Building strong relationships is a crucial part of growing a business. Meaningful connections can lead to new prospects, potential business partners, and genuine friendships. Here are 7 tips to help nurture and sustain your network:
1. Write Thank You Cards | Handwritten cards go a long way when it comes to building relationships. Not only is this nice for the person receiving the card, but it is also very therapeutic for yourself.
2. Include a Headshot in Your Email Signature | This might not be the first thing you think of when trying to build a strong relationship. After attending a networking event, you are introduced to a number of people. Then, when you go to touch base with everyone you met the next day, it is hard to put names with faces. This tactic prevents your new connection from going through this challenge.
3. Make Introductions | Sometimes you meet with a prospect and realize they would not be a good fit for your company because you don’t offer the particular services they are looking for. This is the perfect opportunity to lead them in the right direction and introduce them to someone you know in your network that could help them.
4. Meet in Person | A great way to stay on top of this is to set a meeting goal for yourself. For instance, set a goal to have 3 meetings per week. This can be as simple as meeting for a cup of coffee. It’s always nice to stay connected over email, but you can’t beat the face-to-face interactions with your connections.
5. Be a Good Listener | This is one of the most important parts of building a strong relationship. A lot of relationships have a hard time flourishing when it feels like the other person isn’t paying attention to what you are saying. Be sure to make eye contact and stay focused on the person who is talking.
6. Congratulate Them | If you hear that someone got a new job or promotion, congratulate them! This doesn’t mean you simply “like” the new change on LinkedIn. Send them a personalized message by writing a congratulatory note and inquiring about the change.
7. Send Thoughtful Links | This is a great “network housekeeping” tactic. Have you ever met someone at an event or connected on LinkedIn, and then lost touch with that person? Well, here’s a good strategy to stay in front of those contacts. Perhaps you have written a cool blog post or stumbled across an article they might like. Go ahead and send them the link to let them know you were thinking of them!