How to Nurture Personal Relationships at Scale
You’d think that it would be easier than ever to build personal relationships thanks to the technology that’s made our world much smaller.
It’s true that our gadgets allow us to stay connected. But all of this technology is also overloading us. In today’s fast-paced world,it can seem harder than ever to stay in touch with people.
Personal relationships are critical to professional success. If you want to be successful, you need to network with people to grow your business.
Everyone is busy, so this is easier said than done. People aren’t trying to lose contact with you intentionally; they just don’t have time to nurture relationships (or they simply think they don’t have enough time).
If you want to develop strong personal relationships at scale, you need to take the lead. Don’t expect your business contacts to proactively reach out to you regularly — chances are they won’t. But the ball is in your court. Taking a few minutes every so often to express and cultivate a connection will serve you well in the long term.
Use a Combination of Mediums
In order to build strong personal relationships, get in the habit of communicating with individuals through a number of different mediums.
For starters, if you want to talk with someone, you have to be on the platform they’re on. For example, if a business partner is always on Google Hangouts you had better open up a Gmail account. That way, you can shoot quick instant messages to the individual every so often to stay in touch.
To reinforce relationships, give your contacts an occasional buzz; cold call them if you have to. Let them know you’re just trying to check in and see what’s up. When possible, use a news story or current event as a launch pad for a conversation. For example, if you remember that one of your business partners is a huge Yankees fan, give that person a call when the team makes a big free-agent signing.
Technology has more or less killed the art of handwritten letters. One of the best ways to keep in touch is to take some time to write personal notes. Because no one sends letters through the mail anymore, the recipient is sure to take note of your efforts.
Prove That You’re Paying Attention
When you’re communicating with your colleagues and business contacts, it’s imperative that you let those people know that yes, you’re paying attention to what they’re saying.
You can call someone on their wedding anniversary or child’s graduation. Know a business contact who has the same political ideology as you? Give him or her a call when a major story about the election breaks so you can either celebrate or commiserate, thereby strengthening your bond.
If you don’t know your contact on a personal level and your relationship is purely business, you can comment on the state of the industry or their company’s situation. Consider setting up alerts that will automatically notify you when your contacts’ companies send out press releases. It provides a natural segue into conversation.
Don’t Always Try to Sell
While you should proactively nurture your professional relationships, don’t be the guy or gal who uses every single opportunity to pitch a product or service.
There’s a time and a place for selling. It definitely doesn’t overlap with the time you need to spend nurturing relationships.
To develop strong relationships, you need to set aside specific times to simply check in with your clients. You can mention business successes in passing if you must. But no one wants to be constantly asked to open their wallet.
Despite advances in technology, staying in touch with people is more difficult than ever — but it’s not impossible. You just need to develop a strategy and stick to it. Your contacts will certainly notice your extra efforts.