Your company network is the customers, partners and other people (or organisations) with whom your company, or you as a functionary of your company, regularly deal. Most companies pay far too little attention to this network, even though it is extremely important. In recent years, which have seen a significant inflation of advertising and PR, maintaining these strategic contacts has become increasingly important. Today, it is no longer enough to send a calendar or a bottle of wine at Christmas to keep a good business relationship alive. In order to be noticed at all in this hectic world, it is advisable to actually treat important partners as such and to keep contact as personal as possible. This is because marketing departments have realised that it is easier and cheaper to maintain and “expand” an existing customer base than to acquire new customers through advertising. The result of this realisation is more and more customer clubs, “retention marketing” projects, bonus systems, etc. Today, you can hardly drink a coffee without being drawn into a customer loyalty programme through no fault of your own.
We are becoming more and more networked with our environment. On the one hand, this development leads to us becoming more and more demanding (it is not enough to give ourselves a small present once a year), on the other hand to a culture of customer clubs – we are now used to and willing to communicate with companies on a regular basis. At the same time, this also increases all of our longing to find honest partners and not just ever more sophisticated bonus card programmes. In this sprawling competition of professional relationship marketing, you can only build real bonds with partners if you offer an authentic network. Authentic means: resilient relationships with each other, not non-binding contacts with each other. A company that does not build its own network wastes money, misses opportunities and weakens itself.
You should therefore make good use of your professional position and the opportunities it creates to build and maintain a well-functioning, professional and, above all, resilient system of relationships if you want to do your company (and yourself) some good. Every contact you make for your organisation also benefits you personally. Building a network from within your profession is much easier than doing so from a private level. You have a certain status, access to events and contact organisations (associations, clubs, etc.), the technical, financial and human resources (possibly your own secretary). Thus, much more easily than in your private life, you can establish and maintain ties with others. The problem with the professionally focused network is that it quickly collapses when your job is gone. Once you lose the business card, you lose part of your corporate network. So the trick is to slowly and patiently, but purposefully, transform the professional contacts worth having into private relationships, i.e. to your personal lobby.