Steve Sims (@SteveDSims1) is the CEO and founder of Bluefish, an exclusive, members-only luxury concierge service for VIP and executive clients, and the author of Bluefishing: The Art of Making Things Happen.
The Cheat Sheet:
What’s the chug test and how can it help us trust our stomachs more than our heads when it comes to character assessment?
Find out why knowing how to network well and build relationships will get you further than an unlimited bank account every time.
Understand how we can get rid of unhealthy relationships and clients who are driving us crazy.
Discover how to screen for these potential relationships so we can prevent them from intruding in the first place.
Learn tactics Steve uses to create connections and network that are unrivaled — and turn something most of us dread into his strongest competitive advantage.
Last time exclusive concierge Bluefish founder Steve Sims was on the show (check that episode out here), he taught us how to get a “yes” — and as someone who makes a living of asking for and delivering the impossible, he knows exactly what that entails.
Now that he’s written Bluefishing: The Art of Making Things Happen, Steve rejoins us to talk about his philosophy, tips, tools, and tactics for getting back to putting the customer first every time — and loving the career we’re building enough to want to do it every single day.
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In the words of founder Steve Sims, Bluefish is “a high-end concierge that’s been called by Forbes and Entrepreneur ‘The real-life Wizard of Oz.’ What we’ve become famous for is things like sending people to the Titanic, sticking them onstage to sing with their favorite rock star, getting them married in the Vatican, closing down museums, opening up a table of six at the feet of Michelangelo’s David and having Andrea Bocelli coming and serenade them during the dinner.”
The strength of Bluefish comes not from being run with access to unlimited finances, but by understanding the importance of networking and relationship-building with people who can get things done — and ensuring they’re happy to do it.
“You walk up to the Accademia in Florence and say, ‘Hey, I want to shut it down on Tuesday for a dinner party; how much is it going to cost?’ They’re going to hang up the phone on you because quite simply, a lot of people at that level don’t want to be bought and sold.” says Steve. “So it’s that negotiation of, ‘Well, why should I open up the museum? Why should I let you in here at midnight? Why should these things happen?’ And you’ve got to let them know why it’s a great idea for them to let you get your own way.”
The Warm Introduction
“Nine times out of ten, I piggyback,” says Steve. “So I will look after someone, and then when I need something, I will look at my pool of contacts, partners, vendors, relationships, and find out, ‘Do they know anyone in that other person’s sand pit that could get me closer to what I want?’ Because there’s nothing stronger than someone whispering in your ear that you trust and you think is credible that says, ‘Hey, you may never have heard of this guy before, but take his call, listen to what he says.’
“If you get that call, nine times out of ten, you’re open to listening. And if can then come in and go, ‘Hi, I believe Jordan told you I was going to give you a call; this is what I want to do,’ then they’re a little bit more open to it than if you…had managed to find the right number, got through all the gatekeepers, and phoned them cold.”
Note: if you’re the credible source making a warm introduction on behalf of someone, you want to be sure you can trust that someone not to put your relationship with the gatekeepers in jeopardy. Ensure you only speak for people you have in your pool of real and reliable friends and not merely your drinking buddies you only know at arm’s length from nights of drunken revelry.
Steve warns: “If you give them an idiot that upsets their day, you’re not getting a second chance to get through that door regardless of how many years you built that relationship!”
Keeping Track of Your Network’s Best
How do you keep track of the friends who are worth the support of your good name? Jordan makes sure to regularly scroll down the list of texts in his phone and drop the people he finds there a line every now and again to stay in touch. He also uses Contactually to resume correspondence with email contacts who might otherwise fall by the wayside. Steve uses an Excel spreadsheet.
“What I will do is I will literally go through that list over a six-month period and then start again at the beginning,” Steve says, “and then make sure that every week I go through 10 connections.”
Whether you’re using a spreadsheet or Contactually, Steve recommends tagging contacts with their interests so when the opportunity arises for you to reach out to them and offer value, you can. Steve gives the example of getting in touch with his contacts who have expressed an interest in Ferrari whenever he gets the chance to see the unveiling of a new Ferrari.
“It doesn’t matter if he goes or not; the power that I thought of him to invite him was all that mattered,” he says.
Listen to this episode of The Art of Charm in its entirety to learn more about how Steve tags people by their interests with even greater efficiency, the numerous reasons Steve prefers snail mail to email, why Bluefish carefully interviews any potential client before agreeing to take them on, how consistently overdelivering provides wiggle room for any endeavor, why you shouldn’t dread the final conversation when you’re firing a client who’s not a good fit for what you do, how Steve trusts his stomach more than his head when meeting new people (and why he hates the word “authentic”), what it means to self-audit and why we should do it regularly, how we can rephrase our ask, and lots more.
THANKS, STEVE SIMS!
If you enjoyed this session with Steve Sims, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
AJ Harbinger - author of 1166 posts on The Art of Charm
AJ Harbinger is one of the world’s top relationship development experts. His company, The Art of Charm, is a leading training facility for top performers that want to overcome social anxiety, develop social capital and build relationships of the highest quality.
Raised by a single father, AJ felt a strong desire to learn about relationships and the elements that make them successful. However, this interest went largely untapped for many years. Following the path set out for him by his family, AJ studied biology in college and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at the University of Michigan. It was at this time that he began to feel immense pressure from the cancer lab he worked in and began to explore other outlets for expression. It was at this point that The Art of Charm Podcast was born.
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