Staying in touch with friends and clients – or, How do I Get Back In Touch with Someone I Haven’t Spoken to in a Long Time?
This topic strikes fear into the hearts of many who are trying to expand their network and grow their marketing activities. The reasons can be many, but the most obvious one is that when you call someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time you simply don’t know what to say. Back that up one step, and mentally you’re saying to yourself “if I call this person they will immediately know that I’m trying to market myself and be turned off.” This is the same fear you might have trying to do cold call selling. Yet people who do cold call selling get over that fear and become highly successful at calling people and developing business.
How do they do that? We believe there are a few simple tools you can use to be successful in reestablishing dormant relationships.
- Put yourself in their shoes. If someone you haven’t heard from in a long time calls you out the blue and is genuinely interested in you and what you’re doing, does that turn you off? The answer is most likely no. Instead you would likely be flattered. So will the person you’re calling, IF you call with a genuine interest in learning about them and what they’re doing, rather than trying to sell them something.
- Be prepared. Never make a call without rehearsing what you’re going to say. In the book, Rainmaking Made Simple, Chapter 17 deals with the topic “How to Avoid Random Acts of Lunch.” The same principles outlined in that chapter apply to virtually any planned contact with someone else. You just don’t call without knowing what you’re going to say and what you expect from the call. That gets you over the mental stumbling block of “not knowing what to say.” You do know, because you’ve already thought it through. You can even write it down if you’re having trouble convincing yourself to make the call. Telemarketers work from a script and so can you. Sure, they’re annoying because they always call at dinner time, and they are always trying to sell you something. You’re not in that category. You’re calling someone you know, you’re calling them not to sell but to reestablish contact with them. And, your interest in them is genuine, and not based on whether they’ll fall for your spiel. Big difference.
- It’s just networking. Remember, you’re not calling to sell something. That idea has been touched on in 2. above, but it bears repeating. Networking is not about selling, it’s about building and deepening relationships. The best rainmakers are all about relationships. When you’re trying to reestablish a dormant relationship, remember that all you’re doing is working on the relationship. When you keep that uppermost in your thought processes, you’ll find it much easier to make a call to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. One of our coaches makes it a practice to immediately call someone whose name just pops into his head. As an example, if he’s driving along and something triggers a name in his head, instead of thinking “I wonder what old Joe is doing?” he immediately picks up the phone and calls that person and says “I was driving along and your name popped into my head, so I thought I’d call you and see how you’re doing.” It’s just that simple. The pretext for the call is genuine, and flattering. You would be amazed at how relationships flourish when you call people and genuinely can tell them you were simply thinking about them.
- Update your contacts. In the course of the call you want to make sure you update contact information. That way you can maintain contact in the future. The easy way to do this is to ask the other person if you could send them an email and ask them to respond so you can update their contact information. This does two things. It reinforces the call, and it ensures that their contact information is correct. Of course, in your email you tell them how much you enjoyed the conversation, reinforce any points you discussed in the call, and provide them with your up-to-date contact information.
- Keep the momentum going. Try to establish a subsequent contact. Depending on where the other person is located you can suggest meeting for lunch, or drinks to catch up further. If they’re not close enough for that, you could suggest that since it has been so long since you last communicated, if it would be o.k. with them, you’d like to check in with them from time to time so that you don’t lose contact again. As you reestablish a rapport, you can learn more about what they’re doing, and see if there is any way you can provide help to them by referring work their way, or otherwise providing something of value to them. That might not be possible, or even a good idea on the first contact, but you will over time get to the point in the relationship where you feel comfortable doing that and it will add tremendous value to your relationship. That in a nutshell is what networking is all about.
- For other ideas about touching base with dormant contacts, read Chapter 30 of the book, Rainmaking Made Simple. The best advice we can give you is to just do it. If you never make the call, you will never reestablish the relationship. In reality you have nothing to lose by making the call. We predict that it will result in a refreshed relationship, but even if it doesn’t you haven’t lost anything other than a few minutes of your time. Give it a try.
I challenge you to use these simple tools to reconnect with at least one former client today and see if you don’t agree that rainmaking is simple when you keep the focus on relationships, stay genuine and take a few moments to prepare. If you haven’t read Rainmaking Made Simple by Mark Maraia, send me an email at Heidi.Ryan@markmaraia.com and I’ll be more than happy to send you a link to a free, downloadable copy of the book. Also, be sure to check our website at Maraia.com for archived versions of our previous newsletters.
As always, let us know how your rainmaking efforts are going and if we can be of any assistance. Just like your clients, we love to hear from our old friends.