I’m reading David Bradford’s book Up Your Game, and on page 41 he talks about using a contact manager.
David is the consummate networker who has also had a terrific career. He’s a grandpa living in Utah and just recently was the CEO of HireVue, and before that, CEO of the amazing Fusion-IO. He is active on social media and has a big, giving heart.
Back to the “contact manager” concept. In the olden days (well, actually, even today) most people had not heard of a “contact manager.” Everyone had heard of a Roladex, which is an old-fashioned device that sat on your desk, and allowed you to quickly flip through cards that had your contacts’ information on them so you could find their phone number and call them. Here’s a modern-looking roladex (image courtesy wikipedia):
According to what I’ve found online, ACT! was the first digital contact manager – that is, a contact manager on a computer. It was 1986 (where were YOU in 1986??) and ACT! would be the first of hundreds. There were a few others that you probably haven’t heard of, the one I briefly used was Goldmine. Today you have likely heard of the massive $5B/annual company Salesforce.com. Perhaps there are thousands of CRM systems now.
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management… and this software has mostly been designed for sales professionals. Some of them LOVE the software, and live-and-die on CRM, and others abhor CRM (because they are people people, and not software nerds).
The Roladex, and the little black book of contacts, were for anyone trying to keep track of their friend/family, etc.
CRM was really mostly for salespeople. Who else would pay that much for software that was that hard to use, when all you really wanted was a place to write down a phone number?
When David wrote about using a “contact manager” in his book, I got excited. He is not using it as a sales professional, he’s using it as a real contact manager! He’s using it to keep track of who is is meeting, what their important phone information is, when he communicates with them, and when he needs to follow-up.
Let me break that down, and make this a “how to” post. This is more of a “how to get value out of a contact manager” than how to use any bells and whistles. And just for fun, I’m going to use “JibberJobber” instead of “contact manager.”
First, store your contacts in JibberJobber.
You can store all of them, but you don’t need to. Don’t get stressed that one system (perhaps your email contact list) has contacts that are not in JibberJobber, or that LinkedIn doesn’t have all of the same contacts as you have in JibberJobber. Recognize that these are different systems with different purposes. The purpose of your contact manager (JibberJobber) is not to have the contacts everwhere else, but to serve as a central repository of IMPORTANT contacts that you are, can or want to nurture. If someone comes into your life through LinkedIn, eventually they’ll probably end up in JibberJobber.
Second, record information about those contacts.
When you first enter a contact, you likely won’t have all of the information you could put in about them. I usually start with just the first name, last name, and email address. As my relationship progresses, or as we exchange more and more emails, I will find out other information, like a work address or phone number, which might be in their official work email. Just collect this information as you get it, and gradually enter it into JibberJobber. Don’t stress about not having it to begin with…
Third, record important communication as “log entries.”
When you reach out to someone, or respond to them, log it into JibberJobber. I don’t do this all the time, but as I’m starting a relationship I’ll log any communication just to put a timeframe around how fast or slow our relationship is forming. Once I have a strong relationship with someone, I find myself logging communications less, but the quality of what I’m logging increases. For example, we meet at a networking event and I send you an email. I’ll log that email, even though it’s not going to have anything more substantial than “nice to meet you – let’s get on a call next week.” A few years later I’m not going to log every email we exchange, but if there is something big, or important, then I’ll log that. Don’t beat yourself up for not logging everything… you’ll get used to what you really want to track and what you don’t need to.
Fourth, indicate when you need to follow-up with your contacts.
This might be one of the hardest things to do, and track, for people who are starting to get serious about networking. Why? Because the more you network, the more follow-up you can do! And it feels rotten to meet people, start a relationship, and then forget when to follow-up, or who they were, or why you should follow-up, etc. In JibberJobber, you’ll create “action items,” which is basically a due date on a log entry. You can even create recurring action items, which means you can say “Ping Johnny every quarter,” to help you nurture relationships over the long-term.
Keith Ferrazzi says that if you want to be better than 95% of your competition, all you have to do is follow-up. We know this, but there’s a reason why 95 out of 100 people don’t do it: it’s hard to manage!
Let JibberJobber be your contact manager and your follow-up tool.
The focus is not on sales, rather on relationships.
Are you ready to get serious about this yet? Jump on a User Orientation webinar, and let’s start by taking baby steps together.
On Friday I wrote How To: Import Contacts Into JibberJobber Without Creating Duplicates, explaining how we do a dup check before you import… it’s a pretty nifty tool/feature.
I want to address a different question from Michael’s original message to us, where he says:
>> … my contacts from [LinkedIn, Outlook, and Facebook] are constantly changing so all of this will then need to be updated within JibberJobber to stay current.
Yes, those three databases will change… but I want to think about this “need to be updated in JibberJobber” idea.
If you add a new friend in Facebook, do they really need to be in JibberJobber?
If you add a new contact in Outlook, or in LinkedIn, do they need to be in JibberJobber?
I would suggest that they do not need to be in JibberJobber.
I have new additions to LinkedIn regularly, as well as new additions to my email contact list. I do not regularly update them in JibberJobber.
I put a lot of people in JibberJobber, adding more contacts there per week than any other place (probably more than my email, LinkedIn and Facebook combined). But I’m not too worried about have any of them in sync.
This is because JibberJobber is my central networking, relationship and tracking tool. When we get serious in our relationship, I’m not worried about you being a “friend” in Facebook. I’m not worried about connecting with you in LinkedIn. I’m not even that worried about you ending up in my email contact list (although just by emailing me you are already in that tracking system).
But I WILL get you into JibberJobber. I’ll track your contact information (as I get it – I might have the email address at first, and eventually a phone number or two), and I’ll track the important conversations we have.
I’m guessing 70%+ of my Log Entries are created with Email2Log. This means that with very little effort, I’m able to keep my central relationship tracking tool (JibberJobber) updated with active contacts, and our email conversations.
If we have an active relationship, I’m likely emailing you. Since it’s so easy to get a new Contact into JibberJobber with Email2Log, and the email becomes a Log Entry, I do a lot of my data entry with that tool.
This means that even though JibberJobber isn’t in sync with my other networking tools, it does have the most important, current relationships in the system.
Don’t get overwhelmed by trying to keep all of your systems in sync… let’s just focus on tracking what we need to track. The beauty of this is, if you do decide to put someone into JibberJobber that is in Facebook, (1) it’s easy to do, and (2) it’s easy to copy/paste whatever data you need from Facebook when it is the right time.
I got a great question from Michael about importing, and the potential for creating duplicates. In short, he is asking about importing regularly… let’s say monthly. If I import from LinkedIn today, then I import from LinkedIn next month, aren’t I going to create a whole bunch of duplicates? (you can see his original question and comments in the box at the bottom of this post…
In short, no, it shouldn’t re-import duplicates.
In this very important blog post, where I describe three steps to import from systems like LinkedIn, the third step has an image of the import screen with some yellow rows and some white rows (scroll to the bottom of that post to see the images). The yellow rows are for those records that we think are already in the system…. so, if you import 100 records today, then pull your contacts from LinkedIn (or Google or wherever) next month, and you have 125, the 100 you already imported will be in yellow, and not imported. The left-most column is a checkbox where you can choose to override the option to not import… but in general, as long as the row is yellow (and in that case, the checkbox to import will be unchecked), you will not create new duplicates each time you import.
That’s pretty cool, huh?
The bottom line is that you will have duplicates… I still get them and I know all the tricks. For example, let’s say I have John Doe as one of my Contacts. His email is John@Doe.com. He emails me from his personal email address (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I reply back with the Email2Log feature without really thinking about it. I don’t take the time to see if the hotmail email is on his record… I just shoot a reply back and… well, I get a duplicate.
This could be frustrating, but really, it’s so easy to clean up and MERGE the duplicates that not only do I not worry about it, it isn’t an urgent need to merge the duplicates. I can continue to put Log Entries on both records… and when I finally get around to it, merge them, and all Log Entries are merged under the one record. It makes duplicates a minor nuisance, but not a mess that you might think it would be.
Here’s Michael’s original question and comments, which I thought was too darn cool to just summarize as a question (Michael, thanks for the kind words!). I’ve took the liberty to throw a comma in here, and make other visual changes to his comment:
A frequently asked question from newbies is how do I get started? What do I do first? Then what do I do?
This is kind of a hard question to answer because it kind of depends on how you work, what you are trying to accomplish, etc. But let me take the question 10,000 feet up and assume that I’m advising my mom (hi mom!) on how to get started using JibberJobber. Let’s say my mom just got laid off and is looking for a new job. What should she do first on JibberJobber?
There really isn’t a first thing to do… there are a few first things to do (yes, I numbered them all #1 on purpose):
1. DO NOT get overwhelmed. This is a mental thing… but the first thing I want you to think about is that you can do this. Look, the job search is a complex thing. You have to organize and manage A LOT of information and data. Who you meet, their contact info, what you talked about, when you need to follow-up. What your target companies are, who works there, what version of which resume did you share with who, and when you need to follow-up (and with who, and how). What jobs you are interested in, when you applied to what jobs, how did you apply, how do you follow-up, are you networking into that company, etc. I this was simply a linear, logical process, it could be easier to manage, BUT we’re dealing with human beings here. There is not right way to do anything (like interview) that works every single time, in every company, in every industry, for every job. You have to be totally on top of your game. Having said that, JibberJobber can help you with a lot of this complexity. Instead of feeling like you are drowning in information, and overwhelmed with complexity, use JibberJobber to help organize and manage. One of my earliest users and evangelists said “JibberJobber is my virtual assistant.” I love that he thought of it that way – let it help you not feel overwhelmed.
Further, there is a lot you can do in JibberJobber, but as you get started I want you to not worry about what you can do, but focus on what you should do. In general, your job search should be about networking and follow-up (and of course, a lot more, but that is a critical part of your job search strategy). Start there. You can ignore the other features until you are ready for them.
1. Think of JibberJobber as a long-term career management tool. You will collect a lot of information, or as I like to call it, “intelligence,” in your job search. Names, numbers, email addresses, who works where, who interviewed you, who you liked and who was a complete jerk, what you talked about, when you followed-up, etc. Can you imagine collecting all of this important information and then throwing it away? I have heard from too many job seekers who have found their dream job and within months, or usually a few years, found themselves in transition again. The new “career management” is to change jobs regularly… please, please, please don’t treat your time on JibberJobber, and the data you collect, as a temporary band-aid solution. What you do here, now, should help you for the duration of your career!
1. Sign up for the JibberJobber Orientation. We do these almost every Wednesday. Sign-up here. If you can’t attend a live one, schedule ten minutes a day and watch a recording in parts. Speaking of ten minutes, we do a “Focus Friday” each Friday where we (a) focus on one feature/topic for just ten minutes, and (b) stay on and answer your questions. You can sign up once and then just attend the Focus Friday webinars you can.
1. Import contacts from LinkedIn, Outlook, Gmail, etc. A lot of people like to come into JibberJobber and see contacts there. LinkedIn doesn’t make it super easy to export contacts (here’s how you do it), but you usually get contacts out of your other systems into a csv format. You can then import those into JibberJobber. You can also SYNC your contacts between JibberJobber and Gmail, which allows you to put your JibberJobber Contacts onto your phone in the phone’s native contacts app. I’m not going to say this is a critical “getting started” step, but a lot of people want to do it (which is fine).
1. Set up your Email2Log and use it right now. This is easily the coolest, most powerful feature in JibberJobber, and I use it multiple times every day. The concept is this: when you send an email, put a special and unique-to-you email2log email address in the BCC field. The email will go to JibberJobber where we will (a) create new contacts, if the other recipients are not already your contacts in JibberJobber, and (b) it will take your email and make it a Log Entry. This is SO VERY powerful and cool, and it easily saves me 30+ minutes a day from doing all this administrative stuff by hand.
1. Enter a new Contact, Company and Job. You can enter them in any order… it doesn’t matter which you enter first. Put in a recruiter with only the information that really matters (does a fax, or street address really matter? Probably not.). Put in a job the recruiter sent to you (or one you found on Indeed). Enter a contact, even if it is just you. This is easy stuff, but it’s the core of JibberJobber, and you’ll likely be doing this a fair amount over the next few weeks.
1. Create a Log Entry and Action Item. Once you have a Contact, Company or Job in JibberJobber, go to the Detail Page of that record and create a Log Entry. For example: “I had lunch with Jason today. We talked about xyz, I need to follow-up on abc.” Then, click the Action Item link and put a date to follow-up. This is another core feature in JibberJobber, and should help you keep things from slipping through the cracks. Your job search, and career management, is about “nurturing relationships” and “follow-up” and this is how you manage that.
There is more you can do. This is probably just 10% of the functionality… but this is the GETTING STARTED advice I would give my mom. Pretty simple, right?
Really, make sure you get on an orientation webinar, and please do not hesitate to ask us for help. When you ask us for help, you help us understand where people are getting stuck, which can help many other people!
This is pretty easy to do. The report you can get to by following the instructions below can be used for UI claims as well as to send to an accountability partner (aka, coach).
Step 1: Get to the Log Entries and Action Items Report. You can do this by clicking on the word Logs (from the main menu) or mouse over Reports and click on the link:
Step 2: Check what is displaying in the blue box. By default we show you everything, but we remember any customizations you make. I’m guessing you’ll want to change what is showing… just click the “Change” link to filter down what you want to see (and print out):
Step 3: Yeah, I knew you would want to change something. At the very least you will likely want to narrow down the date range that you show – you don’t want to print everything… right? You can filter this down very nicely (like, check the Jobs box and uncheck the other four):
Step 4: Click to print. Once you click Change, and you see the filtered results, click on the Actions button and from the dropdown, click Print Log Entries and Action Items. This will bring up the print dialog, and you should know what to do from there
A relationship management tool. Not JibberJobber, because JibberJobber is not optimized for what they need to do (many people in the office accessing records, people “owning” a contact, or even one conversation, etc.).
And job seekers shouldn’t use a normal CRM because it is not optimized for a job seeker. It’s probably 80 to 90% good enough, but there are things that job seekers need to do that CRM doesn’t address. And most job seekers don’t need the sales pipeline stuff that is forefront of most CRM tools.
My point is, though, that if you want to WIN, and crush the competition (well, VCs want to do that, I’m not saying you want to CRUSH anyone), you need to be more serious and purposeful about your networking, tracking, follow-up, etc.
Check out this part, under the subtitle: It’s all about the ecosystem
Manage relationships. MANAGE RELATIONSHIPS! It is an astonishingly simple idea, isn’t it? Job seekers do it on the band-aid called Excel… which eventually gets ripped off and thrown away (and all of that great information is lost!).
I want to empower YOU to disrupt your job search by using this astonishingly simple idea, which is handed to you on a silver platter called JibberJobber.
Are you serious about your job search?
Are you serious about your career?
Then get serious about JibberJobber, which is the tool to use from now until the end of your career, to help you manage relationships.
Read the article for more inspiration… and get on a webinar to learn how to use JibberJobber better. It is time!
The most popular email address people use to sign up for JibberJobber is Gmail. It is clearly the leader, as far as the people who are attracted to a more sophisticated job search / relationship tool. Juno is not popular anymore, although every once in a while I get someone who signs up with a Juno account.
Let me share some advice with regard to your email service provider, other than the branding issue that we talked about yesterday.
Get an email address that you can always “own.” I hate seeing people sign up with certain email addresses. For example, if you are getting laid off, WHY IN THE WORLD are you signing up for JibberJobber with your soon-to-be old work email address? In a few weeks or months you won’t have access to that account, which will make things like password retrieval a headache. Worse, someone at your old company might be able to hijack your account… if they have control over your old work email, they can “request password” from any site that has your email on it, change the password, and you’ve just lost it.
Don’t use your ISP’s email address. Another thing that makes me cringe is seeing people sign up with a Comcast or some other ISP. Why? Because ISPs come and go. Maybe yours has been around forever, but what if YOU come and go? You know how easy it is to switch to another ISP. What if, one day, you decide to dump your ISP? Then what happens to your email? You’ll have to send out the famous/notorious “my email has changed…” This could have been avoided if you got a Gmail or outlook (or other like email) address.
Okay, so privacy is kind of an issue. It shouldn’t be, though. If you use Gmail, you should know you don’t have much privacy. Do you want Google to tap into your private life, or do you want the NSA to tap into it? At least both organizations have different objectives. What some people do is use all of Gmail’s products (search, images, maps, etc.) and a different company’s email (like outlook.com), just so Gmail doesn’t have 100% of your information and browsing curiosities. I don’t do that, but I know a lot of people do.
So there you go – a few thoughts about email issues. Good luck!
In this eight-year-old blog post, I give my opinion (read: OPINION) about what your email provider says about you. I talk about gmail, juno, aol, hotmail, mac, your employer, and your own private domain name.
1. What do you use?
2. What do you think? Are people really judging others based on the email address – the part after the @ symbol – and perhaps discounting you as someone who is obviously behind-the-times?
I saw this blog post somewhere… I thought it was going to be a junky, unqualified article written by an entry level writer or someone who was writing nine points for SEO… but then I noticed it was written by Sultan Camp. Sultan works with veterans and helps them land their next gig. He’s a military recruiter. He’s definitely qualified to make these observations, and I know that he shares them in the spirit of helping you NOT make the mistakes he lists.