A text or call or e-mail breaks a silence from a long lost friend or acquaintance and they want to connect – great! It will be good to catch up. Maybe you spent time together personally, professionally or both, and you envision a fun lunch where you can catch up and chat about old times.
You get to the lunch and you flow into the old act. You comment on that old boss you had, that time so-and-so got away with something or another or which romances have since cooled. You chat about work and the family. Then, unexpectedly, comes the pitch.
I get it. We all have to make a living and we all need help from time to time. Our networks are one of our greatest strengths in our career – specifically when looking to find a new role. Asking for help or advice outright is fine and good. Hiding under the pretense of catching up or talking specifically about something new in my life – maybe less so. And only hearing from someone when they want something from you is the pits.
We are all very busy in life, but we make time for priorities. I won’t claim to be the best at staying in touch with everyone I care about, but I certainly do attempt to make (for lack of a better terminology) regular check-in’s on folks – whether they are on my social media feed and I realize I should check on them, or just sending them a quick text, or just doing what I like to call “continuing the conversation.” We have so many ways to connect in today’s day and age, yet I fear we are getting worse at truly connecting.
Our younger days were so uncomplicated. We’d call or just show up and it would be time to play, ride bikes, do sports. We did not want anything from others but companionship, a feeling of belonging, comradery. As we get older, we get extremely busy with work, family, kids, events, and we prioritize a select group of people and things – let’s face it, we all do. But only reaching out to folks when you want something from them is bad form.
Make time every month or so to just cycle through your texts and your contacts and just reach out. Say hello. Stoke the fire a bit. Because if the only time someone hears from you is when you are asking for favors, the likelihood of response or receipt of said favor is greatly diminished. A warm, connected relationship has a much higher probability of yielding mutual value anyway – and this value can come in the form of friendship, a listening ear, shoulder to cry on or a trusted advisor with advice or career connections. Think about how much time you spend needlessly scrolling through the same social media feed or watching television – or doing something that is disconnected. Use the time to perhaps reach out to a few folks and rekindle the conversation. It’s a two-person dialogue and someone has to start it – why not you?
We can all get better at this. Perhaps some of us are masters at connecting and staying connected with their network. Even if it’s proactively going through and commenting on folks’ social media posts of things that are important to them, being engaging with questions and genuine joy in their joy and grief in their grief, you can stay top of mind and keep the friendship and connection in the forefront rather than back burner.
Carson V. Heady has written a book entitled “Birth of a Salesman” and sequels “The Salesman Against the World” and “A Salesman Forever” which take the unique approach of serving as sales/leadership books inside of novels showing proven sales principles designed to birth you into the top producer you were born to be. If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ICRVMI2/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_yGXKtb0G
Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership. You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving.
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