11 Processes For Organizing Your Contacts
If you had unlimited labor resources,
how would you improve your contacts management system?
Relationships are one of the great currencies.
Even organized executives tap into a tiny fraction of their network’s power.
What Processes could you build to organize your network?
Here are a 33 ideas! We can build any of them for you.
1. Syncing Contacts
Data should have a single source of truth.
I use Google Contacts. My iPhone Contacts just mirror that.
But if you’ve got multiple sources of contacts,
consolidating them is a chore. +1!
Suppose somebody adds you on LinkedIn.
Then what? You’ve got a Contact on LinkedIn that isn’t in your Contacts.
Suppose somebody adds you on Facebook.
Then what? You’ve got a Contact on Facebook that isn’t in your Contacts.
How do you avoid duplicates? Software is does most of this well now, but you have to actually ask it to. There are a lot of “fake contacts” that get automatically added from organizations, bots, spammers, etc. These should be removed or separated from the count.
Links to Websites, Blogs and Social Profiles? That’s a no brainer, but it takes a lot of work you’d never do by yourself. +5!
Syncing can work the other way. You have Contacts that you are not connected to on Facebook and LinkedIn, and you could request your S.I. to automatically make these requests. +6!
When I look at my Google Contacts,
I know that I have 7,309 contacts — and that this is a true number!
2. Adding New Contacts
Suppose you’re introduced to someone over text or email. To keep your Contacts system up to date, you have to stop what you’re doing and add a new contact. What a pain! Instead, just forward it to your S.I. — and we’ll add it for you, and do it right. +7!
3. Updating Contacts
Suppose you schedule a phone call with someone. They provide their phone number to you in an email thread.
If you build scheduling processes with us, their phone number will get added to the Calendar event — so you won’t have to look up the thread.
But that’s not enough. Their phone number shouldn’t just be added to the Calendar event, your contacts should be updated with the new information as well. +8!
Never update your contacts manually again. Suppose your friend sends out an Paperless Post invitation to a birthday party at their home address. That address should not just be added to your Calendar event, it should be saved in your contacts. +9!
If you wanted to, you could have your S.I. reach out on your behalf to 100% of your contacts with missing details, and ask them for their current addresses, phone numbers, and preferences.
4. Adding Profile Photos
Don’t you hate it when your contacts don’t have profile photos?
But syncing Google Contacts with LinkedIn and Facebook profile photos is actually a pain. +10!
And what about the Contacts that aren’t on LinkedIn or Facebook? They often have photos on other online profiles that can be added manually. +11!
What about Contacts that aren’t on the internet at all? Well, if your Photo Library is in the Cloud, do you have a photo there? We can add it for you. +12!
You should be looking at faces, like me. Grey circles are lame.
Every human has a birthday, and birthdays are a powerful time to reconnect with your relationships. But unless you’re on Facebook every day, and unless 100% of your contacts are on Facebook, it is hard to consistently send personal messages that feel heartfelt.
Tell your S.I. to update your Contacts and Calendar with birthdays. +13!
Once you’ve got birthdays in your system, write a template for your S.I. to send on your behalf. +14! You can even have your S.I. send a standard gift, like a favorite book, to everyone. +15!
A template can only be so heartfelt, but at least it is automatic. To go the extra mile, you can have your S.I. draft all of your outgoing birthday messages, so you can personalize them before sending. +16!
If you don’t want to be a bottleneck, you can have your S.I. send the messages as you, but also add them to your Email Inbox instead of just your Outbox, so if you have additional thoughts, you can add them as a second chaser message. +17!
6. Taking Contact Notes
Your meeting just got out. Now what? If you’d like, your S.I. can ask you to take 30 seconds to jot down some quick notes. Their wife’s name. Their son’s birthday. Their favorite hobby. Something they said. Anything. +18!
How do you use these notes? Well, you can set reminders on them. +19!
Even more impressive, you can have your S.I. send you your notes file on a Contact every single time you have a phone call or a meeting with them. +20!
Or, if you’re messaging with them, you can look them up on Slack or Google Drive — where they are saved for your reference — by just searching for them or asking for them. +21!
7. Tagging Contacts
Suppose I asked you: how many Females do you know who work in Finance in London? You would draw a blank. But with a Process, your Synthetic Intelligence could get back to you with an answer: a list of names with links and other data. +22!
Tagging is hard to do well, either manually or with software. But it is very powerful if you have a good system. Suppose one of your friends is fundraising, and is asking for introductions to VC Firms who invest in Series C rounds for consumer hardware companies. You know you know some firms that fit this description, but you don’t remember who. The terms are so specific a LinkedIn search isn’t easy. You don’t have time. What do you do? +23!
8. Network Intelligence
Suppose you want some intelligence on your own network. How many engineers do I know, in what cities, and how many different types of engineers? If your Contacts are not already tagged, then this kind of analysis is impossible. But even if they are tagged, it takes time and design work to build, say, a Google Sheets dashboard for this. +24!
Rank importance and relationship strength.
You could create a set of rules for your S.I. to automatically score your contacts with. For example, the more frequently you message and meet with someone, the higher your relationship strength score is with that person. A number from 1 to 100 can be assigned to their Contact Card. +25!
A similar technique can be used for importance, except it requires manual input from you. For example, you might not interact frequently with your investors, but they may be very important to you. So over time you can assign 1 through 10 rankings to your S.I., and your S.I. will keep track of them. +26!
Based on these two ranking techniques, you can build additional processes. For example, you could ask your S.I. which of your close or important relationships you have been neglecting recently — and your S.I. can get you a list. +27!
Or you might not talk to your grandmother very often, but you know you should call her at least once a month. So you assign her a high importance, and ask your S.I. to block off regular time. +28!
Even more advanced, you could have your S.I. adjust settings on Facebook based on relationship strength. Follow your closest relationships, but Unfollow your weakest relationships, so you only see relevant updates in your News Feed. +29!
10. Custom Lists
I maintain various custom lists. For example, I have lists for my SF, LA and NYC “Mafia” — my closest friends and business allies. These lists prove very handy. +30!
Track introductions and mutual relationships.
Make introductions often for your closest friends and business partners? Instead of writing a new introduction every time, or copy/pasting an old template, just give your template to your S.I., and have your S.I. do the work. “Please introduce Isambard to my NYC Mafia please — here is a template!” Then the introductions are made for you, as you. +31!
Because your S.I. has access to your email account, it can not only make introductions for you, it can track things. It can track, for example, every introduction you’ve ever made, and every introduction you’ve ever received. This allows you to see, “How many introductions have I made for Friedrich?” +32!
Why not go even further? Use Facebook to track mutual friends. So you can ask questions like, who do we not have in common? Without leaving your Google Contacts. +33!
If you can imagine it, we can build it!
As long as it can be turned into a set of instructions.