Steps to Management Success – Step 38: Always Know Who’s Who

Written By Rick Frishman Published March 31st, 2010


Always Know Who’s Who

How many times have we heard, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?” Well, it happens to be true. Your ability to transact business is based partially upon what you can do—but it is also based upon what people whom you can get to quickly can do. When it comes to getting a foot in the door or to getting “below the radar” job leads—or simply to helping customers, prospects, and other business associates out with a good referral—nothing beats your personal and professional contact list.

WHAT IT MEANS: Contacts create opportunities, so make your contact list as large and valuable as possible by regularly adding to it and being aware of possible synergies. Recent surveys state that over 60 percent of all jobs are found through networking—but whether you’re looking for a new job, a new client, or a new promotion, it’s key not only to establish new contacts, but to cultivate them—and that means knowing more about your contacts than just what they can do for you. Sales guru and best-selling author Harvey MacKay is well known for meticulously capturing all sorts of biographical data on his contacts—family information, birthdays, special interests, favorite sports, et cetera.

ACTION PLAN: Devote time and effort to extending your contact list and recording it in some systematic and easy-to-access manner. Many PC-based contact programs are available, or you can do it the old-fashioned Rolodex way—but do it. Some potential contact sources: industry providers, coworkers, service providers, family members, professional organizations, volunteer organizations, trade groups, sports teams (including your kids’), and alumni. Also, being more upbeat, outgoing, and genuinely interested in other people are all critical social network–building skills; working to develop them will be to your advantage.

EVEN BETTER: Revisit your contact database from time to time to refresh your awareness of specific contacts. Doing so is likely to spark a good reason for calling a few of them, and that’s a good thing. A simple phone call or e-mail can open up all sorts of opportunities. After all, that’s why they’re called contacts.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)

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