We’ve all heard it more than a time or two, “It isn’t what you know you. It’s who you know!” There is no success you can accomplish on your own without purposefully collaborative relationships and integrative skills & resources. In an effort to help you build valuable relationships for your success, I am offering these insights for productive connections.
Correspond within a Week
After meeting a new contact, it is critical to correspond with them in a week’s time. You want to make the connection with you are still on the contact’s mind. It’s very possible that tastemaker may not remember meeting you if you wait too long. Depending on the contact you may decide to follow up with a personal phone call. My preferred correspondence tool is e-mail since it’s less intrusive and gives your contact an opportunity to respond on his or her timeline. If several e-mails have been left unanswered that may be a good time to give them a personal call.
- What to say?
In my e-mails I typically re-introduce myself and provide a bit of background on where we met and the general theme of our conversation. Prior to engaging the person be clear on what your objectives are so you can properly frame your e-mail or phone call:
o Is this someone that you want in your overall network but both of you may not provide any immediate value to each other i.e. different industries, etc.
o This is someone that I can help but currently does not add any immediate value to my network? If this is the case, be clear on the help you want to provide in your first communication.
o You can help each other. In this is the case, be clear on the type of help you want to provide the person. My recommendation in the first correspondence is to never ask for anything. Wait until you’ve delivered on your commitment before asking the person to provide a value in return.
o It’s evident that this contact can help you but don’t know how you can help them. In this scenario, provide tidbits on any subject matter expertise you may have and ask if the tastemaker or someone the tastemaker knows is looking for help in any of those areas. Never lean in with an ask, lean in with a value you can bring.
- Keep in touch. Send some sort of communication every 3 months
There are many ways to keep up with key contacts in your network. Zach Rinkins, award winning author and public speaker recommends creating a Google alert. For those unfamiliar with Google alerts, this allows you to enter key words and you’ll receive a notification every time there’s mention of the key word search set up in your Google Alert. Also, recommend keeping a contact list and adding a recurring reminder in your calendar to ensure you remain consistent with following up.
I know this may appear to be a bit robotic but it is my belief that every great networker is someone that is clear on the value of their current network, deliberate about building a network with the right people, and spending time with the right people that warrant fostering the relationship.