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Why You Should Try to Make New Business Contacts on Vacation

Vacations are meant for relaxing and unwinding. They aren’t extensions of the office. You want to forget about work for awhile. FYI: The average American may get sixteen days of paid leave, yet four days is the average length of a vacation. Over a quarter of Americans get no vacation time. Let’s assume you take a least a week.  

Why Bother?
Does social climbing bother you? Does making business connections stop with the local networking group or the chapter of your professional association? Are vacations “sacred” time?  If so, stop reading now.

You work hard. People are on you all the time making conflicting demands. Everything needs to be done immediately. Why do I want to work at meeting people on vacation? Audrey Hepburn in Charade said “I already know an awful lot of people and until one of them dies I couldn’t possibly meet anyone else.” This probably doesn’t describe you. You would probably benefit from meeting a few, well placed people who could help your career. Or maybe you just need a fresh face or two in your life.

Years ago I heard about a financial advisor who primarily built his practice taking high end luxury vacations and developing personal relationships that led to business. (You can find a financial advisor success story to make a case for almost any client acquisition strategy.)

The rationale is the friendship creation process is accelerated when people are relaxed and time is short. Why not take advantage of the situation? You aren’t being predatory, you just want to meet interesting people. If they are wealthy, powerful or successful, even better.

Relating to People
You aren’t cruising for clients. You are having a good time on vacation. Technology has added a new dimension to meeting strangers. Expect to be looked up on LinkedIn or Google after you have met people two or three times. This isn’t a police state, but you will learn enough to ask leading questions. We met a retired British couple with police backgrounds who freely admitted using Zillow to check out the homes of people they meet (after swapping contact information at the vacation’s end) to determine if they were "all hat and no cattle."

We’re getting ahead of ourselves. You are meeting people, identifying interests in common and laying the groundwork for keeping in touch afterwards based on shared interests. Simple.

Does this lead to business? Maybe, maybe not. Will your life be richer having met someone who advises a state pension fund, a nice woman whose TV actor son sent her on vacation or an ambassador returning from a posting? You decide. It’s better than watching TV in your room and checking emails.