Last week the person sitting next to me at a lunch meeting made an interesting observation about starting a new business.

She said that every time you take on a new position or start a new job you meet you between 200 to 400 people. She estimated she’s had five career starts and transitions that have generated over 2,000 business contacts. Over time she’s found that all of those contacts in her network are connected to each other in various ways. In her opinion, the key to career success was to be able to maintain each relationship over time.

She’s exactly right. Our conversation got me thinking about maintaining communication for the long run. What are the best ways to keep relationships going for the duration? What tools can we use to gain and keep momentum? How do we keep our relationship building top of mind when we have so many other things to do?

When it comes to relationship building there are two things you have to do: effectively capture information and stay top of mind with your new contacts. Consistency and timely execution of both tasks will increase your relationship network and generate new business.

There are two tools that can help us with capturing information. I think of them as today’s rolodex. First is Evernote. The project management app that instantly captures business card information and turns the information into a searchable media file in your Evernote database. Second is using the LinkedIn platform to connect to the professional. Luckily, these two integrate so you can set up your Evernote account to automatically integrate with LinkedIn.

When it comes to keeping my relationship building campaigns top of mind during my busy day, I schedule my plan for interaction. I need visual reminders and audio ticklers to remind me of what I need to be doing. I utilize Evernote and the Cloze app to schedule a series of tasks to make sure I am consistently reaching out to both new and existing relationships. I add reminders to our Evernote team dashboard and in my Google calendar when there’s a touch I need to complete that involves more than just me.

Over time our contact lists do expand. Think of all the people you met during the year and how you maintain your relationships with them. What did you do in 2015 and what will you do in 2016 to create even stronger relationships? Your commitment to communication through relationship building is a driving force behind the success of your business.

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