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This course is one of a series of five Dave Crenshaw courses based on his Invaluable teaching methodology for professional development.
- Understanding how networking enhances your career
- Getting out of your comfort zone
- Making recurring connections
- Using a customer relationship management (CRM) system
- Building relationships through social networking
Skill Level Intermediate
Before we can build systems for successful recurring connections, we need to understand a few basic principles. When planning repeated contact with people we want to do it properly so we build and strengthen the connections instead of damaging them. There are four principles for effective recurring connections. Principle number one is personalize, people want to feel that they are understood and that they are viewed as an individual. They also want to know that you have their best interests in mind.
So try whenever possible to personalize the messages that you send. A thank you card written by hand is appreciated more than one that was mass-produced because we recognize the personal attention that went into it. Even if you are dealing with thousands of contacts look for ways to segment those contacts so messages you send to them are personalized as much as possible. The next principle I call the three ha's, specifically ha ha, ha and ha ha this funny sounding principle helps you to remember the kinds of messages people want to receive.
The messages that get passed around and shared with others usually fall into one of these three categories. Ha ha stands for a profound principle or inspirational message that enlightens yourself and others. Haa means it is cute or heartwarming such as pictures of fluffy kittens sleeping and ha ha well that's obvious it means that it is a humorous message that makes people laugh. If messages you send to your contacts incorporate one of these three things then you will find people are much more responsive and you will make yourself more memorable.
The third principle is unexpected gift, unexpected time. Well sending a holiday card every year is a nice gesture. It is not as memorable and mildly builds connections with people. You could instead, for example, send someone a card on their anniversary or other significant milestones, the more random you can make it the better. For instance, I once met someone at a networking group who was a Corvette fanatic, I did note of it and sent him a collector's book on Corvettes, years later he contacted me and said he still remembers that gift and it meant a lot to him.
By unexpectedly surprising a contact with your greetings or gifts you'll stand out from the crowd and build a stronger connection. Why? Well it shows a unique thoughtfulness toward that person and that you pay attention to the things that matter most to them. Of course you can't send something to everyone you meet, it's not practical. Instead just be on the lookout for opportunities and do something nice when it feels right. I recommend you set up a monthly budget for these gifts.
This will allow you the freedom to send when you see the need, but keep your expenses, reasonable. The fourth principle deals with tracking your connection. You need a way to see how often you're connecting with people and what kinds of connections you are making. That is why tools such as relationship management programs for CRM's are so helpful. I'll discuss those a bit more in the next video. Use these four principles as you are building your recurring connections systems, and you'll be more likely to build strong connections and get maximum results for your efforts.