Last September, I moved to a new townhome community. The real estate developer has not yet completed the walking path surrounding the property. The first phase of the path meanders along a roaring creek and the Kincaid Forest. At one point, the path ends, awaiting new asphalt.
While walking the trail with my friend, I invited her to continue on the dirt path. It hugs the creek and takes us to a quiet patch of forest where I’ve spotted hawks, foxes, turkeys, and deer.
Having worked with hundreds of savvy CEOs and marketing leaders over the years, I see that same hesitation when it comes to forging new, meaningful business relationships.
We work for decades to build our reputation. Yet many of us just assume that our community of fans, friends, and college buddies can keep up with our progress.
It seldom happens that way.
It’s our responsibility to keep people informed. It is our responsibility to share our new ideas, industry insights, and value.
And it is truly a travesty when we hold ourselves back from sharing our value with audiences who need to hear it!
We have discovered 9 routes to expand your reach, network, and rekindle some old connections. Kudos to Robert Middleton of Action Plan Marketing for the inspiration.
Here they are:
- Contact past clients. Search online for the latest news about their organization. Make sure you have Google Alerts set up for your most important clients!
What trigger events or changes have occurred that could generate a NEW need for your products and services?
Write a SHORT email (5-7 sentences). In this note, thank them for their business and check on whether they continue to receive the value you delivered—or what may have stopped them from receiving it. Request a time to catch up and share what changes are underway—and that you have some fresh ideas that may be helpful to THEM.
- Reach out to clients who almost hired you. Let them know you reconsidered a few things and have some NEW ideas you want to test with them. Who knows? They might just be unhappy with your competitor, and open to a new conversation.
After they respond, or after your discussion, ask for permission to add them to your email newsletter list.
- Cultivate industry colleagues—these are not clients; they are trusted associates. Most of us have at least 20 contacts who fit this description. Ask them when you can catch up via phone, and mutually explore how you might help one another. Offer them a lead or a new resource in the email!
You might also look at their LinkedIn profile. See who their connections are. Some might be PERFECT clients for you. Ask for introductions.
As a form of respect, write the introduction email for them. This save them lots of time. This increases the chances that they will send it quickly. Thank them for their help, and let them know how what results from the introduction.
After that conversation, add them to your email newsletter list.
- Review old contacts or conversations in your records. When did you last speak with them? If six or more months have passed, reach out to them. Offer something of value. Offer them 15 minutes of “free advice” on a topic that they care about, and where you are the expert. Then ask them for ideas on how you might grow your business. After that conversation, add them to your email newsletter list.
- Review your established LinkedIn Connections. Who has been dormant? On a weekly basis, reach out to at least 10 people and reconnect with them. (That is only two contacts per day!) With their permission, add them to your email newsletter list.
Offer them something of value—a “top trends” report, a 15 minute webinar, a 1 page summary of your favorite business or lifestyle hacks, etc. Request a call to see how you can help each other. Keep those messages informal and succinct if you are using the LinkedIn message feature.
- Read LinkedIn for 10 minutes a day. Look for people who share mutual connections, and with whom you have not yet connected. Create a personal note and ask if you might connect. Send them something of value. In your first few messages, avoid selling or promoting anything! This is about sharing a valuable topic, insight, or resource.
- Select 10 experts in your field whom you admire. Mention how much you love their work. Be specific and authentic. Then tell them that you have shared their content with your community (if that is true). In a follow up email, ask them if they would be willing to connect over the phone or in person. Ask them if they would be open to answering a few questions. Respect their time by keeping the call to 15-20 minutes.
- Contact old school friends. Share an old memory that you have in common. Offer a time to catch up on your mutual successes, and to explore how you can help one another. Add them to your email newsletter list.
- Reach out to 5 professional associations. Offer to introduce them to at least 3 new members. Then ask them about their next conference. Where might you host a session? What are the three most “burning topics” their members need to hear? If you are the expert in your field, you can lead that discussion. Share your burning topics first; hear their response.
These ideas help you find some unexpected, and often ignored, paths to deeper connections. Don’t be afraid to get your boots wet.
Still unsure what strategies make sense? Drop me a note and we will share one of our planning guides with you.