Why do you collect business cards?
Why do you connect on LinkedIn?
Why do you answer your phone?
What is networking for, if you don’t follow up on your connections?
Too often as salespeople, we neglect the old contacts in our network, in favor of the new marketing idea, or the hot sale about to close.
The best salespeople dedicate time to reconnecting with their network. Average salespeople watch their circle of influence dwindle to those who they’ve seen, or spoken to, within the last few weeks.
Don’t be the one that prospects forget about. Stay in touch.
Customer Relationship Management Styles
Many people connect with their entire contact database just once a year: when they send christmas cards. The rest of the year, they miss out on continual “soft touches."
Every soft touch is an implied invitation - “Remember what I do? Know anyone who needs my services?" Make this offer once a year, and you’ll get referrals once a year. Maybe.
Other people email everyone monthly or weekly. They give out that implied reminder just as often. (Groupon emails their list daily. But, that’s probably too often for your business.)
Somewhere in between once a week and once a year is how often you should contact every person in your network. Minimum. (The more often, the more impact you have.)
Define your style. How often do you want to connect with everyone in your network? Set a schedule and stick to it.
Make friends with your CRM
Look through your contact database once every week or two. If you notice any names that look unfamiliar, you should immediately reach out and reconnect. If you’ve forgotten who they are, chances are, they’ve forgotten you, too.
Ace of Sales comes with 5 fields for each contact that go beyond contact information. “Buying Motives" and “Questions, Ideas, and Actions" are contact-by-contact brainstorms, that can serve you immensely in the future.
Imagine seeing someone you know in the newspaper. You open up your contact manager, and looking in the “Description" section, you see that this person loves cheese fries. (You had a conversation about that during the networking event where you met, and you wisely entered this into your Ace of Sales database.)
Clip out that article, and mail it to them with a gift card to Applebee’s, and you will have a solid referral partner for life.
Create an email to reconnect
Everyone in your contact database is a potential referral partner, or a potential client.
Spend some time browsing through your contacts. Look for people who could be stronger contacts. One by one, reconnect with them by sending a personalized email. Here are some ideas:
- Send them a link to an article about their industry.
- Invite them to an upcoming networking or social event.
- Be candid. Ask them what’s new, and offer a phone appointment to catch up.
- Send them a referral. (This one always works.)
Sales and marketing with constant contacts
The easiest way to stay in touch with everyone is to have a weekly or monthly email newsletter.
This reminds everyone on your list of who you are and what you do.
They don’t even have to open up your e-zine; just be seeing your name in their inbox, it counts as a “soft touch." They will see your name, and they will remember who you are, even if it’s only briefly.
This counts big time when someone asks them, “Do you know anybody who...."
If they haven’t heard from you since last December, they might not drop your name.
Stay in regular contact with your network, and get remembered.