Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Stay Connected!

Something awful will happen if you are out of touch with the people who count in your network… NOTHING!

Be in touch! Make the right connections. Then, do whatever it takes to hold on to them! Maintaining alliances is one of the keys to your success. Staying connected is the essence of achievement!

A synonym for connected is related. When you develop good, close, personal and business relationships with people you are more likely to stay connected. Never take your personal or business relationships for granted. What you take for granted disappears! Keeping in touch is the antidote for taking for granted. Staying connected is proof that the relationship is special! Never let this opportunity slip through the cracks.

stayconnectedStaying connected takes some effort! It requires a follow-up plan for it to work! Face it, if you are going to succeed in the long haul, personal contacts with an effective follow-up plan designed to have them continue must be the cornerstone of your own personal marketing plan. Plan to stay connected and you will stay connected! Connections last only as long as we continue to actively invest in them. Invest in developing relationships that continue!

The number one reason salespeople fail is because they don’t ask for the order. The number two reason salespeople fail is because they do not follow-up on what they get started! Create your own effective follow-up system for keeping connected.

“Love ’em and leave ’em!” doesn’t work! In other words, the salesperson who, after making a sale, moves on to what’s next without paying attention to the follow-up loses!

People will go places, do things and go out of their way to associate with people who make them feel important, cared for, worthwhile and in control of their lives. Your challenge is to stay connected and provide those needs for the special people in your life.

Writing notes to friends, customers and clients is an excellent way to stay connected!

Keep your name in front of people. Send them a brochure. Mail them a flyer. Always include a business card! If your friends are doing things that get recognized in the local paper, clip the article and send it to them with a nice note. I usually say, “It’s good to see good friends making good news! Thought you might like to have another copy of the article from the newspaper.”

If someone writes an article for a magazine or newspaper, jot him or her a quick note to let him or her know how the article contributed to you. Send them an extra copy and a business card!

Use the telephone to stay in touch. Having a good reason to call is better than having lots of people to call. Before you pick up the phone, make a brief list of what you want to communicate. Have a specific idea to discuss and be sure that the reason you call is important to the person called.

Keep it brief. Say hello, establish the relationship again, then get to the point, say what you want to say and get off of the phone! One reason people hesitate to use the phone is because they are afraid they will get hooked into a long, drawn-out conversation. If you know what you want to say, this won’t happen. Be prepared! Let them know it is a business call and you have other calls to make. Respect their time and they will respect your time. A brief telephone connection is better than no connection at all!

A top salesperson in one of my seminars said she was having trouble getting off the phone at home in the evenings when someone called her. She was raised to believe that it was rude to end the conversation when someone called you. Professional speaker, Larry Winget, uses a method that has worked well for him in this situation. If the conversation is dragging on, he politely tells the caller, “I know you’re busy, so I better let you go now!” He tells me he has never had anyone argue that they are not busy. It may take a bit of courage for you to do this, but why not do it anyway and see what happens!

Today’s telephones and cell phones may let you run, but they won’t let you hide. They may let you call from anywhere, but the phone at the other end will be smart enough to screen the call and either let you through or banish you to the appropriate answering machine or voice mail and even determine what recording to play for you. Today there are pocket phones. They ring, they beep and some of them even softly repeat your name. They can identify a caller and can even give you a fix on the location of the caller. Privacy becomes an issue. If you want privacy it’s for sale. You can now buy “call blocker.” Several other ways to stay connected that relate to the telephone are cellular telephones, voice mail, answering machines, pocket pagers, mobile satellite services and portable computers. All are designed to assist you in staying connected!

The use of ‘800’ numbers also encourages customers and friends to stay in touch with us without the cost of a call.

Another way to stay connected is to invite people to breakfast! I know, everyone eats lunch and you would rather do lunch than get up that early! It has been my experience that people who are willing to get up and show up for an early breakfast are committed to having their business and relationships work! I like to be with people like that. Personally, I would rather sleep a little later and work later, however, I have found that when I plan a breakfast instead of lunch, I get more accomplished. Not only at the breakfast meeting, but also for the rest of the day. When the breakfast meeting is over, I find myself charged up and ready to get at it!

Do lunch also! Have an agenda. Get things done! If you are going to meet someone for lunch, don’t get carried away with a long, drawn- out lunch! Let them know in advance that you have an appointment at 1:15 or 1:30 p.m. Saying this puts them on notice that you are busy and that you need to get down to business. It may be that your appointment is with yourself; one that you made to support yourself in getting back to your office so you can get back to more of what needs to be done. It is not necessary to tell them who your appointment is with. This idea may help you stay on target!

Come up with ideas for people to use in their business! If you have an idea that is working for you, share it! Recommend publications they might be interested in. Share some of your connections with them. Refer them to people who can be of assistance to them. Send them copies of magazine articles that might be of interest.

Find out who networks! Stay close with those people! They may know people you need to know! If you have a need to meet someone special, make some calls and find out who knows them. When you are well connected, you can usually find out anything you want in three to five phone calls. If you doubt for a minute that this is true, be someone who actively connects and who has a plan to stay connected and prove it to yourself! Your first call may not be a direct hit; however, they may know someone who knows!

Write articles for the newspaper and magazines to inform and help others stay in touch with what you are doing. Send news releases to the media when you do something newsworthy! When you send a news release, don’t judge the newsworthiness of it. Let the newspaper do that. Many times what you think may not be very newsworthy, may be just the filler they need at the time they need it. Go to the library and read a book about how to write effective news releases. It is there you will learn the guidelines that should always be followed to get the editor’s attention!

Invent new ways to be in touch and to stay connected! Brainstorm with your friends! Make “staying connected” a topic at a sales meeting! Trade ideas about staying in touch! Exchange contacts!

Haven’t got the knack of networking. . . hire a Coach!

Visit people in their office. Get to know them one-on-one! It’s a great opportunity to see what they do. Ask them for a tour of their office if it’s appropriate. Take this opportunity to ask them to define precisely what kind of business leads they are looking for.

Stay connected by planning a “mixer” at your office. Prepare a flyer and invite fifteen to twenty friends to an informal get-together. Ask them to bring someone they would like to get to know better. Have a little wine and cheese or soft drinks and snacks. Tell them to bring lots of business cards. Let them get to know you and each other on a social level. Offer a tour of your office. One and a half to two hours is plenty.

When they arrive, ask them to deposit their business card in the fish bowl. Have a drawing. Give something away! Review the business cards the next day and follow up on the people you need to get to know better. This is also a good way to develop a mailing list!

Have name tags! I recommend the plastic business card holders. This will assist the people in your network to associate the names with the businesses!

Help them get acquainted. About a half hour into the “mixer,” ask for everyone’s attention. Offer a welcome, make a few brief remarks about your business, invite them to mix with others, exchange business cards and thank them for coming. Ask if there is anyone that has a special need to meet someone? See if you can help them make the connection!

Social connections are important. They allow you to mix business and pleasure. They let you feel comfortable with talking business in a relaxed setting.

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. – Plato

Be creative when you stay connected. Always give people something with your name and phone number on it!

Stay in touch with your friends, business associates, your customers and clients and all of the people in your life that matter.

Never forget the people in your network and never let them forget you!

netHQ

Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

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