How I Manage My Contact List...Kinda

How I Manage My Contact List… Kinda

How I Manage My Contact List… Kinda

The most important part of networking is showing up. The second most important part is following up. I advocate for people to follow up with new contacts soon after they first meet, so each person is still fresh in each other’s minds. I talk a lot about the importance of following up on my blog at NetworkingForNicePeople.com. Following up well should help you keep your contact list organized but the truth is mine is a hot mess.

I have never been able to get into the habit of creating a single Gmail contact for each person I exchange emails with. The steps to add a contact in Gmail are a little clunky and end up taking too much time. And so I neglect keeping my contact list up to snuff. I used to stress about this but I found a solution you can use too.

Contact Management Solution…

My solution is to rely heavily on search within my inbox. I am thankful I use Gmail, which of course is owned by Google – everyone’s favorite search engine. They know a thing or two about search.

Searching within Gmail is actually quite powerful beyond a simple keyword search. Here are a few examples of ways I use email search to manage my contact list. These results may vary based on your email service provider or software but all should have a decent search function built in so give this a try.

Search By Date & Keyword

I usually mark my calendar to follow-up with new contacts about six months after a conference. Of course this is excluding the immediate follow-up I referred to earlier. I always use the conference name in my follow up email, “Hi Tim, It was a pleasure meeting you at XYZ Conference…”. This is key to making this tip work.

Assuming the conference was on December 1, 2016, I will enter the search query: before:2017/01/10 after:2016/12/01 “XYZ Conference”  This search reveals messages sent just after the conference.

Check Your Spam

God forbid I missed their email because it accidentally ended up in my spam folder. I’ll do a quick search for the conference name within any of my inboxes (included spam).

Search: in:anywhere “XYZ Conference”

Search By Subject

When I send an email with a proposal, I will include the word “proposal” in the subect line. Once a month, I will do a search for these messages to check back in.

Search: subject:proposal

As a Contactually user, I add each person to a bucket to better manage my contacts moving forward. I will also add the conference name or word “proposal” as a tag on each person so I can search and find them quickly within Contactually.

So yes, my Contact List within Gmail is still a hot mess but using search and Contactually makes it all work perfectly together. Give it a try.

Hey, I offer a free networking tips email newsletter you should check out. I even include some of my favorite tips for using Contactually. Find it at networkingfornicepeople.com/newsletter

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Dave Delaney

Dave Delaney is digital marketing consultant, professional speaker, author of New Business Networking, and is passionate about helping you grow your business and improve your career. Don't be shy, say hi at NetworkingForNicePeople.com.

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1 Comment

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