Professional Connections Take Time

It’s almost the end of January, which means many people have likely abandoned their resolutions. I’m here for a quick reminder of one resolution in particular that will help you maintain a strong professional year.

Don’t “Ghost” Your Business Connections or Prospects

“Ghosting” refers to the ending of a relationship (in this case, a professional one) by disappearing or withdrawing–rather, simply fading away. If you’re guilty of this regarding the business connections you made in 2017, take out those business cards and start re-connecting.

It’s a new year and a new chance to revisit opportunities and reopen doors.

Make an effort. Take the time. Reach out.

Customers and prospects spell love: T-I-M-E. The more of it you give (obviously without being intrusive…and weird), the more they feel that you value a relationship with them. To start, spend some time thinking about the people in your life (business or personal) with whom you’ve gone too long without connecting. Make a list of them to call, email, or text within the next month, and that will help you compartmentalize properly.

Too often in business we fall out of contact with people who have been good customers, great for referrals , or simply someone we should stay in persistent, consistent, and relevant contact with. Most businesses looking for new business know that great business relationships are the best place to start when revisiting a potential prospect.

5 Steps to Kickstart Stagnant Relationships or Overdue Contacts

  1. Make a list. For everyone you haven’t connected with in over 6 months, with whom you have had a good business relationship, add them to your outreach list.
  2. Reach out. Send everyone on this list either a text, email, or call them over a 2-week period. This of course depends on what their preferred method of communication is.
  3. Say the right words. Example: “Hey, I was thinking the other day that I have not touched base with you in a long time. I have been busy but would love to jump on a call and catch up. No agenda, I just want to see how you’ve been doing and tell you some neat things we have going on that are keeping me busy.”
  4. Follow up. If there’s no response after a week to 10 days, send a similar message, such as, “Hey Joe, I sent you a message last week, but I am never sure if my technology has failed me, so I wanted to follow up. I’d love to get on a call and catch up. It’s been too long.”
  5. Third time’s the charm. Lastly, if there’s still radio silence, and this contact is someone you truly value and want in your professional life, reach back out one more time–2 weeks later–with the same message as in #4.  Giving that amount of time between outreach is crucial so as to not bombard them. However, you do want to give it that one last try before giving up.

Finding Convenient Ways to Connect

In the end, the key to maintaining our valuable business relationships is through persistent, relevant contact. Eventually, we will lose influence with people if we do not stay in contact with them as we should. Use the New Year to revitalize some of these relationships, and you might be surprised how good that practice of keeping in contact is.  

If possible, find a convenient and organized way of staying connected and grow your knowledge of the importance of those relationships. Lists are great, but if you function better online or via apps, go that route. It can be an optimal way of maintaining your connections more sufficiently. In fact, coming soon is an app called ReallyLinked that will make it far easier for you to do that.

For growing your knowledge on how business relationships are vital to success and how you can do it for yourself, make a list of Must-Reads or Must-Watch-Tutorials. My book, The Relationship Edge in Business, and the Relationship Edge section of JerryacuffVT are great places to start in seeing how relationships are the foundation of any great business.