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Smart Women Keep in (High) Touch..and I'm No Dummy

by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief Social Media Strategist at xynoMedia Technology

Yesterday, one of my colleagues commented favorably on how many people I know and the factKit_2 that I'm always making introductions. She asked me how I did it.

I didn't realize that I had really created a system of keeping in touch with people whom I felt would be influential for my career or business. Wow, I think I have a strategy for EVERYTHING I do. Never really thought about it like that. It all happened when I read Keith Ferrazzi's book, Never Eat Alone.

I know this blog is mostly about marketing to women but, I think that adding a twist of women marketing themselves is appropos, so here's how I do it.

  1. I keep a running list of my Core Influencers (CI's). This list is posted on my 'strategy board' (the wall in front of my desk) and is comprised of 7-10 people who are currently in my close circle of colleagues. These are people who are usually one or two steps ahead of me in the business game and who have the potential to - or who already have - make qualified referrals. In other words, they are people whom I have specifically sought out and developed relationships with to help my business/career move forward. I keep in touch with these people - via email, phone, helpful article, etc. - once every 7-10 days. Does this annoy them? Nope, because I'm always helping them when I reach out. This list can, at times, get slightly larger or smaller depending on various circumstances but, I always have my CI list handy. I review this list twice a month to make sure my CI's are producing for me and I for them. I view these relationships *very much* as a two-way street. These people can call me anytime, anywhere and ask me for anything and I'm there to help.
  2. I have another list of people whom I call my Extended Influencers (EI's). This list resides on my 'strategy board' as well and everyone on this list is someone whom I think has CI potential but either hasn't figured out how to step their game up to CI level or I haven't figured out how to step my game up to engage them in the right way. This list varies in length but is usually somewhere around 25-50 people. Sometimes EI's turn out to be duds - CI's are NEVER duds. They wouldn't make it to the CI list if they were. These people can usually get an email response from me but, I won't pick up the phone and call them. I review this list quarterly. Relationships that go no where get relegated to...
  3. Then there's my Extended Network (EN) list. These people do not exert any influence over my business/career and many are EI's who have just not graduated - for one reason or another - to the CI level. They are also people whom I've met at conferences or networking events (of the few that I actually attend), that pass the 'gut test' (which means my gut tells me they're not full of you-know-what and they're worth a spot in my database). The EN list is well into the hundreds and I contact them usually with some sort of Happy-New-Year-here's-what-we've-been-up-to-lately note. I parse this list once a year. This group can get a response from me, but depending on the subject matter, I respond when/if I have time and
  4. Then I have a list of people/companies that I don't know at all, but I want to get to know better - my PIC list (Potential Influencer/Client). Many of the members of this list are potential clients as well, although sometimes they are not. At any given point, there are about 10 companies on this list.  I'm a huge believer in manifestation. I would say that at least 50 % of the time, when I write a company name on that list, I meet -- and develop a good relationship with -- someone from that company. The other 50%? Many times I realize that I don't want to work with them at all...or I set the name aside and add another name to that list.

NOTE: I should also mention that these 'lists' are actually lists AND these people's records are appropriately tagged in my contact management software so when it's time to review my lists, I can let technology do the heavy lifting for me.

Bottomline: Call it social climbing or being ruthless; the fact is, I've been booked for speaking and writing until January 2008 since July of this year. This year is our best year ever - and the year is not over.  I must be doing something right. What about you? Why not create your own CI, EI, EN and PIC lists and see where they take you?

Comments

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Lena West

Mary:

You get all the respect in the world from me for sticky notes. Until recently, my strategy board consisted of color-coded sticky notes and now I use color coded sheets of paper for my lists. Sticky notes ROCK!

-Lena

Mary Schmidt

Lena (& Yvonne)

I do something similar with sticky notes (yeah, yeah, but it's worked thus far). That said, I definitely need to look into more automation and far more systematic approach. So, this post is perfect timing for me - as I renovate the web site and work on the next steps in my ongoing strategy.

P.S. Both of you have moved steadily up my list for the past year! Ain't the Web (and blogging) wonderful!

Mary Schmidt

Lena (& Yvonne)

I do something similar with sticky notes (yeah, yeah, but it's worked thus far). That said, I definitely need to look into more automation and far more systematic approach. So, this post is perfect timing for me - as I renovate the web site and work on the next steps in my ongoing strategy.

P.S. Both of you have moved steadily up my list for the past year! Ain't the Web (and blogging) wonderful!

Lena West

Yvonne:

You're absolutely right, I can hear them asking the same questions.

Certainly no one has to go to the length of creating lists. I'm a super organized person and I find that my systems flow better when I'm organized and strategic.

And, yes, this may seem like a lot of work but once you have the system in play and you take the time to refresh the system, it's seamless and painless. That's the whole point of a system is to save time.

Also, to people who think that way I would ask the following 2 questions:

How much time have you wasted searching for a contact's name and phone number - either to use for yourself or to share with someone else?

How many opportunities have you missed because you weren't at the top of someone's mind...because you weren't in contact regularly?

This is the work that needs to be done to have a growing business and not an expensive hobby.

Yvonne DiVita

Lena, sounds like a lot of work to me. Do I really have to log all those contacts into a contact management system? I mean, I can remember who's who...

That's what I hear a lot of people thinking, but...I know you'll set them straight. Running a successful business, becoming known as an expert in your field, requires a lot of time and attention.

As a good client of mine says, we each have the same 24 hours a day. How you manage that time can spell the difference between success and failure.

Another great post, Lena. Much thanks!

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