August 31, 2015

How to Warm Up Cold Networking Contacts

TalkingToday’s question comes from a busy professional:

When you’ve let your relationships with some of the people in your professional network go cold — no contact for several months or more — how do you get back in touch and rebuild those relationships?

Whether you are in the corporate environment or own your own business, you know how important business networking is for your advancement and growth. But often, life gets in the way, and we lose contact with some potentially important people in our careers.

So, what’s the best way to reconnect?

One of the best ways is to show interest in what a contact is currently doing and/or what a contact currently needs. Just reach out with no agenda or motive other than to catch up with them. Don’t spend any time trying to sell them anything — just find out what’s going on with them.

How Can You Avoid Looking Like You’re Just Getting Back in Touch Because You Need Something?

You should always warm up your cold networking contacts before you need something.  Take them out to lunch or introduce them to a possible new client for their business. Send them an article or tool that they could use. If you’re reaching out just because you need something, your contacts will recognize that — and they won’t be too happy.

Should You Focus on Building Relationships With Existing Contacts, or Set Out to Make New Ones?

Of course, the answer is “all of the above.”

Sometimes, you can even combine the two. For example, say you met a new contact the other day who happens to know an old contact. Send a quick message to your old contact, something like: “I ran into a mutual friend of ours other day. This reminded me that you and I haven’t spoken in quite some time. I would like to get the three of us together for a catch-up gathering on Saturday, if possible.”

If you accept the blame for the lack of contact, most people will not be annoyed. They usually understand that communication is a two-way street. If they have been good at contacting you, but you have been ignoring them — then that’s going to be harder to repair.

How to Keep Your Network Revved Up

ComputersWell, the best way is to not let your relationships go cold in the first place. To avoid such a scenario, you should regularly block out time on your calendar to keep in touch with your business leads, mentors, and other contacts.

By regularly communicating with your contacts, you’ll show them that you’re not just interested in using them for your own advantage. You’ll also be able to help them out when they need you. All of this sets the stage so that, when you do need a contact’s help, they’ll likely be very happy to oblige.

Networking is matter of mutual benefit. You scratch their backs, and they’ll scratch yours. Don’t let your contacts go cold. Remember: they’re not just business associates — they’re people.

For more information on everything discussed here, feel free to reach out to Laura: [email protected]

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Laura Lee Rose is a speaker and author. She is an expert in time and project management. Through her business coaching practice, she helps busy professionals and entrepreneurs create effective systems so that they can comfortably delegate to others, be more profitable, and have time to enjoy life, even if they don’t have time to learn new technology or train their staff.  She has a knack for turning big ideas into on-time and profitable projects.

If you are ready to transform your business from a 'business you need to support' into a 'business that supports you,' contact Laura at [email protected]