I like to say around here, “Unfortunately, you’re in a relationship business.”My friend Jonathan Stark recently sent out an email about 10x-ing your value.I want to run with that theme and ask: what relationship(s) would 10x the value you create for your clients?Not what skills or expertise, but what relationships?I was thinking about this, quite honestly, for myself. What relationship(s) would 10x–or dramatically increase–my value to my clients?I’ve taken this consulting gig doing market research for a services company that has a SaaS. As I’m doing this research, I’m realizing the kind of relationships that would increase my value in the context of this kind of consulting, which I don’t do a lot of because I’m mostly focused on coaching and creating group experiential learning experiences for my clients. That’s more scalable revenue and impact for me but, when it makes sense for me and the client, I take on consulting work.In the context of this particular consulting engagement, it would be great for me to have insight into how certain people within big companies think about a specific piece of technology. Big enterprise companies.I find that in many situations, there’s two things you can observe: the thing itself, and–often–a proxy for the thing itself. I also find that the proxy can be easier to observe, perhaps because it’s easier to access than the thing itself. Or perhaps because it’s literally more observable.We could think of Plato’s cave. We can’t observe the thing itself, but we can observe the shadow it casts on the wall of the cave.There are times when:* Action is a proxy for thinking. The action is more easily observed than the thinking.* The activity of easily observed individuals (sales people are one example) is a proxy for the thinking of less easily observed company leaders and their strategy. You might “observe” the actions of a salesperson by buying them lunch and asking them about it. Many of them love to talk!* Ad spending is a proxy for a company’s desired market position. I’m not 100% sure how you observe ad spend, but I think there used to be and maybe still are SaaS tools that collect and report on ad spend of various companies.And… in the context of my project… recruiters are a proxy for the needs of hiring managers.Of course, no proxy is a perfect representation of the thing itself, but on the other hand, some data is dramatically better than no data!So if you’re doing any kind of market research, make sure you consider what proxies might be easier to observe than the thing itself.And consider: what relationship(s) would 10x–or dramatically increase–your value to your clients?-POh, and finally… any folks on this here list able to connect me with a good recruiter who works (not necessarily exclusively) with big non-tech companies? I’d appreciate an intro.