If you have zoom fatigue, raise your hand.
My guess is that everyone has their hand raised. I know I do. Everyone is fed up with taking meetings on their screens, and so when something is voluntary, you’re going to opt out of it. I get it.
But what are you building if you don’t show up?
Bear with me for a moment while we take a diversion and talk about friendships. We all have deep and abiding friendships, where, if things got tremendously busy and we dropped off the radar for a little while, we could (apologetically) pop back in and reconnect with our friends as if no time had passed and pick up where we had left off.
But what if a year passed, and we didn’t communicate with our friends at all? No texts, no emails, no FB messages or calls (but really, don’t call me; I don’t talk on the phone).
Would that person still be your friend? Or would you have some work to do to rebuild that relationship?
If you said the latter, then why are you expecting your business relationships to be any different?
Recently, someone said on a call about building client relationships that it’s easy to fall into the trap of being busy and thinking “I’ll just do that tomorrow or this weekend,” and then not following up. We ALL do it. With so much of the legal industry having a record year last year, I know that lawyers were busier than ever, so it can feel like it is unnecessary to actively build these relationships that are so important to your business. because they are just occurring naturally.
Until they aren’t.
We all know that the nature of any business is for it to be cyclical. We have highs and lows, and so what comes up must go down. And so we must always be building. And if you’re ignoring your prospects, and yes, even professional friends, are you sure that they’ll be there when you come back to find them when it’s “tomorrow or this weekend”?
The time to invest in your networks is today.
Do you have to spend an hour every day doing business development and managing your relationships? Of course not. But devote some time to deciding what you want to achieve as a starting point (that’s your goal), and how you want to achieve it (that’s your strategy), and then the action steps that you’ll take to get there. It may be as simple as maintaining the relationships that you already have, reaching out to former clients and referral sources to ensure that they stay fresh connections, or in some cases, developing new ones. The means by which you’ll achieve this will vary by what works best for you (and we’ve covered this extensively here on Zen already), but the key is that you MUST show up – relationships are the one thing that cannot be delegated, paused or ignored. Those on the other side will feel and remember the sting of being forgotten and it will be a steep climb to repair the damage done.