Role for the professional and role for the organization
1 Actively manage your relationships
Review all of your contacts and select the ones that (may) be commercially important to you. Dare to choose: these are the relationships you want to actively manage, so don't select 500 names! And remember that relationships that are not on the list are not suddenly gone; you're just not (yet) actively managing them (which you probably didn't do anyway!). Also make an export of your LinkedIn contacts (see below) and supplement your selected relationships with LinkedIn connections that are or may be commercially important to you. Then determine for the selected relations which action you want to take for which date. That could also simply be 'catching up'. Maintaining relationships can be done in many ways: by telephone, a personal appointment, an (email) message, via social media, etc. The most important thing is that you do not have lost contact with an important relationship for months (or years!). Also record other important information, such as that your relationship attended a seminar you gave or is interested in a service you spoke about. In LinkedIn go to 'My Network' / 'Connections' Click on the gear on the right ('Settings') Under 'Advanced Settings' (right) choose 'Export LinkedIn Connections'.
Open your overview of priority relationships and see which actions you should take (or should have taken) that week. Carry out the actions or - if that is not (yet) possible - adjust the desired action and / or deadline. Check whether you have made contacts (personal or online) in the past week that are or may be so important that you want to actively manage them. If so, add these contacts. Check whether there are contacts for which no actions are planned. If so, schedule it (even if it is in six months, the point is that these relationships do not go unnoticed).
Once per quarter
Determine whether priority relationships from the list can or should be added. Make any changes not yet processed in the overview. Decide whether you want to take additional actions for (groups of) priority relationships (for example, invite to a drink or lunch meeting).
Track in a CRM system?
Or just a list in Excel?
2 Maintain your network offline and online
News-driven relationship maintenance
Systematic relationship maintenance
3 Selectively attend meetings and events
Most meetings attract a mix of people who all have their own goals. Often only a relatively small part is interesting for you. However, you cannot see this remotely, so there is a good chance that you will get into a conversation with someone who does not fit within your target group. However, it is inappropriate to immediately look further, so that the coffee or drink time expires without you talking to people you would like to meet. Because everyone's time is scarce, organizations are less and less inclined to go to physical meetings and - if they do - they often don't send the decision-makers. This makes it even more difficult to get sufficient returns from such meetings.