Over time, your consulting firm’s network can dwindle as you lose touch with ex-clients and fail to maintain other contacts. Fortunately, there’s an easy method to reawaken dormant relationships and enrich your pool of potential consulting clients.
Remember Yuri? Sure you do. He was a client of yours, and even though you haven’t chatted in a few years it’s hard to forget someone who chomps on a chocolate cigar all day like a mashup of Churchill and Willy Wonka.
Your consulting firm’s network is probably loaded with folks like Yuri—connections you’ve let drift away. It happens.
As you focus on current clients and your hottest prospects, warm contacts cool.
You become hesitant to reach out because you have nothing new to say and the communication gap yawns awkwardly. The months keep flying by, and in no time a year or more has passed since your last interaction with most of the people you’ve met and chatted with.
These are cool contacts. Not cold contacts–i.e., people you’ve never met and who wouldn’t recognize your consulting firm. Not warm contacts—i.e., people you’ve connected with recently. And also not hot contacts–i.e., current clients and people with whom you’re actively engaged in conversation.
Cool contacts are a largely untapped source of high-potential prospects for your consulting firm.
Fortunately, cool contacts require only a little sprinkling of attention to bring them back to life, even after a long period of dormancy.
We have found one, simple method that rekindles relationships with your consulting firm’s cool contacts that is easy, fast, and extremely effective:
The 1:1:1 Message
An email or LinkedIn outreach that painlessly reconnects you to cool contacts and sets the stage to re-engage in conversation. The structure is:
One focus: Them. (Yes, this is a Right-Side Up technique.)
One line: Easy to write, easy to read.
One question: An easy-to-respond-to query that prompts engagement.
A few examples of the 1:1:1 message in email form:
Subject: You Still in Boston?
Waaaaay too long since we’ve caught up. Are you still living in the Boston area?
Subject: Chocolate Cigars
Seems like forever since we’ve talked. What’s that brand of chocolate cigars you like?
Subject: Does this email address still work?
Does this email address still work for you?
The 1:1:1 message requires less than a minute to compose and each batch of 1:1:1 messages you send will typically generate a 50-80% response rate.
After Yuri responds, you invite him to connect for 15 minutes on the phone. Since he’s already made the decision to respond to you, he’s likely to agree to a new conversation. (The power of internal consistency.)
Chocaboom! Your cool contact is now warm and you have the possibility of discovering a latent project opportunity.
Important Usage Notes
- Make your question easy to answer. Responding to “How are you?” or “What have you been up to?” demands too much effort and will dramatically reduce your success rate.
- Remember the goal of the 1:1:1 message: reestablish a relationship and engage in a live conversation. That’s it. You’re not trying to sell.
- Once you’re in dialog with Yuri, an opportunity to work together may arise, but don’t force it. That’s a good way to burn the relationship you’re trying to warm up.
Write 5-10 1:1:1 messages every week, and in no-time your consulting firm’s network will be bursting with lively conversations and new project opportunities.
Text and images are © 2024 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.