Keeping in touch is vital for business-development, but just as importantly it’s about building relationships. It’s worth remembering that we are dealing with fellow human beings. So if we approach them as humans, rather than as mere prospects, we might find more interesting ways to keep in touch than here’s-another-white-paper-I’ve-written.
As I prefer a Top Eleven to a Top Ten, here goes:
1: Ask your prospects open-ended questions, rather than preaching answers. Not just rhetorical ones, but real questions that genuinely invite response. For example, “How do you deal with the problem of….?” Or “What’s the biggest challenge you face with…?”
2: Only write what someone has asked for. Really. (Thanks to Liz for requesting this resource). Most newsletters are a reflection of what people want to write about – rather than want to read.
3: A bit of humour helps. “Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humour to console him for what he is.” (Francis Bacon). Remember in all communication that your prospects would rather deal with you than with an anonymous corporation.
4: Think of specific, useful tips — rather than offering generic advice that nobody can ever use. The latter is a bit like a dog chasing a car; if he caught it, could he drive it? Examples could be top 10 advice, checklists, weekly to-dos, monthly to-dos, that are a detailed reflection of your expertise.
5: Reach out to people for inviting them to contribute to your content as an expert. Being appreciative of their expertise – individually and specifically – is a very human and friendly way to connect. Make sure you have a system for following up, if you do quote them to let them know.
6: Keep it short. (Being Irish, I’m not even trying to model this. It’s rude in our culture 😉)
7: Tell us about your flops as well as your successes. Flops are often far more interesting. How can your flops teach a lesson? How does it point back to your expertise or work? What pitfalls can you therefore save others falling into: such as development programs that cannot be implemented, or security issues that can be prevented?
8: How about some fun calls to actions, other than “sign up for…”? Surely human imagination can do better than this? For example, let me review XYZ for free.
9: Avoid all jargon and TLA’s (Three Letter Abbreviations)
10: Tell us the story that taught you that wonderful approach. Warts and all. We probably remember the story better than the approach.
11: Invite people to a social event. Sure business breakfasts can be good, too… but many of these are rather boring affairs.