How to Turn OLD Contacts into CONNECTIONS

Contacts Instead of Connections?

Do you feel like you've got LOTS of contacts but very few good connections?

You're not alone.

Many people do a good job of collecting business cards (and maybe a decent job with their follow-up), but when contacts go dormant or unresponsive, many times we just let them go and forget about them.

Today we're going to show you how to take those contacts in your database or in that shoe box full of business cards and turn them into CONNECTIONS that will help you grow and move your business forward!

Before we hop in we're going to make one simple assumption.  We're going to assume that when you meet people at networking events and social engagements that you actually have some form of system for follow-up in order to start to get to know them and build those relationships.

Pro Tip

Although this post is talking about reaching back for disengaged contacts, always remember that your best defense to keep contacts from going cold is a good offense comprised of a consistent follow-up strategy.  When you meet someone that has the potential of being a good, strategic alliance for your business (and you for them), be sure to keep in regular touch and continue to send value their way in the form of information, other contacts/referrals, liking and commenting on their professional posts, etc.  Give first, and your relationships will naturally grow!

We also want to be sure NOT to ignore the importance of continuing to grow your contact list and continuing to grow your connections through networking events, social engagements, and your associated follow-up.

But even with the greatest follow up system there are going to be some contacts that just drop off or don't engage or fall into this black hole of contacts, and you just typically don't get around to circling back with those.

Mine Your List

The first thing you want to do is mine your list.  Go through your database.  Go through that shoe box of business cards.  Find those people that are great strategic business alliances for you.  They're in the right industries and could be a mutually beneficial connection.

Next put them in broad categories like:

Referral Partner
Other Strategic Alliance

Remember the Context of Your Introduction

Next, tap into your memory bank as best you can and remember where you met them and possibly what you talked about.  Find some commonality.  Look at their social media and find something you have in common, and then use that as a basis by which to reach back out.

You might be thinking "well evidently they don't want to hear from me.  I'll just wait and they'll get in touch with me if they want."

Well you have two choices:

  1. You can continue to wait for them to reach back out to you, which they probably won't...

  2. You can proactively reach back out and possibly make a connection or two or four or five that will be very beneficial to both your business and their business.


Now it's time to reengage.

So call them on the phone.
Send them a text.
Send them a personal email (not a form email).
You can use messenger.

Re-engage with some type of VALUE.

Maybe you send them a referral or a contact that you think they might like to meet.  Ask how their business is doing.  Maybe send them a blog post that's relevant to them/their business or industry.

Reach out and invite them to a networking event or seminar that might be right up their alley.  Anything that can provide value to them is perfect!

It might just be a simple as reaching out and saying "Hey I haven't talk to you in a long time...what's going on with you?"

Reach Back...Reach Out!

One strategy that you can implement this is something we called "Reach back and Reach out".

What we teach our clients to do is actually:

  1. Look at your "cold" list on a monthly basis.
  2. Find 10 names of people with whom you really should be circling back.
  3. For that month, these 10 people are your reconnect focus (re-engage).
  4. The next month pick another 10, and the next month another 10, and so-on.

This might only take you 30 minutes to an hour each month to re-engage, and if you think about it...over the course of a year that's 120 people that you potentially will have resurrected from that dark pit of cold, disengaged contacts and turned into strategic connections or clients.