Back to the Future: How to Utilize That Dusty Rolodex

Robert Andrews • May 19, 2022

We are surrounded by an ocean of technology and social media. Every day we tap away on our iPhones or scroll through our Microsoft Outlook accounts trying to find new and creative ways to cultivate and obtain new business.

Some resort to consulting the Yellow Pages—are those even in production anymore?

Pursuing new business clients isn’t easy work, so we often option to the quickest forms of communication. If you aren’t looking back at the contacts you have already made but failed to reach out to after your first meeting, you may be leaving potential business on the shelf. There may be some low hanging fruit out there that doesn’t exist at your next “Paint Your Own Flower Pot” cocktail hour.

Here is an idea that is not often thrown around at lot, perhaps because it doesn’t fit in the 240-character limit on Twitter, or it doesn’t allow for a catchy meme on Facebook. Try opening up your phone and simply looking at your contact list.

Do you have a stack of dusty business cards sitting on your desk? Utilize what you already have by making a list of all the individuals you have had business meetings with. Go through your phone and find those individuals you had coffee with a year ago, but have yet to touch base with. People are more likely to do business with those whom they already know or have a relationship with.

Once you have curated this list, put it into action by making contact with the individuals listed. Set up as many business meetings as you can. Before you go, or even make the phone call (yes I said phone call, not a text), make sure you know what you are asking. Do some research on the company or person you are going to speak with, know what they might want, and be prepared to answer questions about you or your agency.

Some of these meetings may not produce the outcomes you want. But, like they say in dating, you never know what is out there until you try! Even if the meeting or follow-up doesn’t go as planned, this activity will improve your business outreach, increase your name recognition, improve your social skills, and perhaps yield business later on down the road. Remember, we are playing for long-term success, not instant gratification.

Nothing can take the place of a well-executed in-person business meeting. If you procrastinate or wait for Elon Musk to solve this issue, you will be bankrupt or out of the job by the time the next season of Dancing with the Stars begins.

At the very least, you get to catch up with an old friend or colleague.

And, don’t forget to write a follow-up thank you message—preferably handwritten, and mailed. For those of you with the “WOW” face right now, yes, the Postal Service does indeed still exist.

Happy hunting.

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