? I know that getting professionals to become better "people-people" has never been more important in steering professional service firms to achieve marketplace gains. Most of the senior marketers I know have, at one point or another, had to offer (even require) training for their experts on building relationships. (And of course there's the inevitable alternative: not requiring professionals to network at all ("Our professionals simply need to be the most skilled experts that they can be. We've created a separate sales team to do relationship building and networking!"). But that's for another post.)
So here's the question: What's the best book you've ever read about relationship building, networking and the like for your firm's professionals? Why? What's the best "take-away?"