The Marketing Industry has long recognized the importance of “Touches.” Touches are the number of contacts with an individual needed to “make a sale.” When it comes to job searches or career transitions, “touches” are the number of contacts per individual to convert them to a supporter or champion for your cause.
How Many Touches are Necessary?
Recommendations for the number of required touches range from six to sixteen per prospect. So plan at least six “touches” per contact. Why? The better your contact knows you, the better the chance of developing his or her support.
To demonstrate, let’s look at two common networking activities and how you can increase their effectiveness by converting contacts to supporters or champions using the “touch” system.
Networking events can be one of the most productive opportunities to meet and establish new contacts. They offer (at least) five chances to “pump up” the power of your contacts:
- Research and make a list of three to four people you want to meet, send them an e-mail prior to the event to let them know you are looking forward to meeting them. (1 touch)
- Seek them out at the event and use what you’ve learned through your research to strike up a conversation that establishes a common bond. (1 touch)
- After the event send them an e-mail to express your pleasure in meeting them. Note something in particular from the conversation that you enjoyed or gained from the conversation. (1 touch)
- Make yourself memorable by e-mailing a thank you or a request for a contact on LinkedIn. Deepen your bond by sending a card to follow up. (2 touches)
TOTAL TOUCHES: 5
Information Interviewing is a great second opportunity for deepening contacts.
Once again, you start by researching your potential contact.
Armed with this important information, you are ready to
- Warm up your potential contact before you request a meeting or call. Send a brief e-mail or card to introduce your self and mention something you have in common that you found through your research. (1 touch)
- Send a follow-up e-mail with an article or some other item of interest you think they might enjoy (1 touch.)
- Request an information interview (1 touch))
- Ask your new supporter for referrals to two other people who might be helpful as sources of information or referrals. Follow-up with a “thank you” email and “snail mail to your referring contact (2 touches)
- Stay connected to each of your contacts every month or two to update them on your search and progress. (1 – or more touches)
TOTAL TOUCHES: (6 or more)
Now you have two examples of how the touch system can be used to convert your contacts to “raving fans.” We each encounter many opportunities for meeting new people every day. The key is to develop those contacts into people that will support you and promote your candidacy. The “touch” system requires a significant investment of time, but it will increase your return on investment whether you’re engaged in a job search or planning a career transition.