- December 16, 2008
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Blog
In our line of business (Marketing), we usually tend to overlook ‘shared values’ amongst our professional relationships in favor of business volume, most of the time. In your opinion, what is the best way of keeping in touch with people that share similar professional values, as opposed to prospects that promise business volume? (the kind we spend most of our time dealing with)
Furthermore, how do you strike a balance between refreshing valued professional relationships and focusing on the business at hand?
One thing that I’ve learned working in the past decade is that its far better to interact with fewer people, and get to know them right, instead of contacting everyone, n not really getting to know anyone. Relationship marketing isn’t about numbers, at least in my case.
To counteract the ‘claim to fame’ epidemic, I limit my engagements to a manageable level, giving every prospect the time and attention span that I’d like to get, if I were in their shoes.
Most people don’t agree with me though, and this method sure has its downsides – i tend to miss out on big opportunities, while catering to smaller ones….
I am going to suggest a radical option. Be genuine. GIVE genuinely to those with whom you truly have a connecting based on values– as humans , not as dollar signs. People can tell! Attenton with the intention if GETTING feels shony. (Because it is!)
I understand your problem I my self have had this problem in the past but one of the best things is time management
make sure you give just one day per month to keep in contact with people you have already done work for or have spoken to.It is so easy to focus on new business and connection but think about it you have already done the hard part and that is finding these people. So just try and allow one day per month to old contacts and see what happens hope this has helped in some way
Time management is the answer. Give your self an hour per week, per month, etc to do nothing but networking. Focus on keeping in touch monthly with the people you know. Each month try to network, through people you know, with at least 2 new people, be it with personal or professional interests. Linkedin is great for that.
Effective time management combined with setting goals – daily, monthly, quarterly and annually. A book entitled Business Brickyard provides a great read on this (link below).
Relationships matter more than ever. Beyond the basics, it’s important to review your relationship database and look for trends – what types of relationships do you enjoy and that deliver good business results and which do not? Consider those prospects that are merely taking up your time – are you building a long term relationship that’ll turn into business or referrals downstream? Or are they merely taking up time. If so, perhaps they’re not the right fit for your business niche. If you have a number of people who are not the right fit, can you refer them to a partner or competitor who can serve them better? This can result in expanding your business network to create reciprocal referrals – your competitors may do the same. And these individuals will likely remember you for helping them out.
Write down the ideal customer / prospect – what are their needs, decision making styles and buying habits? Describe their persona – and how you can meet their needs. Think in terms of the benefits instead of features. Also write down what’s not a good customer / prospect. What are their decision-making styles, needs, habits? This will help you pinpoint more quickly those prospects who are best served by someone else – and save you time.
It’s always important to think about relationships for the long term – what are you doing to earn the trust, business and referrals of these people? Think not just about generating business, but how you can help. What expertise do you have that would benefit your database? Become the goto person they seek out for such expertise – this will help keep you visible. It’s been shown that those who give freely of their expertise get so much more in return. Here’s a great post that highlights that: http://www.copyblogger.com/the-millionaires-secret/
To effectively keep in touch, build your online presence using a suite of free, readily available social media tools: blog, Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed, etc. find the right mix for you, build your profiles and start using them to engage with your database. Invite them to join you there. Think about publishing an eNewsletter – and inviting your database to subscribe using a double-opt in to gather subscribers who will really look forward to your content. Chris Brogan has written some of the best how-to guides for developing and using these tools effectively. The key is consistency, transparency (don’t be selling all the time) and budgeting your time – you can accomplish a lot with these tools for just two hours weekly.
Ask your database how they want to keep in touch with you. There are only so many people we can have regular, in-depth conversations with. Know who these people are in your life and nurture those relationships. For those you want to connect with but just can’t do so regularly, use the social media tools available. Invite people to comment and engage with you via feedback. It’s easier than ever to connect with more people.
Next, focus on building trust through being authentic. Know and live what you stand for. Show up and execute well – keep your promises; this goes a long way to making people respect you and want to connect. What’s your purpose idea? Not just to make money, but the real reason you’re in business. Tell people about it. Read Seth Godin’s new book Tribes – about leadership and your tribe (i.e. relationships).
Check out the links below for more!