Last week we discussed following up on the contacts from the business cards that we have collected. After that initial follow up what do you do over time to keep this relationship solid and help both of you succeed in business? What are the steps that you should take to keep the relationship alive?
I am a birthday admirer. Maybe it’s my age, but I love birthdays. I believe that your birthday is one of the most important days in your life. Why did you stop wanting to celebrate your birthday? Did you have a bad experience, or did someone forget you and you don’t want them to be embarrassed? Having birthdays sure beats the alternative.
If you engage in a networking relationship, ask your partner what their birthday is; don’t ask for the year, just the month and day. Then celebrate their day each year, no matter their age, or yours. Send them a card or buy them a gift, or both. Just let them know that you remember them and their special day. You will make them feel special, and again, it beats the alternative.
If they have a spouse and/or children, you could celebrate those birthdays also. Think how a business associate would feel when their spouse or child receives a birthday card from you. That gesture would help redefine the term “business partner” and never let them forget you. If they cannot remember your name, they cannot recommend you.
How about their anniversary? Maybe they don’t celebrate a wedding anniversary due to losing their spouse, but if they do, sending a card or gift would be a nice gesture. Again, you don’t need the year, just the month and day should be sufficient to remind you. Including their spouse by name would be nice and show how special they are to you.
Of course anniversaries don’t have to just be for marriage. How about a “business marriage”? You should celebrate the date that you began engaging in a business relationship with your customers. Thanking them for letting you “be of service” to them would a nice gesture of appreciation. After all, they put money into your pocket.
In addition, there is the anniversary of their business’s start. Today, staying in business is a cause for celebration, and it is an event that should be noted as an accomplishment. Each year that a business stays in business is special and shows their consistency and validates their method of doing business. Show them that you join them in that celebration, recognizing that your partner is special.
Of course, other events may not be causes for celebration, but may be noticed. I recently was told that I was the only person, outside of family, who noted the passing of a business partner’s pet. I just wanted to show my concern and offer to help in some manner to ease the pain. It was not done to gain anything, but to show my support.
So, what is your plan to develop and maintain those business partnerships that you value? How do you show your networking relationships that you are their partner and friend? Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Maybe we can share some new ideas, or maybe we can help each other be better at what we do. Remember that, if your relationships are neglected they will wither and die no longer bearing fruit for anyone.