No matter what you do for a living, an active network is critical to your current and future success. That said, it’s very easy to ignore the often simple, tactical things you can do to keep your network engaged and growing.
Here’s a list of ten things to consider doing daily. If ten is too much to start (although this list should take all of 15-20 minutes if you stay focused), start with just 2-4 and expand from there. Each piece incrementally will help, and you’ll be surprised how quickly your investment comes back in the way of opportunities, introductions and more.
- Email three people you haven’t spoken with in some time, just to catch up
- Scan your LinkedIn home page for profile updates, and comment back on 2-3 that are particularly interesting to you
- Use Gist.com to see what your contacts have done, read or published recently
- Send one hand-written thank you or congratulations note to someone
- Return one phone call or email from a sales rep. Make it short, but return the connection. You’d be surprised how often these turn into something more valuable than the pitch.
- Give someone an unsolicited recommendation in LinkedIn
- Scan your blog RSS feed, and forward 1-3 articles to people you think will find them interesting or valuable
- Invite someone to lunch today. You have to eat anyway. If they say no, they’re happy you asked. If they say yes, you get a valuable chance to reconnect.
- Thank someone for the hard work they did yesterday, and copy their manager if sent via email
- Send an unsolicited email to someone you’ve always wanted to meet, asking for a quick phone call or coffee. Do this daily, and I guarantee your response rate will be better than zero.
What would you add to this list?
Matt Heinz is principal at Heinz Marketing, a sales & marketing consulting firm helping businesses increase customers and revenue. Contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.heinzmarketing.com.