Direct Marketer of the Year: Brian Kurtz, executive vice president, Boardroom Inc.
And Kurtz stresses that the thought process behind this practice is not one of self-interest. Sure, he acknowledges, people like to do business and support those contacts with whom they feel close. But you're not going to make the time to stay in touch year-round if you're always looking to see what you get back for your effort.
"When I know that during the work week I've done four or five things that made a few people in my life's day, that's a pretty successful week. You add that up over a whole year, the amount of people you're responsible for ‘making their day' on a particular day because of what you sent them or what you connected them with ... I can't think of a better way to live life," he affirms.
The "win-win" might be talked about as the new paradigm in business, but Kurtz says Edelston has been practicing it for years in all of Boardroom's dealings. Pair this with another Edelston philosophy, "There is no ‘No,'" and you've got one unbeatable combo for driving a business forward. Kurtz notes that at times it can be frustrating working past what seem to be stalemates, but he's learned "You can always find the ‘Yes,' although you might have to rework the terms in some way."
One final key point Kurtz has taken away from his time spent with his first mentor: "The only things worth talking about are the things you can't talk about." What this means, he explains, is that someone should always play devil's advocate in business development meetings to make sure you're not going down the wrong path merely to appease the team. "If there's something that's really obvious and that needs to be discussed, get it discussed. If you don't talk about it, you're going to regret it later on," says Kurtz.