The most successful consultants I know have frantically "systemized" their existing network and relationships.
You probably frowned as you read the word systemized. People picture themselves as robots, whose goal is to turn all of their relationships into transactions. But this couldn't be further from the truth.
A system doesn't need to be cold and automated. What we want from one is simply to increase efficiency, clarity, consistency, control. It turns out that a systemized network is easier to be nurtured, and doing that leads to deeper and healthier relationships.
This activity is key to building a strong marketing strategy and will allow you to increase your visibility and consistently generate opportunities at a relatively low cost. It's not a surprise I aggressively promote this practice among clients and friends. When done right it has virtually no downside, and it works:
- You have an updated database of current and previous clients, prospects, collaborators, friends, and centers of influence in your space.
- You can quickly find and activate this network to cross-introduce contacts, invite them to join your trust-building initiatives, and explore opportunities.
- You consistently stay top-of-mind by sharing your unique content, the latest trends and insights in their space, and learnings from recent projects.
But if you're like most consultants out there, you don't do any of these.
When things get busy we tend to focus on delivery and end up neglecting relationships. Contacts that are an important source of joy and business don't hear from us for months. We stop meeting new interesting people, and our energy level drops.
As always, this is a consequence of our self-centered behavior. When we put ourselves first, we don't see how directing our energy and attention to those we know also benefit us in the future.
Take some time to review your priorities. Put relationships first. Profit and enjoyment will follow.
Here are some questions for you:
- What needs to happen for you to start prioritizing your existing relationships?
- What can you do to better nurture them?
- Who can help you make it happen?