Probably the biggest waste of time I see lawyers, accountants and consultants do with their business development, is network without a clear purpose or strategy. It isn’t helped by many firms asking their people to sub in for another person at the drop of a hat. Having a personal networking strategy that you can use to guide you with your networking activity is probably one of the biggest ways of saving business development time. In friday’s blog we looked at setting your networking goals, and thursday’s blog post we looked at the 5 stages in creating an effective networking strategy. In monday’s blog post, we looked at how to audit your current network and networking activities for effectiveness. In tuesday’s blog post, we looked at how to decide where to ‘find’ the right people to have in your network. In yesterday’s blog post, we looked at how to build the right relationships in your network. In today’s blog post (the last part in this series) we are now going to look at, how to maintain your relationships within your network. Think back to your friends at school. How many of them are you still in contact with? Now those that you have lost contact with, do you feel able to pick up the phone and speak with them? I’m guessing not. So, what has made the difference with your friends from school who you feel able to still pick up the phone and talk to? Yes, regular communication. Without regular communication, your relationships will slip back and lose their usefulness. Therefore, a key part of your networking strategy needs to be how you will keep in touch with your network. Here are some ideas of how to stay in touch with your network:
- Make sure you are connected to them via LinkedIn and Twitter.
- Put all your key contacts into a list on Twitter which you regularly check and converse with
- Regularly go into LinkedIn and ‘like’ or ‘comment’ on your network’s updates
- Give your network the chance to converse with you online by being active and asking engaging questions
- Find out what your key contacts are interested in and regularly send them articles which they will find valuable
- Send physical birthday and christmas cards (the physical is key here)
Those are just ideas. “What will you do to keep in touch with your network?” “Who will you also keep in touch with in your network?” To help you build your own networking strategy and save time with your business development, how about downloading our free joined up networking tool kit and our free guide to building your own personal networking strategy? This has been the last part of our blog series on writing a networking strategy. One final piece of advice. Having a networking strategy is one thing, but actively implementing is what will take it from being a concept into something which helps you build your client portfolio or achieve other networking goals. Therefore, read through what you have written and scribbled down when reading through these blog posts, and write down the following, and use it as the basis for your networking plan: What you will do daily, weekly and monthly to implement your networking strategy? Building a networking strategy – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6. [sc name=NetworkingPlan]