Networking Tomatoes

What on earth do tomatoes have to do with networking?

It’s that time of year where in order to keep up with the onslaught of tomatoes, we need to be eating about three per person per day. We were doing ok until my husband went out of town in the midst of a tomato-ripening heatwave. I was suddenly faced with 26 fully ripe beauties and not enough people to eat them. So I took a picture of my morning harvest and posted it to my Facebook account, offering them to friends.

Within minutes, the replies and direct messages started pouring in; two were completely unexpected. “Hey,” one said. “I’ll take half a dozen, but your post reminded me that I also wanted to talk to you about a project.” Another emailed to suggest that we meet for coffee to talk about her company’s marketing plans for 2010 and beyond, and how I could fit into those plans.

I’ve long been a fan of finding reasons to get in touch with current and previous clients. A few times a year I use the “vacation ping,” notifying them that I’ll be out of town for a couple of days. I get responses from as many as five clients who say, “Hey, that reminds me….” These are the people who may not want to subscribe to your newsletter or sign up for notifications about blog posts, but would never reject a quick, personalized email from you. It’s a great way to unobtrusively touch the people that you’ve worked with and remind them that you’re there, without feeling like a sales pitch. Little did I know that offering tomatoes would work in the same way.

How do you remind clients that you’re out there?

Listen to BTW: [audio:]

Check out a similar post, It Doesn’t Matter What You Send, about email newsletters.

2 thoughts on “Networking Tomatoes

  1. Josh Chandler


    I have had similar things happen a few times to me. I have to say, your example of “networking tomatoes” is just brilliant. We have the same problem at the moment, perhaps I could use this technique.

    I think when you plan on how you attract attention, you musn’t forget the basic principles of the web. Never Spam! There is nothing worse then a freelancer constantly filling up your email inbox and Twitter stream with “Hey, check me out!”

    They have to be part of the conversations you want to be having, rather then them set the agenda which usually has only their interests at heart.

  2. Jacquie O'Keeffe

    Alisa, I struggle with follow up sometimes. I feel like I always need to say the same thing: “Hey, got a project??”, but your post reminded me that it can be quick and easy and unobtrusive. We all have people on our contact list that, as you mentioned, are not necessarily blog/enews subscribers but would like to stay in touch and would readily open a personal email. Thanks for sharing! Jacquie