from the desk of Ron Sukenick
Last week I blogged about "Find Me If You Can" lingerie, the product that's attracting so much negative attention from feminists. That's because each feminine underwear item is equipped with a GPS device, suggesting a way for jealous males to keep track of the comings and goings of spouses or significant others.
I drew a parallel between the advice offered by Konrad Marshall in an indy.com article about "Find Me If You Can" (guys should work harder at nurturing closeness with their gals, rather than keeping them close via electronic surveillance!) and my own business coaching advice about nurturing relationships with customers, business partners, and networking contacts.
In today's blog I want to back up a step. Before you can keep business relationships, you need a system for attracting relationships in the first place. In fact, the word "system" is key to everything I teach. Remember, developing leads and referrals and seeking out business is called netWORKing for a reason, and any sort of work is smoother and more effective if you've got a system in place.
My favorite analogy for a business system is my toaster. Once I've set the dial, inserted the bread, and pushed down the lever, I can let my toaster do its job. We activate the system when wee're introduced to someone, continue with a followup email, an idea for a meeting, and the meeting itself. Then we thank the new business contact and stay in touch. At each stage, to go beyond traditional networking to true interaction, we keep the attraction by personalizing our listening and our response.
Just as no GPS-equipped lingerie can bring real closeness to a couple, not all the wonderful modern technology available to us for business communication - fax, email, texting, cell phones, videos, conferencing, Twitter, blog, and on and on) can keep business relationships close. Only we can accomplish that, by collaborating with others and creating mutual rewards for staying connected.