Route 66 - The Journey Toward Success
Keep Relationships Alive
Most people do a good job of keeping up with close friends and important prospects or clients. Additionally, those who actively network are keen on making new contacts and discovering ways to cultivate relationships. However, it is the "Tweeners" (those in between) that we allow people to slip through the cracks.
Developing true connections with people which leads to added business takes time. Often when people meet someone new and no immediate value crops up, they fail to advance the friendship. After a few interactions they move on the greener pastures.
While I am not suggesting that you have to spend time with everyone you have ever met, I am suggesting that you need a long term outlook when it comes to networking. If you like and respect someone, you should continue to discover ways to cultivate the relationship, even if there is not direct financial pay off in the near term.
The reason for this is that networking is not just about finding ways for other people to send you business. Yes, that is part of why you invest your valuable time, but that is very selfish if it is your only goal (and it wont work, people can smell a "taker" in no time).
Having a large, robust and active network is also about your helping others, and having the right contacts where you are seen as "The Go-To Person". If your relationships with people go stale, you are not able to call on them when someone else needs the contact.
I have a friend who is looking to make a job change. I have helped him meet some key people in his target industries, and recently he said "thank you". More importantly he said that he knows someday he will be able to discover a way to be a resource in return. That is networking. I am confident that one day he (or someone he knows) will need to hire a speaker for a business conference and I will get the call (or something similarly beneficial). But if not, I am still happy that my contacts are useful to him during his quest for his new employment.
Keeping those "Tweener" contacts alive is not easy. You need to review your list and regularly reach out to people. They most likely view you as a "Tweener" also, and therefor have equally not invested too much time in you. Thus you have to be proactive. Find reasons to stay in touch and on occasion set up coffee or lunch with those you have not been fortunate enough to see often at networking events (going to networking events is not just about meeting new people, it also allows you to keep relationships alive with those you already know!).
If you do not take the initiative, they might not either. ...thus the relationship will wither and die. That is not good for either person. Become the person who reaches out and keeps relationships alive.
Have A Great Day.