Out of Sight, Out of Mind.
In Sight, Top of Mind.
You may not believe it, but you’re probably sitting on 5,000 contacts in various pools of connections.
Imagine the opportunities they represent for new business, new alliances and new volunteers.
You can find these people here:
1. Names in your address book
2. Recently emailed addresses
3. LinkedIn connections
4. Subscribers to your newsletter and blog
5. Business cards
6. Lists of attendees at events
7. Membership directories
8. Facebook friends and Twitter followers
Look for potential clients, partners, vendors, donors and board members among these resources.
Possibilities for you to refer business and connections to each other also abound.
Let’s start identifying them and actively mine these contacts. Plan to re-connect with these people and create momentum — for your business, for your organization, and for them to be thinking of you.
If you don’t use a contact relationship management program, make your address book the basic database.
1. Export the names in your address book in a .csv file. (If you use Outlook, go to File, select Open & Export, click on Import/Export and follow the simple steps.) Save the file as an Excel spreadsheet to make it easier to manipulate. Sort by first or last name. Print only the names. Review the names; delete duplicates and others, as appropriate.
2. Collect the email addresses and names of the 1,000 people you have most recently emailed. Outlook’s blessed auto-complete feature is your new best friend. Certainly, there are several hundred names in that pool you have not yet added to your address book. Download the NK2Edit program. As before, export, save in Excel, sort, print. Compare this group to the list above. Through this exercise, I found more than 400 new names to enter in my address book.
3. Export the names of your LinkedIn connections. Again, save, sort and print. Perhaps there are a few names of people you no longer recognize. Now might be the time to delete them. (They will not be notified you did this.) Compare these names with those in your expanding address book and add them to it.
4. Your newsletter and blog subscribers are another group to mine. Continue to export, save, sort and print. Compare the list to your address book and LinkedIn connections; add to both, ensuring consistency across all platforms.
5. That stack of business cards? You know what to do.
6. Have you been to any events and received a list of the attendees? Who did you meet at the break-out session? Who sat with you at lunch? Add these names.
7. Do you belong to a chamber of commerce, professional association or networking group? Peruse the membership directory; your dues paid for it. See how your address book continues to grow!
8. Finally, your social and professional connections on Facebook and Twitter represent an audience that is interested in keeping up with your latest activities. Bring them into the fold, too.
Yes, this exporting, sorting, printing, comparing and entering data is tedious.* With this effort comes a payoff; when you read every single name, you will find out who’s hiding there, including some welcome surprises.
Last month I wrote to a colleague who subscribes to my newsletter; I hadn’t spoken with him since 2012! We then chatted for 15 minutes. The following day, he emailed me to help him with a project, which I completed. A few days later, he urgently needed my help by close of business, so I also did that. Plus, he spies another task on the horizon.
Four years of minimal communication, and now he sees me as a member of his team.
This Month’s Tip
Here are six subject lines and invitations to re-start a conversation:
- LinkedIn suggested your name, so I endorsed you for a few skills. When can we grab a coffee to catch up?
- Your name came up in conversation with PERSON (Put the name in the body of the email, so the reader will open the note.) What are you working on now?
- This article/podcast reminded me of our conversation about TOPIC (link). What do you think?
- Would you like to meet a PROFESSION? Perhaps NAME is a potential collaborator. (link to website or LinkedIn profile). Let me know and I will introduce you.
- Remember this email? Please help me recall what happened next.
- Your business card re-surfaced. What’s new?
By asking a question, you open the door to a phone call, coffee or lunch to re-ignite the connection. Perhaps you have discovered a viable contact for this person among the hundreds of names you recently added to your address book. Some say your best prospects and referral sources are among the people you already know, so start re-connecting.
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* Note: You can expedite the Outlook data entry process by saving each modified Excel list as a .csv file. Import that file into Outlook. It sounds more complicated than it is; let me talk you through the process.