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Networking Secrets: Ivan Kroshnyi

Networking Secrets: How to Create a Contact Map

In the business world, the power of networking is hard to overestimate. It stands to mention that we make money using three things. These are risk, expertise, and contacts we have. To know whom you can contact to tackle a particular issue, you need a contact map that comes to the residue in every situation.

What is a contact map

According to scientists, a person can keep in touch with 150 people simulated, of which about 7 to 8 are close ones. That being said, this is not enough for efficient business evolution. We meet thousands of people in the course of our lives. Many of them can be helpful to you—or you can be of use to them.

What you need to do in order not to lose meaningful contacts and make the most out of them is to properly systematize them, e.g. using smart contact maps. It will help you be more attentive to those you are interacting with. After all, knowing more about the person helps find common ground easier.

The contact map is not a new concept. Rockefeller used this approach to forge business connections—he had a map containing over 100,000 contacts, and all these cards were kept safe in an actual archive. Rockefeller wrote down every little thing. After every meeting, he updated information about the people he met. It could have been networking that helped him become one of the world’s richest people.

Why should you have your own contact map

Using this map, you can systematize all your contacts and keep in touch with them as needed. You have to admit that nobody enjoys being reached out to only when someone needs something from them. And when you systematize contacts and interact with them on a regular basis, you will be able to ask people for help if need be.

That’s how it works in practical terms: 

✔when meeting someone new for the first time, learn their name, phone number, social media handles, and date of birthday. Take genuine interest in their lives, what they are passionate about, all of the things that you can possibly learn about them$
✔write this information down on a card so that you can stay in touch with the person and build business relationships.
✔it will be enough to shoot a quick message to the person every couple of weeks to find out how they are doing.

4 rules for keeping a solid contact map

Networking is something that takes time and effort. Just like any relationship, business relations require work. To make this task easier for you, I am going to share some rules on how to create effective contact cards:

1. You can keep the contact map in CRM or use tools such as Mindomo.

2. It is better to break down the map by countries and cities, and enter essential information about people. For instance, you may indicate whether this is a work or personal contact, and whether you wish to get more involved in their life. 

Here’s an example. Let’s say you are going to another city. In order to recall whether you have anybody you know there, simply open the city in the contact map. If you have friends or acquaintances there, you can reach out to them and offer to meet up when you both are free. Face-to-face meetings are the best way to network.

3. The warmth of the contacts is essential. I group my contacts in the map using red, yellow and green colors. Red ones are those whom I do not know on a personal level. If I see that they can be of use, I label them as yellow. Green contacts are the people I am more interested in, wish to interact with and get involved in their life more to become closer.

4. Provide as much information as you possibly can in your contact map. The more you know about your social circle, the easier it will be for you to understand who can be of use to you and how you can be of use to others.

How to use the contact map

The digital contact map is a very handy tool. You can simply enter a keyword to find one or several contacts you are interested in. After that, select the right person and look up information about him or her, e.g. where you met, what you have in common, what you learned while interacting, etc. You know what this specific person is interested in, how he or she can be useful to you or someone else.

Would you like your contact network to be your powerful resource? Don’t try monetizing it right here, right now. Think long term. Help people selflessly and introduce them to each other. That way, you’ll have people around you who will be ready to help you out when you need it, and you will be able to build solid business ties for many years to come.

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