R is for Referrals, Part 6: Stay Connected

Now that you've got your ever-growing and changing list of connections, you absolutely must stay in touch with them on a regular basis. 

Regular means "as often as you need to in order to strengthen, build, and develop the relationship." 

In my mind, that means you'll be reaching out every week, month, quarter or twice a year. Some people will need or want to hear from you pretty often, for others, a couple of times a year will be sufficient. I've heard a "marketing rule of thumb" that states you must be in touch at least seven times before someone knows who you are, and at least quarterly to continue to know who you are.

Methods for managing your contacts and staying connected:
  • You can use the Task function in Outlook, making each person a recurring task. Their name will pop up every month (or however often you choose), and you can reach out by phone, email, mail, FTD, or carrier pigeon. The purpose of the call is to connect, even if its only to their voicemail. The fact that you call is enough. You may have the opportunity, however, to invite them to a function (basketball game, lunch, drinks or dinner, a charity event). If they're not able to attend, again, the invitation will be enough. You can tell them what caused you to call, ask their opinion on something, or just ask what they need next most.
  • You can use Sugar or SalesForce. My clients actively use both and there are pros and cons to each system.
  • You can define your own way of staying in touch, using something you create or what your company has available.
What if you don't?
  • When someone needs a business attorney, headhunter, or real estate agent, you won't be top of mind (and your name certainly won't), so they'll find someone else through their other connections, or *gasp* a Google or yellow-page search.
  • You'll lose the opportunity for their business, their repeat business, and their referral business.
  • Last, but not least, you might just miss out on an amazing person. Tragic, I say.
Don't you think a regular phone call or email is worth it? Truly, the potential gold in any relationship rarely shows up right away. It's after many weeks, months or even years of connecting that your brand reaches deep and broad enough to reach and maintain what we're all truly looking for: a huge business with lots of revenue.

Honorée turns service providers into rainmakers, average producers into rock-stars, and dreams into reality. For more information on how she can specifically help you or your organization, click here.

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