The #1 secret to raising money, marketing, and just about anything you want to do.

There’s no technology needed for this one.  No fancy social media.  No mega-buck marketing campaign.

Just you.

See, I’m working on a new revival.

Not the musical kind. And not the 16 week kind with a Hollywood star.

I’m trying to revive . . . good ol’ fashioned, face-to-face, networking.

I was on a panel recently, and was asked a whole slew of questions about how I did things, from raising money, to selling groups, to getting press, and so forth.  While I was going through a list of some of my “greatest hits”, I traced 90% of them back to a simple and honest personal relationship that started with a handshake.

They weren’t all relationships that stretched back to college, or summer stock. Some were based on quick meetings that lasted no longer than 15 minutes.  But they did involve two people being in the same space at the same time.

Want some specifics?

  • I met two of my largest investors at a performance of one of my shows.  They just looked like they were having fun, so we started talking.  And then they started investing.
  • I’ve sold tickets to Godspell by talking to people on the subway platform, at a blackjack table, and on an Amtrak train.
  • I convinced an actor to do a show of mine by flying across the country to have lunch.

Electronic communication is fantastic.  It allows you to reach more people, and allows you to reach them faster.

But the conversion rate of email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and every other e-tool out there is a lot lower than the conversion rate of a request after you’ve met someone in person.

Because a real handshake beats an e-handshake 9 times out of 10.


(Got a comment? I love ’em, so comment below! Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)



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  • Amy says:

    and this is exactly why I wrote a play about a man who loves a woman without email, text message, phone, Facebook, Skype, iChat, or voicemail. Simply face to face.
    Thanks again for another fascinating post.

  • Erik says:

    So true, Ken! Good one.

  • michael says:

    That’s right Ken!
    That’s why I hope to meet you!

  • Allan says:

    I agree. I’m definitely a ‘face-time’ person. I don’t feel old-fashioned, I just feel that it’s real.

  • ken marion says:

    Next you’re going to suggest that a return to good old fashioned manners will improve the odds on the person to person approach! Love the message.

  • janiska says:

    Sounds like it’s all about communication.
    Some things are better communicated on paper, others telephonically without visual or tactile input, and still others are best communicated electronically with neither tatile, audio or visual input. But probably the most important issues, at least according to Montague, are best communicated through skin to skin contact.
    The significance of a handshake cannot be underestimated.

  • Yvette Heyliger says:

    I was referred to a producer via email. She asked that we meet “the old fashioned way,” that is, in person, over lunch in the theatre district. I agreed and we met. She did not offer money for my project, but she did offer tons of advice (interestingly) drawing on the people that I personally knew; no referrals were given to me from her contacts. I left the meeting with mixed feelings. It was great to sit across the table from her, look her in the eye, learn who she was as a person. She said she had plans to leave New York to live closer to her adult child and their family. She sounded almost like a woman on the other side of producing who had come nearly to the end of that chapter in her life. Long story short, I
    didn’t come away with a check (or the promise of a check) but I did come away with advice, some of it confirming ideas I had of my own already (it was helpful to see I was on the right track.) Yet, she had agreed to meet me, so I wondered if I had done anything wrong or if I could have done anything differently. I mean, the object is to get a check, right? But she seemed to me to be entering a new phase of her life and I didn’t want to push. I was grateful for the advice and the time she took with me. Should I have been more aggressive, more direct? If it were someone else (maybe one of you) would things have turned out differently?

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