[A Five-Part Series on Building Relationships to Build Business and Community]

In Part 1 of the BRAVE series, BOLDLY and STRATEGICALLY CONNECT, readers discovered that your ideal clients and colleagues are waiting for you to connect, there are many places you can serve your community so you can expand your reach and last, you can build your own community. Part 2 of the BRAVE series, REACH OUT REGULARLY is about creating a plan to keep in touch with all of the amazing people you will meet.

Part 2 of 5

Virtual Coffee

Research shows that it takes nine “touches” (points of contact like emails, blogs, calls, meetings, etc.) for someone to become interested in working with you the first time – and probably something like that for re-engaging with you. These touches can include an introductory email, a follow-up call, a coffee, another call (perhaps virtually), emailing information, sending a book recommendation, connecting on social media, etc. In our fast-paced world of email, text, instant messaging and social media, our attention is being pulled in many different directions. How can we connect in meaningful and memorable ways? By spending quality time, in person or online, with potential colleagues, referral partners and clients.

How much quality time and how to spend the time wisely? A University of Kansas study[1] found that it takes 50 hours of quality time together to make a friend, 50 hours to go from acquaintance to friend, 90 hours to go from friend to good friend and 200 hours to go from good friend to bestie. You can apply this point of reference to how you spend time with those you want to connect with intently and joyously. Three things you can consider are how to show up regularly for the relationships you want to nurture, show appreciation and follow the thread.

There You Are!

Your first step is to show up where those you want to meet spend their time. If your future colleagues are on LinkedIn, make sure your profile, picture and testimonials are fresh and inspiring. Take the time to comment on others’ wins and good news. If your colleagues are on Instagram or Facebook, make sure to actively post relevant material for them to see. Create memorable articles that you send out on a regular basis. Other ways to connect include:

  • Writing blogs about trends and important ways your audience can grow.
  • Remembering where you left off and jot down notes in your CRM (customer relationship management) software or spreadsheet so you remember details such as what the person is working on, triumphs, struggles, etc.) for when you next talk to this person.
  • Meeting for coffee, meals, happy hour, etc. This can be done virtually, too.

I Appreciate You

For those of you who have referral partners and clients you’ve engaged with, take the time to show them how much you appreciate them. Send notes during the holidays and special occasions. Make your client gifts special and relevant to them. Tell them why they are your perfect clients and what you appreciate about them.

When you meet that person, whether in the same room or virtually, ask coaching questions to discover what is important to them. It can be part of your process with connecting and reconnecting with anyone. These can include asking them:

  • “What you are working on?”
  • “What inspires you in your work, and what would success look like for you?”
  • “What advice or resources are you looking for?”
  • “Who would be a perfect introduction for you?

We’re All Connected: Follow the Thread

Some of the best connections I’ve made have been when I followed the thread. For example, I found and hired a website designer this way: My friend Scott introduced me to Sheri, who introduced me to Liz, who introduced me to Juliet. Four connections to find success. Along the way, I helped the others I met either by making great connections or sharing resources.

Your Next Steps

  1. Make a list of key clients you’ve worked with. If your business is new, make a list of contacts that have seen your great work, in any field you were in. Make a plan to connect for a virtual coffee or chat.
  2. Write a list of questions to ask your connections to better understand what they are proud of, what they are working on and how you can help them.
  3. Decide on one or two ways you can keep in touch regularly with all your contacts. Examples are blogs, writing on LinkedIn and hosting events, virtual or otherwise.

[1] Retrieved on January 21, 2020 from: https://phys.org/news/2018-03-reveals-hours-friend.html