If not now, when? If you are like me, every December you Christmas cards to friends near and far. If this isn’t you, there are hundreds of contacts on your phone. If you are a member of your family were recently married, you have a wedding guest list. Now is an ideal time to “Reach out and touch someone” as the circa 1979 AT&T jingle proclaimed. It’s kind and thoughtful. It can be good for business too.
The plan is simple. You know how to reach these people via social media, phone, e-mail or text. While under stay at home instruction, build a few lists and start making calls or sending messages. It can be simple: “Its been awhile since we’ve been in touch. Wanted to make sure you are OK. We are fine...”
1. Its compassionate. We are living through a pandemic where many people are getting sick. Some are dying. By now, it’s touched your social circle. You are proactively reaching out to your extended circle of family and friends.
2. Who could possibly be offended? The underlying message is: “You are someone I care about.” Even if it’s an old connection, they should at least admire you for making the effort.
3. Increase communication frequency. Maybe it is an annual Christmas card. Now you’ve made it two contacts during the year. Unlike a card, this is a two-way exchange.
4. You will learn things. They will bring you up to date. This includes marriages and births. Maybe they retired.
5. Can you help on a personal level? There’s something they need but can’t find in the stores. Have you seen it? Can you get it to them, staying within the rules for social distancing?
6. They will ask your professional opinion. They know you work in financial services. They will wonder “Should I get into the market?” They will have questions about the economy. This can lead to a business conversation.
7. They will ask business questions. “I’m glad you called.” They are retiring. The need advice. They have an advisor, but aren’t getting good service. They are looking for someone. People do business with people they like.
8. Let’s get together. OK, not now. When the restrictions are loosened, maybe you can breathe new life into the relationship.
9. It’s not “one and done.” Some people didn’t respond. OK, you made the effort. Some might have been curt: “We’re fine, but I can’t talk now. I’ll call you back.” They never do. For these people, “one and done” is fine. Others were thrilled to hear from you. Reach out again after four weeks. Are things still going OK?
It's taken some time. You’ve done your good deed. You’ve let them know they are important. You’ve raised your profile, personally and professionally. Where could that lead?