The good folks over at the private wealth group of Deutsche Bank in Orange County are a great study on commitment creating business relationships. Until a year ago their people and ours rarely, if ever, crossed professional paths. I'm sure we've shared clients or transactions but nothing was brewing between our two firms. Then one of their VP's got in his mind that Deutsche needed to be connected to my firm and has set out to create the relationship(s).
He contacted me, stated his goal, and asked, "whom should we know?" They did have one loose relationship with one of our partners from a RFP referral a few years prior (which they won), and wanted to target five-seven more partners to put their relationship plan in play.
Once I made recommendations on who to know they sent an invitation to hang out with them at a ball game. As with all new things, not much happened. A few months later it was hanging out in a suite at an Anaheim Ducks game -- people where a little warmer. Then last night they came to our office and conducted a private wine tasting (bottles in numbered brown bags, rating sheets, the whole thing). Talking to one of the partners today I can report the Deutsche is definitely front-of-mind with my folks.
Considering their diligence thus far I imagine they will keep creating new opportunities to get together with my folks. As far as I know no deals or referrals have moved back and forth yet, but, it is a tough thing to get on the go-to list of people that already have trusted resources.
Deutsche is doing all of the right things in a long haul effort to get on the inside. Consider this story when you are trying to create new business relationships for yourself or for your firm.