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3 Keys to Tracking Your Networking: Part 2

Susan Gold

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Give Thanks and Take Notes

“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

– Zig Ziglar

Networking is funny that way – when you focus on helping others connect through referrals, it often ends up helping you along the way, too.

In part one of the 3 Keys to Tracking Your Networking series, I introduced you to my tried and true contact data fields I always track on my contacts, including my own top 10 networking contact fields. With that part under your belt, we’re ready to move on to my favorite part: keeping track of your best referral partners and showing your gratitude for the connection.

#2 Track Introductions to Give Thanks & Testimonials 

Now that you’ve set up your CRM to be “networking friendly,” and you are using your Intro Person field, you’re good to go. However, you are about to attend your networking meeting and you want to provide a testimonial for an attendee thanking them publicly for giving you a great referral.

Until about a year ago, I was tracking this by using Post-It notes. Then I moved to an Excel Spreadsheet (which turned out to be more work), and then I was making notes in my planner for the upcoming meeting. One day it occurred to me – there is a better way! Create an easily trackable “pipeline” for testimonials and thank-yous. I also track the introductions I give to others, which reminds me to check in to make sure it was a good connection. And, just as important, I can see the impact I’m having on others.

You know the Golden Rule (well, my networking version) – “You must give to receive.” And who you give to may not be who you receive from – it’s not always a direct line. In setting up this pipeline, you’ll see when you are meeting with your contacts as well as all the connections you’ve made and received based on this pipeline.

If your CRM allows for a second sales or deals pipeline, set up the stages of your Referral Pipeline as follows:

Stage 1: Intros to me

Stage 2: Testimonials to give

Stage 3: My completed testimonials

Stage 4: Intros for me to give

Stage 5: Testimonials to receive

Stage 6: Testimonials I’ve received

When you start a new “introduction” deal or referral, you’ll want to include the contacts that are involved, just as you would in a traditional sales opportunity. This approach connects the people with the deal and is visible in the contact profile.  

In my CRM, I give the deal a specific name, such as “Jack Smith Intro’d me to Katherine Hall – potential prospect”. Or “Joe White intro’d me to Alan Delaney – potential Strategic Partner”. This way I will know by the name of the deal the important elements: who and why.

Follow-up thank you reminders can be set up as an automatic task for you in your CRM after you have your 121s. I use templates for the main thank-you emails and attachments I often send but I always personalize it.

#3 Take 121 Notes within Your CRM

I am a serious note-taker. I can’t process information if I’m not taking notes. Over the years, that meant I either had notebooks full of stuff or folders with notebook paper, making it hard to find anything quickly. I was determined to transfer my notetaking into my CRM, which duplicated my effort at first.

I’ll bet many of you reading this have been there—or still are! I finally took the leap and decided to take my note-taking live during the conversation in the contact file in my CRM. I’m a slightly above average typist but I got better really fast and more importantly, I now have everything in my contact files and it travels with me wherever I go.

Networking on Steroids

I’m sure you’re all quick learners, so let’s fast forward: you’ve set up your networking data fields and the Introduction Pipeline, and you’re taking 121 notes for each contact – all in your CRM!

You can look up a contact on your phone when you are on the road (if you’ve downloaded the CRM app), and you’ll know who they are, who introduced you, see all the scheduled meetings you’ve had (this is via your email connected to your CRM), every email conversation, every meeting captured in notes (or using your AI software). All in one place.

Now you can start answering strategic questions, such as:

  • Is my networking group giving me good referrals?
  • Am I meeting enough of my Ideal Clients and Strategic Partners?
  • Should I renew my networking membership – what’s my ROI?
  • Do the people in the room have the right network for me to tap into?

How does your networking look now? Reach out and let me know, or feel free to ask any lingering tracking questions. Networking strategy is one of my favorite topics, so I’m happy to discuss yours with you, too!