Making Connections and Keeping Them

People are inherently social beings. We blog, text, tweet, and share just about everything we may be interested in. Remember when you were younger, you could make friends with just about anyone because you liked their light up sneakers? Or because they had the coolest gel pens (k, maybe that was just me)?  So what happens when you are thrown into making new connections now?

Walking up to someone you do not know is hard, but trying to make a business connection with them is even harder. It doesn’t have to be, though.

Making connections can be difficult. In the business world, you are making connections every day. Whether it be talking to your new customers, talking to your existing customers, or interacting with future customers, you need to make a good first impression. Not only do you need to make connections, but you also need to keep them.

Be genuine.
Try to get to know a person and mean it. Don’t try to sell them anything – this is first about making a connection. Even if your end goal is for them to be your new customer, appeal to them and what they may be interested in.

Get out of your comfort zone.
Go to an event you may not normally go to. Go to an event alone. This forces you to make connections you normally wouldn’t. As scary as it is, going to these events without someone could be a pathway to the success you may need in your business.  

Make a plan.
If you feel like you are bad at making connections with people in your field, ask for help. Look to those that may mentor you, as well as those that are similarly beneficial.

That professor you TA’d for, or the family friend that knows everyone and their sister. These connections are ones to remember. Without even realizing it, you can expand your network

Stand out.
When you try to reconnect with people, or keep the connection, a written card goes a long way. Anyone can send an email, or a LinkedIn invitation, but sending something handwritten will help people remember you.

Use social media.
Connecting with people through social media is easy, but don’t make it creepy. Don’t like and retweet and direct message them all in one day. No spamming. If you want an influencer to become part of your network, it takes time. Respond to relevant topics on twitter, look into what they post about, and engage. These few things can help your favorite person, or celebrity (Justin Bieber) take notice.

Reach out.
Ultimately, there comes a time when you need to take initiative. Sell yourself, but also sell how you could help them by being in their network.

Connections are hard to maintain, but when done right, they can jumpstart your career, or help you towards the right direction. By expanding your network, and keeping connections you have made, you will have a better business and see the benefits in the long run. Although it seems daunting at first, take the first step, and connect.

For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, subscribe to the FreshLime Newsletter here. Connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter.