How to Connect — And Reconnect — With Business Contacts
I’ve spent a bunch of time the past several days thinking about ways to reconnect with people who’ve been important to me in various periods of my life. I’ve done a so-so job staying in touch, but the older I get the more important staying in contact feels.
So I did a few things that helped, using services like SentOutCards, LinkedIn and Facebook. Here are the details.
First, I enrolled in a service called SendOutCards, which I heard about from a business colleague. Using SendOutCards, I can send greeting cards (in the mail, not email!) to anyone, from my computer. The cards look hand-written and are very personalized. This week I’ve sent 19 cards including an apology card (a man in a dunce cap on the front) to a client with whom I’d made a big boo-boo; four “nice to meet you” cards to people I’d just met at an event planner conference; about eight cards to college event planners I met at a convention in Pennsylvania last week; two birthday cards to people I’ve never before sent a birthday greeting to; and a mushy one to my wife, for no particular occasion at all. It felt good to send all these cards!
Second, I sent an email out to my contact databases asking for updated information, including birthdays so I can send them a card when the time comes. Unfortunately, I sent a mass “bcc” email to my Google contact list (culled from LinkedIn, Plaxo and Facebook lists) and in return Google has put my email account on ice for 24 hours to make sure I am not a spammer, and insisted that I go to bed without my supper as well. I wish there was one place I could have all my contacts. I’m sure someone has a way to do this…tell me please!
From my mass email, I got about 75 replies within an hour, some from people I haven’t spoken to or heard from in years! They included former co-workers and bosses, a high school friend who I haven’t seen or spoken to in 30 (something) years and several clients and customers who had nice things to say and even some unsolicited referrals (thanks, Morris!).
Finally, in the course of moving all these database names around, I realized there’s only a small crossover between my LinkedIn contacts and my Facebook friends. So I invited all those who are not my friends on Facebook but whom I am connected to on LinkedIn to join me on Facebook, which is a helluva lot more interesting and fun. It was a thrill to reconnect and now be back in touch. Now it’s up to me to keep the connection going.
Have any ideas on how to meaningfully reconnect with people and nuture your network? Please let me know.