Mark Richardson, CR, is an author, columnist, and business growth strategist. He authored the best-selling book, How Fit Is Your Business? as well as his latest book, Fit to Grow. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301.275.0208.
When you look at all of the success habits in this series, you realize that very few require above-average intelligence or special skills or any real training to master them. They are primarily about just “doing it.” And if you do anything (whether good or bad) consistently, it becomes automatic and part of your daily routine.
That’s true of “Stay in Touch,” which is one of the easiest success habits to master, but one that few put into practice.
Many years ago I reviewed the best sources of leads and potential client opportunities, and analyzed customer types with the highest close rates. Not surprising I found that the best jobs came from past clients and personal referrals. It seemed obvious that if I could contact these people on a regular basis, I would see better sales results.
My first attempt to develop a process to do this was to make a plan to contact 5 past clients each day. I started by making a list of 5 names for each of the next 30 days, then started making calls. After the first day I was on track; on the second day I slipped a little; by the end of the week, I had fallen off the wagon and given up.
About a month later, I revisited the strategy and decided that if I lowered the bar I could not fail. So my new approach was to contact one past client a day. Once again I mapped out a month’s worth of names and began calling. I not only met my goal, but some great results followed.
All of the past clients I contacted we very appreciative that I had reached out to them. I became top on mind for many that had lost touch. Some had seen our relationship more as a transition, but now it became deeper and more meaningful.
Very few had immediate projects to talk about in that first call. But the flow of opportunities began about 30 days into the process. At day 21, I got a referral from someone I had called on day 5 (it was the first time they had referred me). On day 25, I was asked if we did smaller bath renovation projects by someone who was contacting bath remodelers because they thought we only did big additions. On day 32, I got a call back from someone I had spoken to on day 10 who had thought about another project to do.
Over the next couple of years this “one-a-day vitamin” resulted in millions of dollars in business.
I refer to this as a “habit” because after 30 days it became part of my daily routine. After that I didn’t have to think about doing it, I just did it. And if I missed my “vitamin,” I felt a void in my day.
Staying in touch doesn’t require any special skills or knowledge. You just need to believe that staying in touch with old friends and clients is a good, healthy thing to do … plus a little discipline to do it every day.