7 Questions with Zvi Band
Zvi Band on Making the Most of Your Personal Network to Achieve Your Goals
Zvi Band is the co-founder and CEO of Contactually, a CRM that empowers professionals to build authentic and lasting relationships. Zvi is an engineer, an entrepreneur, a developer, and a strategist based in DC. He has been named a Washingtonian Tech Titan three times and has been featured in the New York Times and the Washington Post. Zvi Band's recently published book, Success Is in Your Sphere, dives into the importance of deepening the relationships within your network. We chatted with him about his relationship-building philosophy and the concrete strategies folks can employ to make their relationships more meaningful.
- You talk about the CAPITAL strategy for deepening relationships in. How does this approach work?
The root of the strategy is understanding that our sphere of influence—those professional relationships we believe will help us achieve our long-term objectives—take people, process, and systems in order to ensure we stay top of mind for them. How many contacts do you have on LinkedIn who wouldn’t know who you were if you picked up the phone?
Where we need to is with a clear idea that only we can answer individually: What are my goals? What do I hope to achieve? From there, we can walk through CAPITAL:
- Consistency - Relationship building pays dividends in the long term, but we often struggle to optimize for anything other than short-term gains. Being intentional around acting repeatedly, regardless of short-term outcomes, is fundamental.
- Aggregate - Remember when you or your family could track everyone you know in a paper Rolodex by the house phone? Where we communicate, and who we communicate with, is scattered amongst dozens of digital and physical channels. Leveraging a database or not, what’s important is to get a single authoritative source of everyone you know or have known—regardless of relevancy.
- Prioritize - We tend to bring order to the chaos we see by organizing people into groups with common traits. The best way to focus your limited time and resources, however, is to clearly state your relationship goals, then identify the types of contacts that will best be able to contribute to that.
- Investigate - We are in a time where there is more information available about us and our contacts than ever before, but we must learn how to harness that in order to build a relationship. This includes the small talk in a conversation, doing our online research, and referencing the social objects that help bridge the gap between a pure transaction and a personal connection.
- Timely Engagement - To combat the time-decay of memory, and therefore relationships, we have to be able to identify cadences or specific triggers that would cause us to engage, while still being perceived as authentic.
- Adding Value - No one likes to be “followed up” with - so why would we treat it as that? We all seek valuable personal connections, and the more we are willing to invest (not just monetarily), the more we can increase mindshare.
- Leverage - To increase our effectiveness and likelihood of staying consistent, we should seek methods to make it easier and easier to execute. Whether it’s investing in tools (better CRMs), processes (stored email templates), or people (virtual assistants), making relationship marketing more efficient will pay off over the long term.
- What’s the number one takeaway you want people to walk away from Success Is in Your Sphere with?
If you believe relationships are your most important asset, then let’s treat our sphere of influence as such: an asset. Just like the dollars in our bank account, our networks can grow, contract, be forgotten—or be invested in. Most importantly, it takes strategy and long-term thinking to grow that asset into a force to be reckoned with.
- How can political candidates and issue advocates utilize the CAPITAL strategy to foster long-term relationships that get results?
CAPITAL is designed for anyone who wants to achieve some professional objective by leveraging the relationships they already have or may establish in the future. If you’re a political candidate or advocate and haven’t yet latched on to how critical relationships at all points in an issue or campaign or appointment’s lifecycle—I wish you luck!
You can apply CAPITAL in your own way—at the core, our focus here is to nurture relationships with people that we believe will be strong partners with us in the future. One somewhat unique aspect here is to identify people who, themselves, hold potential for the future. Amazing people become even more amazing over time, as Mastermind Dinners author Jayson Gaignard notes.
One need look no further than former president Bill Clinton—who is known to be obsessive about his network from an early age, sending out thousands of handwritten cards even while in office. If he could have amassed information on 10,000 people… on index cards… in a box…. you can figure out how to drop some information into a spreadsheet or CRM!
- Do you have any tips for people who are running large organizations who are hoping to develop better relationships with thousands of members?
Whether you have a large organization or a large database that you want to nurture, one of the fundamental concepts that we’ve seen people adopt to their benefit is that relationships are not homogenous in nature. You can prioritize your membership by their relative importance (e.g. donor potential), or by who is engaging with you (e.g. looking at who is actually opening up that monthly newsletter!). That being said, there is a greater trend among some organizations to reduce their normal communication—should you be sending a mailing every month that most people won’t read or try and have one real, authentic interaction with each constituent once a year?
- Does your approach to relationship building in the professional sphere apply to your personal life as well?
I wouldn’t necessarily say that my wife and I are bucketing our college friends, or prioritizing people based on whether they have kids our daughters’ age, no :-). That being said, I believe your professional goals should be personal, in that it aids you with career or larger life goals. For me, I want to be surrounded by entrepreneurs and mentors who inspire me and I hope to work with in the future, which transcends objectives tied to one business or role.
- You recently sold your company Contactually to Compass. What’s in store for you next?
Our mission is far from over at Contactually, and I am thankful that Compass is supportive of our vision. As much as we had built out and achieved at Contactually, we know we were just scratching the surface of what’s possible when you apply systems thinking to our most important asset (our relationships), and now have the resources of Compass to help us accelerate that vision unfolding.
- Are there any books or podcasts that have caught your attention lately that folks should be aware of?
One of the personal improvements I’ve made recently is listening to audiobooks on my commute—so, I’ve powered through a ton of great books recently. Yuval Noah Harari’s duo of Sapiens and Homo Deus I believe are must-reads to understand our past and our future. On the podcast side, I continually find The Jordan Harbinger show to be excellent—he’s one of the best interviewers online.
Thanks to Zvi Band for answering our questions on the importance of harnessing your existing relationships to achieve your business and political goals. Want to learn about other kinds of tools that can help jumpstart your next endeavor? Check out our 100 Best Campaign Tools list!