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Heather Townsend

The Excedia Group


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How to build your networking strategy: Stage 5 – maintaining relationships


In the last part of this six article series on how to build your own networking strategy, Heather Townsend looks in depth at the fifth and last stage in building your own networking strategy; maintaining relationships to add into your network.

Think back to your friends at school. How many of them are you still in contact with? With those that you have lost contact with, do you feel able to pick up the phone and speak with them? I’m guessing not. So, what has made the difference with your friends from school who you feel able to still pick up the phone and talk to? Yes, regular communication. Without regular communication, your relationships will slip back and lose their usefulness. Therefore, a key part of your networking strategy needs to be how you will keep in touch with your network.

As Juliet had read my book, ‘The FT Guide to Business Networking', she was aware of the importance of maintaining the relationships which were important to her. When Juliet had done her research with her 'Georges', she found out that if she was going to be a successful freelancer trainer she needed to be focused with her networking time. If she was networking, be it on- or off-line, she couldn’t be doing chargeable work.

One of the challenges of being a freelance trainer is that there are so many people who can give you work. The secret is being able to stay top of mind with the people who are more likely to hire you for the longer and more profitable projects.

These are the actions that Juliet choose to add into her keeping-in-touch strategy:

  • Actively connect with all her soon-to-be ex-colleagues in HR and training on Facebook as well as LinkedIn.
  • Add a list on Twitter for her ex-colleagues and check this list, as well as her 'trainers to stay close to list' and 'retail professionals' list daily. Have at least one conversation with someone from these lists daily.
  • Post up at least five tweets daily, with a mixture of relationship and credibility building content, i.e. sharing articles of interest to retail professionals (credibility building content) as well as chatting with people on Twitter (relationship building content).
  • Once a week, Juliet has decided to sit down and send out personal emails with interesting articles to all her A-listers.
  • Set up an RSS reader (such as Google Reader) to always have a store of useful content to share with her network.
  • Set up Google search alerts for mentions of the big players in the retail sector to help her always have up-to-date information to share.
  • Go into LinkedIn daily and do the following tasks:
    • endorse members of her network
    • check to see who has viewed her profile
    • add one comment in one of the LinkedIn groups she is a member of
    • add a status update, be it an interesting article, or a piece of personal PR for Juliet
  • Invest in the services of a VA to send out physical christmas and birthday cards to the A-listers in her network

All throughout the process of building her networking strategy, Juliet had been making notes of the actions and plans she wanted to do. After all, having ideas is one thing but actively implementing her strategy is another ball game all together. If you have been building your networking strategy using this series of articles, then take the first step to committing to your networking strategy by writing down:

What you will do daily, weekly and monthly to implement your networking strategy?

Once you have built your networking strategy and turned it into daily, weekly and monthly activity plans, there is just one more thing to do; decide on how frequently you will review the effectiveness of your networking strategy and maybe even redo this exercise every six months.

If you have set motivating and specific networking goals, and have a clear idea of what you will do to find, maintain and build relationships in your network to help you achieve these goals, then you will discover just how powerful your network can be.

Heather Townsend helps professionals become the ‘Go To Expert’. She is the author of the award-winning and best-selling book on networking, ‘The FT Guide to Business Networking’, and the co-author of ‘How to make partner and still have a life’. Heather regularly blogs at ‘Joined Up Networking’ and ‘How to make partner

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Heather Townsend


Read more from Heather Townsend

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