I mean I just don't have time for the whole "let's grab a bite" scene or "let's talk over a round of golf". Please! There are clients to serve and deadlines to meet, not to mention my commitments to my family. I really don't have time. And I'm not alone. Most of my accounting clients don't go out for lunch either. It's just a solitary sandwich at your desk as you review the financial statements.
I know, I know. It's something you just have to do.
Problem is, I didn't know how. I've been to those seminars about marketing yourself etc. etc. My Outlook Contacts List has a couple of hundred names (although not all the addresses are current). I just didn't know what to do with them.
Something changed this week.
I got an email from a friend looking to hire an accounting software implementation consultant. It turns out that they are quite rare these days. He asked me if I knew anyone. My first response was to say no, but then I thought -- it wouldn't do any harm to send out a few emails and see if anyone knows someone. It really only took a few minutes (since I sent the same email to everyone). The funny thing is that it benefited me as much as my friend. None of my contacts knew anyone immediately either, but several said they'd send out a few emails as well. But in the process, I found out that a friend had had a baby, that someone else had changed jobs and one even said, "Let's get together for lunch."
All of a sudden, networking sounds like fun.
If staying in touch with old friends sounds like fun to you too, I have just one suggestion: join a web site like LinkedIn or Plaxo. Find your contacts there. My Outlook contact list really is ancient. A lot of the email addresses are dead, but my friends on LinkedIn keep their information up to date as their circumstances change. That way I never lose touch.
Oh, if you do decide to join LinkedIn, look me up. I may not have time for lunch, but I'm always happy to email!