Keeping track of the people you know and meet is key to making the most of your relationships. For those of you in a sales type role, this is not new to you. However, for many people this is completely new when it comes to keeping track of ALL our relationships.
This article is not going to focus on what software, program, or type of spreadsheet you should use. There are many good choices out there. You can follow my footsteps and just utilize an Excel spreadsheet, or pay for a service. The focus of this article is going to be more on ‘why’ you should keep a contact list and ‘how’ you can benefit from doing this.
Below are selling points for keeping a contact database
• serves as a repository to list people you meet
• keeps track of interesting bits of information
o key facts about people
o valuable data on key people
• shows history of how and where you meet people
Some of you are introduced and meet new contacts every day. For others this could be a little less often. Either way, your social and business network is constantly expanding. If you are not taking advantage of this by keeping track, then people will invariably drop off.
I tend to create spreadsheets and then re-create them, and then mash them up for various purposes. Just the same, I am always putting lists together for various functions and purposes.
I find, for me, that the more I review a list and add to it and mix it up, then the more the data comes to mind quickly. Review your list as often as you can, so you can keep the names and associations with your contacts top-of-mind. The information in your lists is only as good as you are able to put it to use.
Key Facts & Valuable Data
Just as it is important to keep a database of names, it is also very important to log key facts about your contacts. As you lead a networked life and if you are going to take advantage of this, you will find that you pull upon this information all the time. The ‘art’ of making connections and how to do this successfully will be addressed in other articles.
Things to take note of are family members’ names, birthdays, education levels, and places where they received degrees (and those degrees). Keep track of hobbies and special interests. Does someone serve on a board or volunteer somewhere on the weekends? Where do people prefer to eat and what kind of dinner parties do they attend?
Again, the value this information provides will be shown in other articles, but this is very important to keep track of. For myself I have been able to keep better track of the finer details mentally, and I do not log it like I used to. I am not exactly sure about the science behind this, but I have found that the more I practiced taking notes of key facts, the more I have been able to expand my memory and ability to mentally pull it up.
History of How & Where You Meet Contacts
Key to all connections is how and through whom you met. Sometimes this can serve as just interesting trivia. However, other times there is great value when it comes time to acknowledge and/or pay it back. While I try to keep track of where I meet people, I have not really done a good job of keeping track of those I introduce. I am sure there is value in this approach, but again, that might be for another article.
So, in conclusion, keeping a database will assist your efforts and success significantly. The database will serve as a repository for maintaining key information and interesting facts about the people you come in contact with on a daily basis. Be sure to include in the information how, where, and through whom you meet your connections. There are many ways this will come in handy.
In addition to this, the practice of maintaining a database will also shape your mind as you interact with people on a daily basis. One of the keys to relationship development is that as you practice an intentional method, you will gradually develop instincts that will serve you well.
Until our paths cross again,