This week I wrote about the importance of putting together a list of the relationships you want to build or nurture, and yesterday about the many stages of those relationships. But then what? This isn't supposed to be an addition to your to-do list, or a simple reminder to follow up with people.
You Need A Support Tool
Trust is earned over time. What you need is a system to sustainably create value and good experiences with those people. To take someone from stranger to raving fan, you must be thoughtful of what your interactions will consist of.
It turns out that value can take many forms - it can be a link to a relevant article or video, an introduction to someone in your network, an invitation to be interviewed on your blog. We call each of those items assets.
In practice, when consultants sit down to reach out to their selected list of people, they almost always freeze. They spend time researching and brainstorming ways they can add value, instead of actually doing it. This part of the work needs to be systemized just like the rest of the work, so it's easy for you to turn this into a habit.
A great way to do this is by building and maintaining an asset list.
Your Asset List
Your asset list is a list of items you can quickly send to your target contacts to share value and create positive experiences.
Those assets can be anything helpful or interesting to them. Consultants often think that it should be related to your domain expertise, but this is not true. If you know your contact plays tennis as a hobby, you can share a podcast episode where Roger Federer gets interviewed. If they're crazy about health and nutrition, share a book recommendation on the topic.
During your interactions, you should always look for things you both have in common - interests, hobbies, passions. That will help you choose what to share in the future to nurture the relationship.
Categories of your asset list may include:
- People: You can connect your target contacts with other interesting people who work in the same industry or share the same hobbies and passions.
- Ideas: You are an expert, so I bet you have many ideas. These can be tips and tricks with practical value, a framework or methodology to understand a topic, or even a new trend that you've been noticing in the market.
- Books, articles, podcasts: These are always great assets to share when they help the contact learn more about something you've discussed together. Just make sure to be specific about which part or passage is relevant to them in your message, instead of simply sending a link to it.
It doesn't need to be fancy - use a simple spreadsheet to save links to all of these items. What's important is that it's easy to access and scan. You will take a look at it during your weekly review, when you plan your most important tasks for the week.