In the hustle of your daily work, it’s far too easy to let important networking activities fall by the wayside. It’s even easier to ignore key networking responsibilities when you are isolated at home and justifiably preoccupied with health concerns, family care, and the general state of affairs. But now more than ever, it is crucial to strengthen your relationships with your VIPs.
You only have so much bandwidth to keep up your professional connections, so we recommend aiming for a list of twenty-five to thirty-five names. You may have some idea in your head of where your work comes from, but this list should be based on the data. Look into any new business brought in over the past few years and identify from the numbers who your best referral sources really are.
This doesn’t mean you should give up on those other individuals who may have come to mind, but your VIP list should be pruned every few months to ensure you’re spending your time wisely. A connection that hasn’t been as fruitful lately could still be a great resource if that person has proven willing to help in the past. Your selections will be a combination of your current top referrals and those you can see supporting the future growth of your book of business.
If you’re reading this and thinking you’ll never find the time, recognize that this work is some of the most easily delegated. Someone on your staff can do the legwork of investigating past referrals and tallying these sources. An assistant could also handle the next step of scheduling calls and meetings to follow up with these VIPs. Once you have a system in place for choosing and connecting with your contacts, keeping your networking efforts focused and efficient will become just another part of your routine.
The goal of networking is to acquire new business, so go forward with that aim in mind. Don’t overwhelm yourself considering hundreds of connections when the evidence will point you toward a much smaller core of referral sources. These relationships are invaluable assets to your practice. These are your VIPs, and they should be treated as such.