14 Ways To Build Quality Professional Relationships
Did you know it takes 12 months for an attorney to convert a new contact to a paying client? Literally. From the day they exchange business cards to the first retainer, a year has gone by. Whether you're selling sophisticated equipment or in-demand services, there's a process to courting and staying top-of-mind for when that customer needs you most. If you're an employee that's keeping an eye open for future opportunities inside your company, or looking for something new in the marketplace, the following all applies. To stay "top-of-mind" for new projects from your supervisors or to stay top of the list for new jobs that hit a recruiter's desk means you've got some work to do.
Here are some tips to help you stay connected to those you may need most.
Keep a good calendar.
I don't just mean be on time for meetings and keep busy with coffee and lunch dates. You should be aware of the holidays that don't always show up on your wall calendar. Perhaps your boss is a regular volunteer at the city park. Why not send her/him a note about Earth Day this year (it's April 22nd btw). Organize a volunteer day together or just send a funny Earth Day e-card. Here is a handy calendar list of important commemorative months and here is a list of international days of observance that should be on your calendar. Some aren't as popularized as others, but all make for interesting and quality idea sharing.
A few other activities that keep you top-of-mind in a thoughtful way:
Remember their birthday
Send them interesting and relevant articles
Refer good books
Schedule coffee/lunch/drinks twice a year
Get connected on LinkedIn
Tell them when you've accomplished something significant
Learn their personal interests so you can ask casually about them later
Invite them to cool events (bonus if it's FREE)
Co-host an event
Join a board together
Add them to your holiday card list and send it timely
If appropriate, think of thoughtful gifts they would be happy to receive
Go to conferences and plan to meet up
No matter the context, staying in contact takes intention and is plenty of work. This work does pay dividends however, if done correctly. 2-4 times a year of "touches" like the ones above are enough to keep a professional relationship going. Be sure to gauge the feedback you receive over time and fall back if your target is less than appreciative. Your efforts matter too and you shouldn't waste them on people that don't have your best interests at heart.
Hi! I'm Tiffany Yarde, author of "How to Wine With Your Boss." I've got tons of opinions on humanity, economics, upward mobility, and good wine. Like what you've read? Please share on social media!