Here at Mindmaven, we work extensively with those involved in relationship-based businesses; those that get 80-90% of their growth through their professional network. This growth comes through referrals to valuable opportunities such as:
- New clients
- Invitations to events
- Introductions to potential partners
- Introductions to top tier talent
- And much, much more
Referrals are the holy grail of relationship-based businesses. Keep your network organized to get more. Tweet this
As so many of us know, all of these relationships can get overwhelming if they’re not organized properly.
Since relationships are so important to their growth, I recommend using Contactually, a CRM designed specifically to help these businesses stay in touch with the right people in their network.
What is unique about Contactually is that it not only seamlessly puts together a digital representation of your entire network, but it also helps you interact with them. This interaction is incredibly important for the goal of getting more opportunities from your network. The key factor in doing just that is to stay top of mind with the right people in your network. This is one thing that Contactually can help you do.
Like most CRMs out there, Contactually does require some up front-end set-up if you want to get the most out of it. My goal is to help you get Contactually set up so that you can get the most out of it soon. Before we get into the specifics, I have three golden rules of setting up Contactually that I would like to share:
Golden Rule One: Less is More
Focus on fewer people, who are the right people. Many people I work with make the mistake of wanting to categorize their entire network. Most of the time, only a fraction of that network, perhaps as low as 10%, are producing 90% of their opportunities. My recommendation is to identify the groups of people who offer you the most opportunities and focus on them. This is especially important when you’re starting out. You can always do more down the road, but while you’re getting started, don’t try to do too much.
Instead of trying to touch everyone in your network, focus on the ones who deliver value. Tweet this
Golden Rule Two: Adopt the mindset that Contactually is tool that helps you take action.
To be more precise, you want this tool to help you interact with your network. This tool is not your solution. It is an aid to make interacting with your network easier. Only by interacting with your network can you generate more opportunities, serendipitous moments, and situations that can propel your business or career to new levels.
Contactually makes it easier to interact with your network to generate more opportunities. Tweet this
Golden Rule Three: Typically the things Contactually asks of you are important to your success, but not necessarily urgent.
Getting important tasks done proactively is going to contribute more to your success than getting urgent, but less important tasks done. However, because of the urgency we tend to act on them in a reactive way. Important tasks move the ball forward for your business. Urgent tasks, on the other hand, must get done, but they don’t really move that ball forward. A good example of an urgent task is scheduling: this is something that must get done, but you, as a network owner, would benefit from someone else doing it. Most of our setup instructions are designed to focus on making the important tasks easier. We want to make sure that the people you get recommendations from are so important to you that you will act on the recommendations offered by Contactually, simply because it is time for them to hear from you.
Important tasks trump urgent ones because they move the ball forward. Tweet this
Mindmaven’s Five Steps for Getting Started in Contactually
- Create an Account with Contactually and link your email account to it. I recommend connecting all of your emails to it, but if your personal email is not really used for business interactions, you might not want to connect it. You can export your LinkedIn connections using LinkedIn’s CSV file tool, and upload that to Contactually. You can also connect to Twitter. It also helps to link your calendar to it using the Calendar tool.
- Merge duplicate contacts. Let Contactually process these email accounts and contacts. When this process has finished, review your home page for duplicate contacts. If you look on the top of your dashboard, you will see an option to “Merge” duplicate contacts:
Click on merge and go through the duplicates so that you have one record per person. This simple step makes life much easier down the road, so I recommend doing it now.
- Set up your top three buckets. Again, apply the first golden rule by focusing on a few that are instrumental in getting referrals to your business. I like to recommend three categories of buckets: Top clients, Top referral sources, and what I like to call “Futures”, a list of clients that are not yet ready for your services but who are likely to seek out a service like yours in the next 18 months. Finally, decide how often these people should hear from you. We recommend 30, 45 or 60 days. If you go less than 30 days, you may overwhelm them.
- Fill up the buckets with the right sets of people. If you have lists of former clients, you can simply upload them into a bucket and get it done very fast. However, there are several ways that you can get people from your network into buckets. For more details, please see this blog post on getting your network organized.
- Get into the habit of sending one email every day. On Contactually’s dashboard, you can see five recommendations at once. Always reach out to people that you feel are valuable. If you can do five emails per day, that is even better! I encourage you to start building this habit by sending one per day.
Five simple steps can get you started with Contactually and drive referrals through the roof. Tweet this
If you try these simple steps, Contactually can significantly improve your ability to stay top of mind with the right people in your network. You’ll be well on your way to improving your skills at NRM and generating those opportunities that drive you toward your professional goals.
Photo Credit: Oscar Rethwil