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Personal Contact Gets Results

One of my clients (let's call him John) was telling me how he wanted to do more work with a particular colleague of his (let's call him Ben), but the colleague had been unresponsive to the several emails John had sent relaying this desire. When I asked John whether he had walked down the hall (no, I am not kidding) to Ben’s office and actually talked with him about this issue, John stared at me blankly. He really hadn't thought of it.

This is an interesting reflection of the downside of technology. These two people work within yards of each other, yet the idea of having a face-to-face conversation apparently did not occur to John. Or if it did, he rejected it. My guess is that's because face to face conversations appear on the surface to be more risky than emails. This is not true. Emails do not convey passion, emotion, or intent well. The risk of their being misinterpreted or deleted before being read is high. Business development is not difficult. It is not complicated. It relies mainly on plain old common sense. In John's case, our common sense would tell us that if we want someone to do something for us, we have to plead our case in person. As most of you know, my premise is that business development is based on three things: finding, creating, and sustaining relationships. If John wants to sustain his relationship with Ben, he needs to walk down hall to do so. Email just won't cut it.

The same notion applies to clients and referral sources. If you want more business from them, you need to sustain the relationship. The very best way to do that is in person. Stop by their office. Take them to lunch. Deliver work product personally when you can. Do everything reasonable to let them know they are on your mind and that you view the relationship as important. And do it face to face. You might be surprised at the results.

© Melinda Guillemette 2009