I've always found Iberian graveyards curious places.
I never visited one when I was living there, but I saw many from the outside.
You see, in Spanish cemeteries, many graves are set in high walls. The dead are stacked on top of each other, with stones marking their positions.
Reminds me of giant filing cabinets that will never be opened.
Today, November 1, those cemeteries will be busy. Because today is Todos Santos – All Saints' Day – when traditionally Spanish families visit the graves of their dead and leave offerings of flowers. It's a tradition common in many Catholic countries.
While deceased relatives are no longer living, they are with us in some way. A simple annual ritual helps us connect with them – if not physically then at least in our thoughts and our memories.
I often call – perhaps rather crudely – lists of prospects and clients you haven't contacted for a while "dead".
Without out a regular ritual of remembrance, they may as well be. They're gone and forgotten.
And unfortunately, they've probably forgotten you too. Or at least you're not at the top of their minds.
But that doesn't mean that connection has to be broken forever. It can be repaired.
New members of my newsletters service often ask me what to do about old lists of prospects they haven't contacted for a while. Can they contact them again?
I tell them yes, but they have to be careful – and they shouldn't expect miraculous results.
A message of atonement is required.
I suggest they send a friendly email, apologizing for their lack of contact but promising to do better in future.
They then should offer a new way to subscribe to their regular newsletter.
To encourage these past clients to continue to agree messages, I advise they describe how useful and entertaining their future emails will be…and perhaps offer a something extra – a downloadable bonus – in return for agreeing to receive further emails.
It's a difficult maneuver to make, but there's nothing to be lost by doing it.
And once that connection is made again, a ritual of regular contact will help ensure it never dies.
[Picture by Cayetano]