Whilst this is an account of James' journey to fund-raising, it reminded me of the the importance of human-to-human relationships in business, even in the face of digital intermediaries.
Stakeholders (whether they're a prospect, an existing client, or just someone you're looking to influence) are too often packaged into buying personas, and nurtured through a funnel, which often takes the shape of:
This is all good and well if you're selling a product, but if you're selling a service, or you're selling your knowledge, you have to treat your stakeholder as a person, not simply as a buying persona. This is where relationships come in, and where human-to-human interaction is critical. In such scenarios, people don't typically arrive at buying decisions from funnels alone, there is almost invariably a human-to-human relationship that was paramount in engineering the situation.
In James' case - from one human to another, he successfully delivered an authentic story through an inspiring experience; moving the needle for him to go all guns blazing on his start-up, Sanctus.
The real power lies in doing this at scale, with unfaltering regularity. If you can get your colleagues regularly engaging with their key stakeholders, you're onto a winner.
Here’s the story of how I got given £20,000 to work on the first year of Sanctus. It’s a story worth sharing. In February 2016 I wrote a blog post called mental health in startups, it got 10,000 views in 2 days and I got over 500 personal messages about mental health. Post-blog post was a bit of a blur; I wrote in The Guardian shortly afterwards and started getting asked to speak on panels and give talks about mental health in the startup world. It all happened very fast.