“Hey Val, have you got two or three minutes for a quick call?”
The email request sounded simple enough, but something warned me not to answer too quickly. The last time I agreed to speak to this person, I found myself on the other end of an aggressive sales pitch.
One of my top strategies for business development is keeping relationships warm. Whether that’s reaching out for a call to share a virtual cup of coffee, or sending a note by email, the key is that there is no agenda or pressure to have a conversation.
Even if we haven’t worked together, I can still share how I’ve valued our relationship and any time we spent together.
As the year is winding up, this is the time I like to send notes to people. I start towards the end of November or the beginning of December. A bonus is that my messages aren’t as likely to get lost amongst Christmas or holiday greetings.
This year’s note might look something like, “This has been an unusual year, and I wanted to check-in and see how you’re doing.”
Blog writing and sending out my newsletter are other ways I keep relationships warm, without any push or agenda. There are people I’ve been keeping in touch with this way for 5-8 years who’ve contacted me “out of the blue” to sign up for training.
Some people use a customer relationship management (CRM) system to keep track of people and when to follow up next. Well, either my brain doesn’t work with those or I’m just plain old fashioned. Instead, I keep my own list and just go through it periodically.
Other times, I will just open my mind, see whose name comes to mind, and I’ll follow up with those people. You could say that instead of a CRM, I use my gut.
I do get that as a coach and trainer I have a product to sell. That’s a reality. And, I can make something else more important than that, which is to connect with people.