David Ackert is the president and CEO of Ackert, Inc, the company behind PipelinePlus.
Most people don't put a lot of thought into their contacts until they plan their wedding. The invitation list for the big day often includes loved ones (family and friends), those who are important to their professional lives (bosses, business partners, friendly clients), and those who will hopefully play more of a role in the future (mentors and other influential connections). Aside from obligatory attendees (because Aunt Jenny wouldn’t come without her creepy new boyfriend), the wedding is attended by a select group of people who, for various reasons, matter the most to us.
Your pipeline is a similar reflection, but on a professional level. Focus on the people who are most likely to create access to the opportunities and resources you want in your practice. They may be friends or family members (but not necessarily). They will likely include partners, mentors, clients, prospects and referral sources.
Your mission with these people (should you choose to accept it) is simple: Prioritize the contacts in your pipeline above all other networking. Have a meaningful interaction with the people on your short list at least every 2-3 months. Deepen your relationship with them by collaborating on projects or through social activity. Help them in whatever way you can. Then, reap the rewards of their goodwill.