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I was working with a new client last week on a keeping in touch strategy for him, his team members and his existing clients and referrers. As we talked through his current networking practices – which he did very well – it became apparent that with a little more structure he could increase the effectiveness of his networking significantly.

One of the areas we identified was putting in place relationship plans for his key introducers. However, before you write a relationship plan, it is worth taking a step back and thinking about who you want to stay in touch with. I’ve previously talked about A, B and C-listers. (See tip: 89 look after your A-listers and also talked about when does a contact become a genuine connection) However, you may have a different categorisation of people that you want to use. My client used ‘inner circle’, ‘middle circle’ and ‘outer circle’ to categorise his firms of introducers.

We spent a reasonable portion of time then identifying firstly what these categories meant, and who was actually in the categories. This was not a quick exercise, as it involved me asking all sorts of difficult questions, trying to drill down criteria for each part of his ‘circle’. For example, for a firm to be ‘inner circle’, he needed to know two partners within the three areas of a law firm who could provide him with referrals.

Similar to a dentist trip, once the painful bit is actually completed, it then becomes much easier to get on with things. It’s the same with relationship planning. When you know what you mean by your categories, it then become very clear about who you want in what category and the work you need to do to get them there. You are now ready to write a relationship plan.

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What goes in your relationship plan may be slightly different, but it will include the following:

  • Their name and contact details
  • Key objectives for the relationship
  • Action points for the relationship
  • What their goals, priorities are for their role or for their business
  • What challenges do they face in their current role
  • What they like to do outside of work
  • What are their hobbies, interests, favourite sporting teams
  • Idea of frequency of contact and by which medium

What do you have in your relationship plans?