The Difficulty of Keeping Track of People you Met
We have talked about how to meet people at conferences and ways off capturing notes but what about how keeping track of people? What are ways to organize your contacts and to remember when, where and why you have met certain people, especially in the business context? Linkedin and Facebook surely help in creating memory points of connections but it is more important that you are connected, rather than why you are connected. If I look at my connection base in LinkedIn, I sometimes wonder how many of these almost 2,000 people do I actually really know? And how many have I met in person? In the end, it goes back again to Dunbar’s number of maximum 150 stable and social connection a person can have.
Keeping track of people is very important in the business context
Why should I care, whether I have met a person in the past or not? So why is it important keeping track of people I have met? In the business context, sales happens best when there is trust between the different parties. Trust can be built through a brand promise but the most important link is a personal connection. There are theories that it takes at least 6 to 8 touch points between the different parties to create a viable sales lead. That’s why, keeping track of people can be very important for your business.
Setting up a system which helps you keeping track of people is actually quite challenging. It still requires a lot of discipline and organization to capture information on why, where and when you have met a certain person. While sales teams capture some of these information already for strategic clients, it is not necessarily the case for everyday contacts. However, you never know, when a everyday contact can turn into a strategic client. Relationships which have been build without a sales in mind are stronger ones and will make the sale easier if it occurs.
Apparently one of the most used way of organizing and keeping track of people in the past was a Rolodex. Obviously, the value of a Rolodex in our modern times is limited, they are still being sold in office supply stores. With the implementation of computers and operating systems in the business world, people started to create spreadsheets or used Microsoft Outlook for their contacts capturing. Then, with the internet, contacts can be shared and stored centrally allowing to have one database with all your contacts through all your devices. Currently, services or apps like Salesforce, Whatsapp or Pipedrive helps you to keep track and organize your business contacts in some way but still it doesn’t seem to be a fully satisfying experience.
6 Steps which help you keeping track of people
Without being able to give the answer on the best way of keeping track of people, there are some key steps which help when developing your own system:
- Bring everything together: Your contacts and information about when, where and why you have met may actually be spread over different system. Your email system includes all emails, while Whatsapp has conversations and Linkedin includes connections with people you have met, people which you would like to meet and people you have no clue about. So the first step is building a centralized contact database.
- Tag or label contacts: Adding a tag to a contact helps you to cluster them. For example, if we as a startup would like to raise capital, I would like to see all Venture Capitalists and investors within my contacts. Tagging them as investors helps me to easily extract those contacts.
- Take notes: Just like taking notes at a conferences about meeting you had, it is a burden but a great value if you have notes added to your system of keeping track of people. Notes and information helps to reconnect easily, to find synergies and shared interest. In addition, they are great communication starters and help to build trust if you remember personal information of the person you are meeting with.
- Recording interaction dates: If it takes 6 to 8 time to create a qualified lead, you want to remember the different occasions you have been in contact with a specific person. This will help you as well to set reminders to get in contact again at certain dates.
- Create buckets: You may want to keep track of which contact belongs to which category of relationships. It helps to create buckets of contacts clustering them in friends and business or other categories which satisfy your specific needs.
- Meet in person: If you are a frequent reader of our blog, then you must know that we strongly believe in the importance of in-person meetings. Thus, the last element of your system on keeping track with people must be the planning and organization of an in-person meeting. There, TroopTravel can help you especially, if you are based in different locations.
Keeping track of people is still quite a task and existing tools are only partially help to effectively remember where, why and when you have met your contacts.