Certainly one of the best ways to gain new clients and opportunities for your business is to reconnect with your network.
(Remember: even your friends and family don’t really know what you do, or at least, don’t think often enough about what you do, to be able to refer business to you.)
So it is a great idea to keep in touch with your network, maybe 1-3x a year. It can result in new clients.
The problem is that when you reconnect with that specific agenda in mind, it can feel “off” to the recipient, and probably feels awkward and artificial to you as well.
I recently received an email from an old colleague that is exactly the kind of email that demonstrates reconnection as a robotic tactic, rather than a genuine sense of caring... Here is the email:
[Feels a little off... like he's trying to get my attention.]
George, hope you are doing well.
[A bit generic, but an OK greeting.]
I remember when you had initially come on my show (when I was just starting out) and I always appreciated your advice back then.
[This is generic -- this could have been sent to all of his previous podcast guests… it’s general flattery. What would be better -- and authentic -- is to get specific about what advice he appreciated, so I feel like he actually remembers what we talked about.]
I can clearly see you’ve invested time and effort into your videos on FB and YT sharing your message with your audience… are you happy with the exposure you're getting?
Can I record a quick video for you to show you why I believe you're not getting far more exposure and engagement on the awesome content you are creating?
[What? He goes from general flattery to suddenly trying to sow some self-doubt. I haven’t heard from the guy in years, and in this first email, he tries to mentor me. In fact, our previous interaction was flipped: he sought me as an expert. Now, without my permission, he is trying to push his advice.]
I've spotted a few things you appear not to be doing (or at least, not doing to the same extent as other coaches I have seen) that I think is severely impacting how many people are seeing and finding out about your values of authentic marketing.
Let me know if you'd like me to show you what I mean.
[A random reconnection email out of the blue is not the way to tell someone that they should be doing this or that. It is disrespectful. Plus, he doesn’t even understand my priorities -- I don’t want to do what other coaches are doing! If he took the time to consume some of my content, he might realize that I’m quite happy with my process. Of course, I always wish to learn, change, and grow... but not in the mainstream ways. I'm not interested in learning from someone who sows FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) which is the way of conventional marketing. And then he even adds a P.S., which is another common copywriting tactic...]
P.S: in case you’re wondering if this is some kind of generic email, here’s the best I could think to prove it’s not haha (I wouldn't do that to you ;))
[This image could have easily been taken by an assistant. What would have been much more thoughtful is a personal, 1-minute video from him. The irony: he is trying so hard to prove that it’s not a generic email. And yet, I can clearly tell that he copied/pasted much of the email… see the screenshot below.]
Notice the font difference above, starting with "are you happy with the exposure you're getting?"….
This wasn’t the first interaction with this guy that felt “off”.
Not long after I spoke on his podcast, he reached out to ask me to promote his new coaching program, saying that other podcast guests were also promoting. When I replied courteously to say that I couldn’t promote at that time, he seemed offended, like I was supposed to reciprocate just because he asked me to speak on his podcast. (To clarify -- it is never an expectation that a guest should later agree to promote the host's product.)
It has now been years since I've heard from him... until now, when he has something to sell to me.
This email has reminded me of how important it is, in our reconnection emails with our network, to think about the following:
1) Whether the recipient will feel manipulated or sold to.
2) Whether the recipient will find it specific to them, or too generic.
Here’s the bottom line:
Being authentic in business is not using tactics like what he did above. It’s about actually caring enough to keep in touch regularly because you like someone, not because they might be useful to you.
And when we take a deep breath and reconnect with our purpose, isn’t that what our heart and soul is calling us to do? To love (and like!) others more.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have been too focused on my business, to remember to care for specific individuals in my network. The easiest thing to fall back into is to see our network as "people who can help us." Or to pretend to care about them, only when we need something from them.
How about reconnecting with what we genuinely like about them? And simply reaching out in appreciation, without an agenda, other than to care?
This is honestly food for thought for me, and I will be reconnecting with my own heart and spirit to see how I can expand my depth of care for my network. To do regular "netcaring" instead of "networking".
From that authentic place of love (and enjoyment of people) will emerge genuine actions of reconnection, appreciation, and yes, possible collaboration and mutual support... but not when it's used as a sales tactic.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
All content on this website is Creative Commons CC0 license -- No Rights Reserved. Feel free to use or repurpose it however you like!
Here's why :)