Everyday, there are new articles published about the importance of living an active lifestyle. We’ve added swimming, running, walking,hiking, biking, or playing sports to our weekly routines. Likewise, I believe the same attention should be applied toward maintaining our relationships within our networks on a regular basis. Our individual networks are a highly valuable resource for growing our businesses; but just like any physical activity, it needs to be maintained in order to be beneficial.
Consider this: in addition to your weekly swims, runs, walks, or bike rides, what are you doing to stay active with your network?
Here’s a list of ways to stay socially active with your connections:
1. Prospect through LinkedIn. Set a goal to send 6-8 messages a week to people within your LinkedIn network. This is your opportunity to touch base with current connections and to add new ones. Give this plan a try:
- Send two (2) messages to warm connections. These are people within your network who you have interacted with in the last 3-6 months.
- Send three (3) messages to cold connections. These are people within your network who you have interacted with in the last 9-12 months.
- Send three (3) messages to new connections. Think about the new people you have met recently and invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn.
2. Schedule three (3) phone calls a week to touch base with your connections. Most people have at least 15 minutes a day to catch up with you. Use those calls to hear about what they are doing and see how you may be able to work together.
3. Have coffee with three (3) people each month. Sit down with someone new. Getting to know someone in person creates a stronger first impression and lasting relationship rather than simply exchanging emails. Share current projects, new ideas, and listen for ways that you may be mutually beneficial.
4. Have breakfast or lunch with (3) people each month. Is there someone in your network that you’ve wanted to discuss a new business opportunity? Sitting down for a meal gives you both more time to catch up and to talk about business.
5. Share a piece of news. Maybe you see an article that mentions someone you know or it reminds you of him or her. Send a quick note to share the article as a way to reconnect with them.