Would you believe that you only need 30 minutes to plan for your most valuable relationships each week? How? Follow our simple RATE formula:

1. Relationship-Centric Goals and Objectives – What results do you want to see from the relationship investments you made this week by the end of the week? Write down those goals and rate them.

Ex: If my overarching goal is to create national visibility for my new book, relationship economics (Wiley, September 2008) here are my top 5 goals for the week:

1. Meet other best selling authors and really understand, beyond the content of their books, how they create national visibility.
2. Determine the right national PR/publicity formula.
3. Come up with 20 unique and creative ideas to promote my book.
4. Map out the 50 most strategic relationships in this effort.
5. Gain credible endorsements.

2. Activities – What do you have to do to achieve those goals? List the necessary activities and put them in sequence. Using my example:

1. Goal #1 – To meet other best selling authors and really understand how they create national visibility.
Activities:
* Reach out to Tommy Newberry, New York Times best selling author of The 4:8 Principle.

2. Goal #2 – Determine the right national PR/publicity formula.
Activities:
* Schedule a conference call with Karen Goyette at GW Hoffman in New York City.

3. Goal #3 – Come up with 20 unique and creative ideas to promote my book.
Activities:
* Discuss in team meeting and add to agenda for each visit this week.

4. Goal #4 – Map out the 50 most strategic relationships in this effort.
Activities:
* Concentrate on publishing and publicity value chain – use East office wall to brainstorm.

5. Goal #5 – Gain credible endorsements.
Activities:
* E-mail 10 exiting customers for quotes.

3. Time – How much time will each activity require? To plan realistically, allow yourself more time than you think you’ll actually need. This gives you flexibility if unexpected problems surface.

* Activity: Reach out to Tommy Newberry, New York Times best selling author of The 4:8 Principle. 30 minutes – The call itself (or the attempt) won’t take long, but you are always well served by just-in-time research and the use of relevant information in these discussions, so allow time to search the Web, read about his book, etc.

* Activity: Schedule a conference call with Karen Goyette at GW Hoffman in New York City. 45 minutes – (Review notes from previous item.)

* Activity: Discuss in team meeting and add to agenda for each visit this week.
15 minutes – Come up with ideas, channel your creativity, and think through how you will capture them. Who will own what, how you will track their progress, etc.

* Activity: Concentrate on publishing and publicity value chain – use East office wall to brainstorm. 1 hour – Strategic relationships cannot be hurried. Start by thinking about critical areas that are instrumental to your success. Map individuals in those key areas and prioritize your outreach campaign.

* Activity: E-mail 10 exiting customers for their quotes. 1 hour – Remember: what’s in it for them? How can I create a compelling reason for them to want to rave about the topic of strategic relationships?

4. Evaluate Your Schedule – Look at your calendar holistically and consistently prioritize when to schedule each activity. Many people underestimate the power of scheduling, yet it is amazing how much you can get done when you prioritize your relationship plan and actually capture it on the calendar.

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