Once upon a time you could remember all of your business contacts with ease.
The people you interacted with to maintain your business were a select group. You knew all of their names, their kids names, and where they went to college. It was easy to connect with them and stay in touch.
You also walked uphill (both ways) to work and soda was a penny.
It’s 2015 and I’ve got a soda’s worth of pennies that say you probably have more business contacts than you can count or remember at once. In a time when people have 2000 Facebook friends and 5000 LinkedIn connections it’s no easy feat to remember each person you come into contact with and maintain a relationship.
Are you trying to find a way to wade through the noise and stay top of mind with your contacts? Try these tips today and and start making more meaningful connections today.
Keep your contacts organized
Have you ever stared at the source code of a website? Having all of your contacts without any organization is kind of like looking at the code of a website when you only have minimal [or zero] knowledge of HTML. You’re sitting there staring at this information and you know it makes sense but you have no idea where to start and you’re not quite sure how to interpret it for your own purposes. Organizing your contacts helps to give you the front end view of a website and not the back end view. It’s not source code anymore. It’s a website — and a contact system — that makes sense.
We can’t say this enough, but organizing and segmenting your contacts increases the overall effectiveness of your sales, messaging, and email.
When you’re organizing your contacts try to be as specific as possible. Sorting into friends, family, and coworkers isn’t going to help you make sense of the relationships. Try organizing your contacts based on a goal (like potential sales consultants, first time home buyers, etc.) or where you met them (SXSW industry leaders, Home and Garden Show leads, etc.). Using one of these systems will help you recall the person easier and your interactions with them giving you a foot in the door to making that meaningful connection that will make sure they remember your name.
Follow up with no strings attached
Your contacts want to know that they’re more to you than just a potential job or a sale. They want to feel like a person. They’re not dumb and they already know that you want to keep in touch with them to help grow your business in some way, but they don’t want to feel like that when they’re interacting with you. They want to feel like you’re attempting to make a personal connection without a hard sell. Part of the soft sell is really selling yourself and that’s so important to this step.
Try following up with a piece of content that they may find valuable, or follow up with them on the channel that they operate in. Making an effort to focus on the prospect and their values will help your overall sell than if you just focused on yourself.
This is why it’s crucial that you keep your contacts organized. If they aren’t organized you won’t know how to tell one contact from the other which will make it difficult to make that genuine connection. Did your new contact mention that he has a new baby at home? Ask how the baby is doing. Does your client love the Red Sox? Send them condolences after a loss to the Yankees. Focus on the person and really get to know them. If you build those quality relationships your contacts will automatically think of you first because they know you personally.
Give your contacts opportunities to connect outside of email
Your contacts need to see your name and your face. The repetition will help them remember you and keep you top of mind. The more places they can find you, the better. Share your LinkedIn profile, connect them to your blog, and follow your prospects on Twitter.
If you want to go one step further, create opportunities for your contacts to see you in person. Before conferences our team will let important contacts know where to find us on the floor and how to reach us while we’re there. If you’re not going to conferences then consider establishing your own meet and greet scenarios. Host a networking event, a happy hour, or a meet up. Let your contacts where you’ll be, when you’ll be there, and that you’re happy to talk to them about whatever they’re interested in. They should be able to talk to you about partnering with your company or about the latest episode of Scandal, whatever helps them connect with you in a way that is comfortable for them. Connecting in a space that you create and on terms that work for them show them how available you will be when they finally decide they need your products and services.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of ways to stay top of mind with your contacts but it should help you get the ball rolling. These four simple steps will make a huge impact in the way you interact with your network and the return you see on those relationships. Remember that just like you, your contacts are people too, and they want to be treated that way. Make yourself unforgettable for all of the right reasons.