Relationship Development Checklist

Pilots use checklists to make sure they don’t forget anything when preparing to fly a plane. Chef’s use checklists (called recipes) when preparing a special dish for diners to enjoy. Scientists use checklists when doing research on new pharmaceutical products to cure diseases.

You need a checklist to help develop and maintain valuable connections that will lead to relationship revenue.

You don’t have to create this checklist yourself. I’ve done it for you.


As a reminder, I’ve included some of the terms I use when discussing relationship-focused business development.

Sales: Providing value in return for financial compensation.

Business Development: A fancy name for sales. This makes people feel less “icky.”

Origination: A fancy name for sales used by lawyers and law firms. They recoil at all other terms that involve demonstrating value in return for money, so we call sales for law firms “origination.”

Relationship: Two people coming together for mutual benefit.

Relationship Revenue: Income you receive as a result of on-going value delivered to someone who views you as critical to their success. This income comes to you as a result of on-going activity and the value provided to your client is delivered through the use of leverage.

External Orientation: A focus on delivering value to another person before asking for a benefit for you.

Natural Network: Everyone you know. Think about this group as the list of people you’d invite to a special event – either business or personal. Your job is to deepen relationships with everyone in your natural network as you grow the network.

Client: Someone who gives you money in exchange for value you provide.

Evangelist: A person who refers business to you even though they have not used your services.

Daily Checklist:

__ Send a handwritten note to someone in your natural network telling him/her you are thinking about them.

__ Send an email to someone in your natural network to reconnect with them (similar to handwritten note but sent to a different person).

__ Call someone in your natural network to “check-in” and “remain in-touch.”

Weekly Checklist:

__ Write an article that educates and/or entertains the reader. Send the article to everyone in your natural network as a way to keep in contact. Don’t worry about people who unsubscribe or ignore the email.

__ Schedule at least one breakfast/lunch/dinner with two people in your natural network. The purpose of this meal is to introduce those two people, so they can create mutual value. They might do business. They might be recreational partners (tennis, golf, poker, etc.). The idea is to become a “connector” for people in your natural network. This must be a weekly habit.

__ Express gratitude, in some way, to someone in your natural network. Pick a client or evangelist and send them a small token of appreciation. This can be a packet of a new, rich coffee you discovered or a keychain you picked up on your trip to New Orleans. The token is not as important as the thought behind it.

Monthly Checklist:

__ Pick one article you’ve written in the past month and mail it to as many people in your natural network as possible. This is a physical mailing. Don’t worry about making this a fancy, formal newsletter. Just format it as a regular letter and get it out.

__ Visit a client. Go see them in their environment. Ask about his/her family. Look at photos. Talk about personal goals. Be human.

__ Attend a meeting or convention your clients attend or read a magazine or on-line articles your clients read. Take note of the issues they are concerned about. Take note of the language used. Take note of the priorities they discuss.

This checklist is not your entire marketing plan. In fact, you won’t see many of these things in any marketing textbook. Instead, this is a list of habits you must perfect if you want to deepen relationships. There is not one action on this list that requires any special skill.

Please begin using this checklist right now and report your results to me in 60 days. If you do everything outlined here, you’ll have great personal satisfaction and a few extra dollars in your pocket.

Don’t make excuses. Act!