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Photo by JP Leddy

It seems like we have driven our business development efforts to such a frenzy to match drive through service at a fast food restaurant or competing with the latest high speed computer processor.  Speed networking ( like dating) have become popular in an effort to meet as many people at once and to filter them out in the shortest period as possible.

The idea is that in minutes or even within seconds you can determine that a person is not the best client or business partner for you.

I challenge that idea.

First it takes time to get to know someone to even begin that kind of filtering process. It really involves effort and quality time spent.  Second, once you do make some sort of significant connection, you need to sustain the relationship.

Photo by JP Leddy

It is the second point that I like to address.

Often times, serious networkers make it to the point of developing some meaningful contacts with business partners but fail to sustain the relationship over time.   It may be because they  have been involved in similar organizations and similar projects together, and those common activities have ended.   It more likely that there has been no structure, organization and planning placed on making sure regular contact is made.

Because active networkers are meeting more and more people, it is crucial that a system of some sort is put into place to track and remind and schedule regular contacts.  There are no magic organizational tools. There are lot to choose from out there. You can use anything from a yellow pad to a detailed database like Salesforce.   The idea is to choose one that fits you and to use it .

It must be reviewed and inputed in twice daily ( at the beginning of the day and the close of the day).  This enables you to do simple planning  that will keep your efforts going and enable to have you put some notes on each relationship that will keep you updated.

Underlying all of this is your own intent.  Like all relationships,  the real fact is that your efforts to sustain your relationships is in direct proportion to your desire to be committed to them.   When you think in those terms, you are thinking deeper than your tools.

Remember these relationships when sustained will drive opportunities for your business for the long term and affect your bottom line.  You neglect them, you neglect your business.  You ultimately neglect yourself.

Besides planning your time with these relationships, think of qualities and attributes of each person that is your business partner that are important to you.  The human qualities of these individuals as they become more visible to you will also increase your commitment to nurture your relationship with them. Write these in your notes as you become aware of them.

Remind yourself about them every time you review that relationship.

Sustaining these business relationships shows you and them that  you value them.   In doing this you are building connections and business for life.

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