You already know that building strong relationships is a basic requirement to grow your consulting firm. Apart from the lack of a clear plan of action, the most common excuse of consultants to neglect their relationships is an obvious one: time.
And let's be clear: if you're running the business, discretionary time shrinks in a direct proportion of how much you're growing. More meetings. More deadlines. More people wanting to get some of your time.
But at the same time, the bigger the responsibility the bigger the importance of your relationships. With your team members. With your clients and prospects. With your partners.
The conclusion is simple: You need quick ways to nurture relationships.
While earning trust will always take time, research and practical experience show that this is possible. Here are the best ways we've found you can deepen a relationship in less than 6 minutes:
- Send a personalized asset: Share a book recommendation, article, podcast, video, or anything else that the person would find interesting. Use an asset list to help you. It doesn't need to be life-changing content - is the thought that counts.
- Offer an introduction: Any connection that helps them is a win. It might be a prospect, one of your vendors or partners, or even potential candidates for them to hire. Check with the person before to make sure they'd value the connection.
- Send an event invitation: Start with the events that you are running, such as webinars, roundtables, and training sessions. If there's nothing on your agenda, think of outside events that you and this person would enjoy attending.
- Share or comment on a post: Most people "like" posts (or add generic comments), but that means your touch will be probably bundled up with others or ignored. A thoughtful response with a share will get you noticed.
- Follow up on something: This is simple - if the person mentioned something last time you talked, ask how it went. Ask how their trip was. Ask if the interview went well. Ask what clients thought of their new product.
- Ask for advice: I've already written about it here, but the idea is to find small ways you can ask for help. Research says that giving is as pleasurable as receiving and that we like people we help.
As part of our training and advisory programs, I have templates and best practices for each one of those tactics. If you're a subscriber and need some inspiration, just drop me a line and I'll gladly send them your way.
The most important thing to keep in mind is to avoid overthinking it. As James Clear said:
"Simple is nearly always better. But if it's going to be complicated, then make sure the problem is worth the complexity. A great deal of time is wasted creating complex solutions to relatively unimportant problems."
The frequency of interactions is one of the top drivers of likability and mindshare. You don't need to spend hours planning every message. If you want to earn trust and stay top of mind, stacking those small actions over time is a far better strategy.
And one you can always implement, even with a busy schedule.