That is exactly what happens through the powerful strategies of connecting to the right people for the right reasons. I am convinced that with the power of connection, nearly anything is possible.
Professionally, you can start today to grow your ties and strengthen them but it needs to be through a mindful approach. Mindful means that it is thought out, and planned for.
Most people know how to identify prospective customers or clients and they track them in a CRM system with next actions set. (Note: if you are NOT doing this, start immediately. There has never been a better time to find simple and even free tools to capture your prospective customers and all your connections)
Most people do not capture and track a list of people who could be considered strategic referral partners – those who like you and champion you and your business.
Additionally, few business professionals regularly seek out strategic referrers – they are busy looking for one customer here, and another customer there.
You can download our handy Winning Teammates e-book, free download click here, on growing your network in a planned manner, using a methodology of knowing who your referrers are and staying on top of those relationships.
Imagine that sales team I mentioned earlier. These are charismatic folks who turn up somewhere in the world that know and like you, plus they trust that you do quality work, and will do what you say They refer you to others. These people are the ones that you refer on an ongoing basis too.
No Dues Required
The best part is that instead of belonging to many leads or networking groups, you can do this from your desk, on your schedule, and on your own terms. The challenge though is that you need to incorporate a methodology for doing it, along with a process and on a regular schedule.
Begin by creating three lists that you should always be working off of to develop your business. This means that in your CRM system, you have tagged them so that at any time you can pull up a list of any of these three groups. By doing just this one activity, and regularly printing out or viewing on-screen your three groups, you will have more presence of mind about them and you will undoubtedly engage with them more frequently.
Prospects – always track your prospective buyers and set next actions with all of them.
Current and Past Customers – those who have done business with you or are currently doing business with you are great sources for more business and for referral business. Nurture this list and even when you and your customer are not trading dollars for services, consider them a customer and keep in touch.
Strategic Referral Partners – this is the third list you need to start keeping. I know that you know people who have referred business in the past, but what I’m asking you to do is be mindful and keep an actual list of referrers and champions of yours so that you can connect with them on an ongoing basis.
Use online and social tools to connect, such as through LinkedIn and Twitter. Don't stop with social tools, though. Send an occasional handwritten note or give a quick call. Always ask what you can do for them, and then do it.
Some of the things I do with my lists are:
Look for social activity of those on my lists through Hootsuite.
Write 3 handwritten notes per week - at least one to someone in each list.
When I see something they have promoted in Google+ or on LinkedIn or Twitter, I'll often "plus" it or like it or forward it on.
I call my contacts - you should too. It is amazing what a 2 minute phone call can do for a relationship - especially if you are calling to ask how someone is doing and to see if there is anything you can do for them.
I wrote a review of Porter Gale's new book Your Network is Your Net Worth and highly recommend that book for more on the power of connection.
Begin a planned method of connecting to your three lists, and I promise if you do it consistently, amazing doors will open and opportunities will appear.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I've been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.
Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2013" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management for 2013". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.