The more you're in touch with your network, the more you'll be top of mind if/when opportunities arise.
CRM's help you do that.
But most people don't want to feel forced to use a "CRM" because to be honest, it's tedius to be that organized.
You also don't really want to "track" friends of yours, which feels weird. And if you're like me, while you see the updates on social media, it's not really enough of a connection.
We miss out on really connecting and catching up or having deeper conversations.
Of course, everyone has been on the search for the perfect CRM tool for years, and mostly everyone hates what they've tried.
You sign up, test one out, then quit. Is this a problem of the tool?
Or could it be how we're viewing CRM's in the first place?
Instead of quitting and missing out on opportunities to connect, I decided to simplify my CRM not only for how it works but also for what its intentions are.
What would a useful, human CRM look like? And how can I use it both personally and for business in a way that makes my life better and not more of a "process"?
After some experimentation, I have a simple system that allows me to stay in touch with people in my life. I thought it might help you as well.
The Two Benefits of a Great Network
After school your network tends to dwindle.
At least the IRL portion of your network.
Being online has drastically increased the number of people in my network, even if the total close-friends has decreased. While I love everyone I meet, I don't count connecting on Linkedin as having a real relationship.
It takes effort to build relationships, and it always will.
Looking back, I notice that some of the most important people in my network have been Mentors.
Mentorship from great people has been huge for my growth, and it's also super enjoyable. I love finding, working with, and building a network of mentors.
On top of that, my network has naturally shifted as I get interested in something new.
I love having a network that I can have inspiring conversations with, who I can grow with and learn from.
These are friends and peers who I have an ongoing conversation with that light me up, help support me, allow me to share and teach in, and in which we both are mutually growing together.
David Whyte, the poet, has this idea of the conversational nature of reality.
The premise is that we are always in some type of conversation, with others, with ourselves, with the world around us.
If we are always in a conversation, improving the types and quality of conversations we're in is what improves our life.
So, when it comes to our network, and having a CRM in the first place, it's to help us identify the answer to this question:
"What type of conversation do you want to have?"
- If you spend your time with accountants, or someone in finance, that conversation might be about numbers, data, charts, indicators.
- If you spend your time with poets, that conversation is about meaning, emotional connection, spiritual resonance.
- If you spend your time with athletes, you have conversations about training, practice methods, game highlights, etc.
"If you don't like what your network is saying, change the conversation"
Simply putting yourself in conversation more with the types of people you want to be like most will create the environment for you to grow.
We all have heard that "You are the 5 people you're friends with."
The reason is because of mirroring, and modeling.
This is about immersion with the right people.
But how do we do that?
I'm going to share a simple way to create the right context for your CRM.
It's only 2 steps, and I believe it's the basis of creating what otherwise would be opportunities just passing through a leaky bucket in your life without one.
But first, let me share two other quick points about networks and CRM's that are relevant...
If you don't keep a CRM, the other people in your network miss out.
Let's talk about the core issue with people not keeping some type of CRM.
If you go about your life meeting people without keeping in contact with them, you miss future opportunities.
The opportunities aren't just for you, either.
They're for anyone in your network, too.
Imagine you meet someone at a cookout whose dream is to rent a cabin in Alaska.
Then 3 months later you meet someone who has a place in Alaska, and says they are just starting to rent it out...
How amazing would it be to connect those two people!
But this only happens if you are sensitive to listening for this, and if you have a bad memory, keeping some type of note for yourself.
If you don't keep a CRM, you're not building leverage.
A network creates leverage because it compounds with every person who's added to it. Everyone in your network is potentially helpful to someone else in your network, at any given time.
The more you're in touch with, in front of, and listening for who in your network needs help and how, the more ability you have to create value.
When you make the right connection at the right time, you unlock potentiality that was available but unable to express itself. Such as...
- Getting your dream job
- Growing in a skill you’ve always wanted to improve at
- Finally have a network where you can “feel like yourself”
Associating with your 5-people will create the most progress and abundance for you, but it needs to be done intentionally.
Of course, at first people or networks feel out of reach. Over time, though it's much more doable.
Of course, we don't want to just have friends that are about our goals. Those friends typically need less intention, though, given that you've probably known them for years!
1. Start by making a list of your top 3 goals
2. Make a list of the 5 people who support you the most in reaching those goals.
Maybe you don't have a big network now. Or you feel like you don't have any great mentors in your life. Or you're not sure if you really fit in with the people in your life.
All of that is OK because the smallest unit of progress here is very tiny. It only takes 5 people.
3. Ask, how can I help these people on a weekly basis?
- Create a spreadsheet or database on any platform.
- Make one column that says, "Name" and one that says "Preferred method of contact" with their contact info (i.e. phone, email, twitter, etc.)
- Make one column that says "How can I help this person?"
- Make another column that says "Notes"
If you want to be in touch, think and act from a place of being helpful and useful, not bothersome or asking!
You're there to be in the conversational flow, not make a big ask.
The idea is to put yourself more in conversation with those who are having the types of conversations you want to have, and to do so by being helpful.
Traditional CRMs may not work for everyone, they can feel tedious and impersonal. Plus they don't get to the heart of your "why."
By simplifying your approach to building your network, you can start to build leverage, and get into conversation with those who you are energized by most.
When you change what conversations you're having, everything else changes along with them.
Let me know what you think,
And as always, let me know how I can help,
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