Do you have a LinkedIn account? Great! Get a stack of business cards – collecting dust – and add them to your account. The cards which frustrated you because, you didn’t know what to do after you first met the person.
Finding and building relationships is TOUGH when you run a service based business. You know that marketing is important – ie. attending networking events and conferences or meeting for coffee.
But every hour you spend marketing is a lost hour on a client project. I had it happen myself this week. I wanted to work on my social media marketing plan. But two clients called. And my planning went out the window.
Since it’s time consuming to maintain business relationships, consider LinkedIn as part of your marketing plan.
But enter the cards in manually. Why? Can’t you automatically upload them?
You can. But you’ll want to read more to see why I recommend the manual method. Even if you are time strapped. And even if you’d rather be doing anything BUT marketing.
Yes, I know there are apps that simplify the process. Go old school, my friend. Search for the contact online. Learn more about their background – both on LinkedIn and online. Find out what they have been doing recently. Awards. Committees. Press mentions. Their blog. Their social media.
Send them a short “touch base” email. But personalize it! Yes, you can use some of the same content to several people. But take a few extra minutes to add a personal info that connects.
You could share recommendations. Moms do this all the time with pediatricians and after school programs their kids like.
Or you give them some social media love. Retweet a few of their posts. Give them some Insta, FB or Snap love. Show them that their messages and thoughts matter.
This is an easy way to build the relationship when you are time strapped. While it’s nice to meet for coffee or phone chats, this will allow you to connect with more of your network. And stay abreast of what matters to them.
And the more you engage with your LinkedIn network, guess what is going to happen?
You are going to get “lucky” and land more sales.
People remember their friends and contacts who are genuine. Those who are non-salesy – aka always asking for something. And those who are interested in a long term connection.
The key is to make this outreach regular. Don’t do one generic email blast and then never connect again. Reach out to only a handful of new people weekly. Or schedule quarterly emails and share highlights what is happening in your personal and business worlds.
I maintained relationships for years that didn’t yield any opportunities. And that’s totally fine! Because on an occasion that we do get to work together, the connection is already formed. So it’s easier to approach a project rather than having to spend time getting to know someone.
The more you spend time on building genuine personal relationships, the more you will stand out in your field.
And sales opportunities will start landing in your lap!