When you forge a relationship with an employee of another company in a position to secure a vital situation for your company, you now have an important client, partner or provider. So, if the person who looks your hand on that deal then gets promoted, fired, or just leaves, do you still have that contract sewed up or do you have to start over who with that slot? Even if it was not a 'handshake deal' and you've got the purchase orders or agreement to prove it, you're in trouble.
The thing is, that relationship led you to make certain assumptions about the success of your business; and those assumptions rest on even more assumptions: the other party's side of the deal is in place and secure. So now what? Do you say 'so long' to the deal at the same time you say 'good luck' to the other person? It's absolutely possible that's what will happen; when someone new steps into a job they like to start out one of two ways:
- They want to flex their muscles, clean house, and show the world how much better they'll do than their predecessor did.
- They want to avoid disruption to their department, create a seamless transition and take advantage of the internal team and external relationships that already are working well and will let them build from that foundation and shine.
The thing is, you do not want to 'hope' they'll pick the 2nd choice simply because it's good for you; you want to create a situation that makes them pick that that 2nd choice because it's good for them . How do you do that? It's about what you'd expect: pay your bills on time, rave about them publicly, provide resources and solutions to make their jobs easier, share industry knowledge; in short: make them look good! And, develop relationships with other executives or managers in other departments of the company (or, if it's a small company, with other clusters of the new employee).
You're more likely to be seen as an asset to the new employee than as a member of 'the old time' when other folks think highly of you, too. And most importantly, you want the other person to like and trust you because it's true what they say about the origin of business deals – they come from good personal relationships. Networking is not just good to obtain new business; it's critical to keep the business you already have. Now – get out there and smile!