When Alexander the Great set out to conquer the world, he must have understood that a reputation can travel faster and further than any army ever could. 

This is probably the reason why he put up such an unreasonably violent spectacle when he conquered Halicarnassus, known today as Bodrum in Turkey.

When the disturbing news of the unbelievably destructive siege went viral across the empire he was set on taking, his conquest became far less eventful than it should have been. 

Alexander’s brand was established. 
Fighting him was foolish.
And those who did, fought him with fear in their hearts. 
Alexander won those battles long before they had even started.

I used to work in the in the fund management industry. I started my career in Spain, and as is the case with all markets, it had it’s community of influential buyers. The obvious game was all about winning the business of one of the influencers before you could be welcome at the tables of their peers.

I’ll never forget my first meeting with the funds allocator at one of Spain’s major  insurance companies. He said: “You know, it’s really simple, my benchmark is Fidelity, if your funds are better than theirs, I just might consider your offering…”

I still believe that, during that meeting, I got my most important sales and marketing lesson ever. It was living proof that relationships of trust can bend rationality just like gravity can bend time. 

However, these weren’t instant insights. It took me a while to get that kind clarity. To be more specific, it took me more than 15 years to understand the essence of that lesson!

At first I thought Fidelity was much like Alexander the Great. It seemed so obvious: Fidelity was the world’s leading fund manager at the time. It had a great army of people, wielded massive marketing budgets, had pricing power and had a head start on most other competitors because they planted their flags well before others did in a series of well selected markets. 

It was the obvious explanation. Then again, most things aren't ever that simplistic... 

First mover advantages are, at most, temporary. Alexander - the world’s most powerful man - eventually got killed by a mosquito before his empire crumbled.  Fidelity’s Spanish empire eventually shrunk from undisputed industry leader to only a mid-single-digit market share in a matter of years.

But after all this time, there’s one thought that never let go of me and it took me more than 15 years to understand what that funds allocator was actually telling me.  

It was about the way he said it. 
He spoke in words and language straight out of Fidelity's brochures.
It had a strongly dogmatic connotation. 
Like verses from a holy book. 
And when he spoke of working with others, it sort of sounded like someone making it perfectly understood that they really didn’t want to cheat on their partner.
It was heartfelt. 
Sales people would die for that kind of relationship….

And when you think about it long enough, it all starts making sense: At the time that I met that funds allocator, the industry was just opening up to global fund managers.  Most of what man knew about international mutual funds was probably taught to him by the people at Fidelity - the early settlers in his territory.

So here's what really matters:  Fidelity had achieved the status of a ‘mentor’. 
The thing is, you never forget nor do you cheat on your mentors…
It is more than an intellectual relationship because during the transfer of knowledge, emotion is the currency in which gratitude is settled...
A relationship that is ‘infected’ by emotion disobeys rationality...
It becomes a real relationship!

The good news is this is not very complicated to achieve. 

To receive the emotion of gratitude, you need to offer real value first...

An effective way of doing this is by turning the prospect follow up process into a learning experience...

If you haven’t seen it already, I have put together a free webinar on exactly how to do that: