In spite of the fast pace and increasingly digital mode of communications that has taken the world by storm, one thing has stayed the same: relationships are tops in business. Yet it’s often challenging to carve out enough time for face-to-face meetings, networking, and prospecting. That’s why a systemized approach is so important. Here are some quick and helpful tips for keeping in touch with your clients, prospects and networks.
Start by developing a system for sharing useful information with your contacts. It’s one of the best ways to keep yourself “top of mind” with those in your network. Your plan doesn’t need to be complicated. Simply schedule some time each month to send an email with some industry news, or share a link to an important article. But be sure to mix it up so it’s not mechanical. Make a phone call, send a letter, invite your contacts to an event. And of course, you’ll still need to make the time for face-to-face meetings every once in a while.
I suggest using CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software to track your relationships. If you don’t do this, it’s just too easy to lose track. For instance, it’s easy to make the mistake of assuming your contacts will remain close even when you haven’t been in touch. Time goes by so much faster than we think. In the past, I’ve been guilty of calling a contact for a favour, then realizing after the fact that I hadn’t been in touch with that person for well over a year. Not cool. Being organized with your approach will help you avoid this type of blunder and keep all of your important relationships alive.
When you’re trying to build a new relationship, personalized follow up is the way to go. For example, a quick e-mail after a meeting letting the other party know how much you enjoyed meeting them can go a long way. It’s all about timing here. The sooner, the better. And definitely do not wait longer than one week to follow up.
When pursuing someone you haven’t yet met, friendly persistence is everything. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t get an immediate response to your first e-mail. When you do finally get that “yes,” make your first meeting count by offering them something of value. For example, if you’re a financial advisor, you might offer them a list of your top mutual fund picks for the year. Or perhaps you have another contact that you could introduce them to. Giving before you get is a universal principle. It eventually comes back to you.
In a world where relationships really do count for everything, you don’t want to risk taking a disorganized approach. Try putting a system in place, and I guarantee you’ll find your contacts – new and old – more willing than ever to do business with you.