Once you have finished a successful venture with a partner, whether it be during the hosting of an event or working together on a sport development project, and constant communication is no longer needed, it can be a challenge to preserve the goodwill generated during the project. Often, this results in contact being lost with the other party until such time as another opportunity presents itself and the relationships is re-established. It can be useful to maintain communication in the background between such instances for a number of reasons. For a start, when another opportunity does present itself, both parties will be more comfortable with each other and able to hit the ground running that little bit faster. Furthermore, by maintaining a small level of contact, one party may be further up the pecking order when new opportunities present themselves. Here are some subtle ways to keep channels of communications open once the project has concluded.
Hint no. 1: Send a thank you note
Taking the time to send a quick thank you card can be very rewarding in the medium term. Unlike emails and phone messages, a card is a physical object that may take up residency on the floor of your contacts office, gently but constantly reminding them of your previous success together. In the digital age, this may seem like a lot of work but a stock of cards and stamps, a template message and a couple of minutes of time a week for signatures is a small investment for making a big impact.
Hint no.2: Invite them to an event
It may make sense to make room in your marketing budget for an annual event such as a dinner, drinks or even something different like a sports day. By inviting clients and business contacts, former and current to such an event, you raise the opportunity of making meaningful and personal contact with them. By making the event a regular one, it gives contacts something to look forward to as well as a point of discussion for your business or your brand.
Hint no. 3: Include them in your social media connections
Don't be afraid to ask contacts to "follow" or "like" you while working on a project. This will ensure that once the relationship is concluded, they will be connected with you and kept abreast of all your business offerings going forward. What's more, this is at little or no effort on their behalf.
Hint no. 4: Let them know that you have heard about them
Most of the time, people like to be recognised for appearances or achievements that they have made. When you come across a contact in the media, don't be afraid to send a short, unilateral message noting how interested you were in hearing about whatever it was they were reported for. It the point of discussion was a success for the contact, congratulate them. Make it short and sweet and the client will associate you positively with success going forward.
Hint no. 5: Introduce contacts that don't know each other
We often introduce personal contacts to one another - putting friends in touch to help each other out. The same should be true in professional relationships. If you feel that one party could help the other out, be sure to make the introduction. Chances are that this will save one or both parties time and money trying to make the connection themselves plus this will keep you in the mind's eye of both parties going forward as someone who can generate new opportunities, regardless of whether that particular introduction bore fruit or not.