Build Relationships Now To Reap Benefits All Year

It’s nearing the end of the first month of the last quarter of the year – which means the next 2 months should be focused on getting your business ready for next year. Let’s face it – there are a lot of holidays coming up and people check out this time of year.

But that doesn’t mean you get off the hook with being strategic about your business. Over the last 10 months, you’ve worked on relationships in your business: with clients, with affiliate and joint venture partners, with influencers, with vendors… all of these relationships help your business grow.

And now is the perfect time to give those relationships a kick in the pants moving into next year. You have a built-in excuse to reach out and connect with people on a personal level that you don’t get at any other time of the year.

Yes, I’m talking about “the holidays.”

Now, I’m not talking about heading to Neiman Marcus and buying all of your customers a sweater. But I am saying that a little bit of thought and effort can go a long way to bringing you closer to people who can help you succeed. (And, of course, spreading a little joy is the name of the game this time of year!)

So here are some rules for this:

1. Keep It Personal

A handwritten note will go a long way, especially in the age where everyone is sending e-cards. (Protip: Don’t send an e-card.)

If you’re going to choose a gift or card for someone, make it personal. Sending the same ol’ pre-printed generic company Christmas card to everyone on your list sure might be easy, but it doesn’t have the oomph behind it that a personal note with a thoughtful box of treats does.

2. Keep It Simple

It can be really tempting to take what I said in #1 and spend the next 2 months scouring the globe for the perfect gift for each of your clients. But that’s not the best use of your time and won’t bring you the ROI on your time.  If you’re going to send a gift to a segment of your list, choose something that’s widely appreciated and send the same thing to everyone on that list. Business books, chocolates or cookies, or a nice mug with tea makes a great gift that everyone is sure to be thankful for.

3. Keep It A Gift

This is not the opportunity for self-promotion here! If you’ve written a book, this is not the time to up your sales numbers by purchasing one for everyone you’ve ever met and sending it as a “gift.” This is not the time to send a coffee mug emblazoned with nothing but your corporate logo (who else sends these straight to the Goodwill when the mug cupboard gets full?). This is the time to choose something thoughtful and decidedly non self-promoy.

4. Keep It Segmented

Just like you don’t spend the same amount of money on everyone you see at Holiday parties (your kids get a MUCH bigger budget than Great-Aunt Erma that you’ve only ever seen once a year at the family party, don’t they?), different relationships within your business warrant a different level of spending and forethought.

Don’t feel like you have to spend the same amount of money on everyone on your list. It’s totally okay to assess the relationship and decide what your best course of action is.

After all, assessing the relationships and choosing which ones you want to take into 2017 is the point of this exercise – even though you’ll be spreading joy while you do it. 🙂

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