The minute people are successful - they often switch from in-person business promotion, to indirect promotion, e.g. emails.
Here is a common urban tale:
1. I'm very successful.
2. I'm so busy I barely have time for my family on the weekend.
3. The business orders keep piling in - I need more staff, not time-consuming lunches.
4. I have enough business contacts, I don't need any more.
Here is the problem - clients go out of business, people get serious illnesses, and business practices change overnight.
You have to make time to regularly meet with business contacts and continually work at forming new ones.
Some of the most successful survivors in business have had to reinvent themselves as they survived repeated changes.
Assume that you will have to dramatically reinvent your business and business profile at some point in your career and start planning for it by broadening your base of contacts and staying in touch with people.
You want these business contact relationships to be healthy and vibrant. And you cultivate healthy and vibrant relationships by going for regular business lunches. Be consistent in your profile and business presence.
A solid foundation will support these relationships and contribute to your success in the future. It takes leadership and foresight to recognize the importance of these relationships when you are already under excruciating pressure.
Here are some suggestions to include business relationship maintenance in an already spectacularly busy day:
1. Invite them to be your guest at an event that you are already attending.
2. Send them a CD of music and invite them to join you at the symphony one night, or sports game or other event (people tend to over-emphasize the effectiveness of this business tool).
3. Invite them to join you in holding a workshop together on a common business area.
4. Invite them for a 20 minute coffee near their business location.
5. If you schedule the lunch - go through with it. Even if it is a shorter lunch than expected - attend the lunch. Don't talk about how rushed you are during the lunch - just request that the kitchen put the food on a rush request.
6. Turn your phone off while meeting with them. They are your guest and you have to make them feel welcome.
7. Keep in mind that the purpose of the meeting is to listen to them and to inquire about how they are doing and their current business focus. Emphasis on listening.
8. Instruct your staff to take all significant new potential clients seriously and take the time to meet with them, at their location or yours.
9. When you get back to the office, make some quick notes about how they are doing and their current business focus.
Business is about people. Maintain your leadership and business foundation by taking the time to pencil in some business promotion and in-person relationship maintenance. That's all for now, "Enjoy Your Coffee".
Michael Stanley, 55