Building strong professional relationships is one of the most important daily activities you should be doing as a small business owner. Here’s a guide.
Professional Relationship Building 101
It’s not what you know, but WHO you know, right?
And further: it’s not WHO you know, but who knows WHAT you know.
(Hat tip to Michael Port for that one.)
So before you start the tough slog of marketing to unknowns, how about you start by plucking the low-hanging fruit of building better relationships?
Because when it comes to “marketing”, you might well be running before you’re ready, and there’s some gentle course correction needed.
How to Build Better Professional Relationships
Step minus one:
Grab a copy of my short and pithy guide: 5 Things You Need To Do Every Morning To Get More Clients In 60 Days
Now, it’s almost due for a rewrite (I’m not convinced about the Twitter advice anymore. Twitter seems to be more and more of a mass-market minefield today. Such is the danger of following fashion. Still, you can always follow me on Twitter if you’re so inclined.)
But the first four things remain evergreen, relevant and likely to get you results in ANYTHING you’re looking to achieve.
Big claim, uh?
Yep. And true.
The main focus of the 5 Things manual is relationship-building.
Relationships are what get you what you need to get.
They get you introductions. They get you discounts. They get you customers. They get you a bed for the night and plate of food when you’re miserable and hungry and broke. They get you loans when you need capital and tax advice when you’ve got too much capital.
Sartre said that hell is other people.
I disagree. Hell is isolation from other people. Hell is trying to do it all on your own.
So you need to invest in other people. You need to invest your time and your energy and your efforts. And it needn’t be a drag.
Here’s how you can do it:
Plus, I GUARANTEE results within thirty days or fewer, or your money back.
1. Sign up for a trial account at Contactually:
There is NO better system for being reminded to keep in touch with the important people in your life, whether its existing clients, family members, prospects or your 3,000+ LinkedIn contacts who you don’t know from Adam.
If you’re not familiar with Contactually, you owe it to yourself to check it out. It’s more than just a CRM – it’s a complete contact manager that even reminds you WHEN to follow up (automagically) with the right people, and suggests what to say to them.
2. Import ALL your contacts from Facebook, LinkedIn and your address book.
Having folk all disparate and dispersed won’t serve your sanity. Pull them into one place. Contactually will update your address book accordingly.
3. Brew some coffee, spend 30 minutes categorizing 300 or so of them into “Buckets” (this is more clearly explained inside of Contactually.) Do this every day by playing the “Bucket Game”. After your first blast you shouldn’t need to spend more than 5 minutes a day on this.
I suggest you use the following buckets as a minimum:
- Very Important Keep In Touch: follow up every 30 days
- Would Be Good To Keep In Touch: follow up every 90 days
- Would Like To Know Better: follow up every 30 days
- Lead: follow up every 3 days.
- One Day Maybe: follow up every 120 days
- Not Important: don’t follow up
4. Set yourself 10 follow-up reminders per day (again, details inside Contactually.) Adhere to them religiously for a month.
If you’re stuck for what to say, then refer back to my 5 Things guide.
PS – put me on your Very Important Keep In Touch list – I’ll be happy to hear from you to find out how you got on
PPS – I want to hear how you got on with this. Again – if you do it right, then you’ll start to see concrete results very quickly.