The title of this post is something I picked up from a real estate seminar speaker some time ago in London. Assuming you agree, at least to some extent, here is what you can do to improve your net worth.
In 2010 a friend published a book which I read from cover to cover. Back in the ‘old’ days I would read paper books with a highlighter ready. I remember the section that explained a simple way to tap the hidden value of the neglected contacts you have accumulated over the years. The section screamed out as being highly valuable and extremely easy to implement. The book is From Crew to Captain: Making the Transition from Working for a Big Institution, to Working for Yourself. David Mellor is the author. David is a consultant these days who works with start up companies. He came from the world of commercial banking and then early stage start up investments. The section in the book that spells out the methodology for working with your network is available on David’s website. I have made a copy of the key points here. I will be interjecting some of my own comments.
The obvious place to start is your existing network of family, friends, neighbours and people who you have worked with in your career thus far. What I suggest you do is collect all the names on an excel spreadsheet (particularly the work contacts) and classify them 1 – 5.
Start with Excel, Numbers or the Google Docs equivalent. The key here is to get started collecting the names. Add the basic contact details in the sheet like a phone number and / or email address. Maybe the LinkedIn URL for the person.
We are building a scorecard. A KPI that we can come back to to measure progress. Picking up with David’s instructions, you assign a number for each contact. Between 1-5 with the specific number’s meaning highlighted below:
- People you are convinced will buy from you at some stage in the future.
- People you are pretty certain will buy from you but you are not quite so sure.
- People who realistically are never going to buy from you but you like them, they are well networked, and they are useful for market intelligence.
- People where you really have no idea whether they are potential buyers or not.
- People you consider to be irrelevant in your new world.
Having numbered them, you should immediately archive the 5s; the 4s and the 2s. The next stage is to create a diary system where by you get in touch with them every other month; the 3s you do the same with but on a quarterly basis; and the 1s you find a reason to be in touch with once a month without irritating them.
While the suggestion is to use a spreadsheet, the above archiving and contacting the 1s and 3s could be better handled in a CRM. Something that lets you make notes, schedule follow ups contact when you have made a commitment to get back to a person and similar. If you do not have experience with a CRM, start with the spreadsheet and create a column for notes. When you have more experience and can appreciate the benefits better a CRM will become the obvious next step. Note: a good CRM will let you integrate email and other communication so it is easy to collect the history for each contact. It will also work across the devices you choose to use in your professional world. Back to David’s instructions:
By the end of Year 1, you should only have 1s and 3s left. The 2s will become 1, 3 or 5s, same with the 4s. The 5s have already been archived. You can still be reactive towards the 5s, but you cannot afford to spend time on them; you have to spend time on those who are the most relevant.
So, you are operating a funnel and focusing on the people who have the best fit for what you are doing. This does not make someone a good or bad person. You are not being told to ignore family or friends. You are being told that if you want the success you desire, if you want to reach your goals, you have limited time so focus on the people who are most aligned. Healthy business relationships come from working with people who share a common goal, objective or business interest.
You also need to have enough time to add new and highly relevant people to your network. There is nothing to stop you getting on and doing this now! You don’t have to wait as you know who they are.
As you go to meetings, network or connect with people online, add new names and use the same filter to put them into one of the 5 buckets. People will move around based on changes in circumstances. Invest the bulk of your business development time into the 1s and 3s as suggested above. Let your network define your net worth and watch it grow. If you want to see the full article and learn more about David, follow the link