Happy New Year.

I love New Years. It’s the season of the blank canvas.

Have you received lots of emails about resolutions and goals? Yes, it is pretty common.

But what’s really thrilling to me about the New Year is the feeling of that fresh start, that clean palette on which to paint new results for our practices, businesses, lives.

This is the season of possibility.

Nothing is more powerful than the possibility of the connections and relationships we can be cultivating.

The master, my “guru” so to speak, of business relationships, is Keith Ferrazzi.

Keith, in his 2005 book on networking, Never Eat Alone (I treasure my copy signed by Keith when I met him at a Learning Annex appearance in NYC) devoted an entire chapter to the art of “pinging,” the process of reaching out to people in short, quick bursts of reconnection.

He saw 4 big benefits we could achieve by breaking through the “white noise” of information-overload we live in:

1. Create “substantive recognition” – staying top of mind with people

2. Nurture developing relationships

3. Transform contacts into real connections and friends

4. Favorably distinguish ourselves from other contacts 

The ping is usually done via several different communication media: email, phone, text.

Yet, despite these promising benefits, professionals and business owners often resist pinging because by it’s very nature, pinging means reaching out to people you probably haven’t contacted with in some time. This can feel uncomfortable, awkward.

Also, people grapple with how to ping, i.e. reconnect with grace and without seeming like they’re pitching for business.

So let me make a key distinction here:

A ping is not a pitch.

It’s not a transactional tactic to “get business.” It’s an “I’ve been thinking about you” intention turned into an action, without expectation or guile. The beauty of this activity, however, is that favorable results can, and often do, occur.

Why? Because as Woody Allen said, “80% of success is just showing up.” Showing up puts you in front of people, and being in front of people, the right people, often creates success.

That being said, statistically speaking, “pinging” 10 people in your contact base could very likely result in 2 new leads. Not bad for just a few minutes of outreach.

This got me to thinking:

What would happen if we put a little “smarts” behind the “ping” and made it a “ting” – a targeted ping? 

In my upcoming book (coming out later this spring), Network Like A Fox ™ I will be discussing the 4 Archetypes of Ideal Connections: 

P.I.R.C.s:

  • Ideal Prospects – your ideal sweet spot potential client- ideally suited to work with you and you them.
  • Ideal Introducers/Connectors – colleagues who have premium networks and who actively enjoy introducing their people to other good people.
  • Ideal Referral Sources – people who really understand your business and send people your way with actual business.
  • Ideal Clients – Your clients who spread the word about you voluntarily and actively.

Suppose you took on “tinging” in the New Year with 3 people in each of the 4 archetype categories?

Instead of just leaving these bursts of reconnection to chance and whim, you put a little strategy behind it. Odds are you could probably double your lead opportunities because you are touching people with the greatest influence, potential, and orientation to you and your services. (reminder: a ping is not a pitch; neither is a ting)

Case in point: When I conducted this exercise at a recent professionals workshop I was leading, an M&A professional “tinged” a favorite former client, whom he hadn’t spoken to in 4 years(!) and generated a lead for a $30K deal.

That came from a 5 minute phone call.

Obviously all “tings” won’t lead to 5 figure deals. But the art of the ting could be a wonderful first few strokes of paint on your fresh palette for 2013.

Take my “Ting Like A Fox” Challenge: 

1. Make a list of 3 of your contacts (whom you haven’t spoken to in 6 months or more) in each of the 4 archetype categories listed above. 

2.Ting by phone, email, or even text. Find out what’s new with your colleagues, what they are working on, what’s going on in their business or life. 

3. Back up the ting with breakfasts, lunches, coffee dates, or even skype meetings. 

4. Ask how you can help them be successful in 2013. 

5. Observe what new opportunities show up. 

I’d love to hear your “tinging” surprises and stories.

And don’t be surprised if you get a “ting” from me. Or maybe I’ll be fortunate and you’ll “ting” me:)

****Don’t forget to share your comments below.

P.S.

If you liked this article I’d be so pleased if you forwarded to colleagues, clients, and friends whom you think could benefit from this information —- thanks!