Even if you don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s Day, building and maintaining relationships in your work life is vital throughout the year.
It’s Relationship Week, with Galentine’s Day Wednesday and Valentine’s Day on Thursday. (Galentine’s Day, in case you haven’t yet heard of it, is a day when women celebrate their female friendships.)
As businesspeople, relationships matter to us, too, whether we’re talking about those we have with our employees, customers, colleagues, or neighbors.
To build and maintain your connections with these different groups, make an intentional plan to reach out to each person on a regular basis.
Here are a few ideas to get you started. Adapt them to suit your business, your personality, and your contacts.
- Praise them with personalized notes.
- Reward them with a small, non-occasion gift, like a coffeeshop gift card.
- Take them to lunch every month for a one-on-one conversation, where you don’t talk about work.
- Hold monthly or quarterly customer-appreciation events.
- Mail hand-signed cards to your top customers for their birthdays, anniversaries, or other special occasion.
- Set up a loyalty program.
- Offer sneak previews of your new products and ask for their feedback and input.
- Attend networking events monthly and try to reconnect with people but also to meet at least one new person each time.
- Make referrals to them without expectation of an immediate reciprocation.
- Send them links to relevant articles.
- Write endorsements for them on LinkedIn or another third-party site.
- Support their charitable interests through attendance and/or a donation to their raffle.
- Co-host a block party or other customer event.
- Co-market via advertising, customer referrals, or even a neighborhood association or other long-term collaboration.
- Stop in and say hello or schedule coffee or lunch dates.
In our increasing digital world, personal interaction means goes so much farther when it comes to establishing and growing your business relationships. If you have other ideas that have worked for you, please share them in the comments below!