Beyond “Contact Management”

Contact Management Provides a Frame of Reference

“Contact Management” is like accounting. It helps to keep records, but we hope it serves to guide our performance. CRM software and web sites for organizing contacts in the cloud can help. However, actual engagement and interaction with our contacts is what really counts.  Contact ManagementCredit for the image here goes to Zoho, which offers an internet based contact manager.

My definition of networking is: ”leveraging trust and influence.”  We need to gain trust before we can leverage it. It takes a long time to make an old friend! Trust and influence are cultivated over time and are based on experience with the friend’s past performance. It is like building credit. Sometimes difficult challenges help you find out who your real friends are!

If all we did at a live “speed networking” event were to collect business cards, we might be better off with the Yellow Pages directory. It would save us time and money, and it would have an organized index! Have you ever looked at your stack of business cards and wondered who were those people? Do you realize that they’re wondering the same thing about your business card?

Can the Internet Accelerate Influence Development?

Certainly the internet enables us to contact many more people than we could possibly contact in “real life.” My question relates to how we can build trust and cultivate relationships and influence with those contacts.  

Relationships are based on shared experiences, reciprocal value exchange, and emotional rewards. I wrote a previous blog post about “Social Media Deposits in Emotional Bank Accounts,” in which I said, “it is wise to be proactive in making deposits before the need to withdraw arises, because emotional “withdrawals” are often unexpected accidental emergencies!” When you need a friend who “has your back,” it may be too late to make an old friend.

Engage and Interact

In my post called, “Engage and Interact to Build Relationships Online,” I wrote,

Relationships online are formed by engaging in conversations and interacting. Commenting on another person’s posts or status updates is just as important as posting your own content. Following up and responding to the comments of others gives them attention and recognition, which are important human needs.

If you want to win friends and influence people, it is actually more effective to be interested than to be interesting! Listening and “paying” attention is a usually a profitable investment. Commenting on blogs, like this one, is another good investment! 😉   Notice the  “Comment Luv” plugin below. We might become real friends and allies!