In the world we live in, we often find situations where we would like to contact someone, but just can not seem to track them down. With all the tools out there, it should be easy… but often it is frustratingly hard. Here are some things that I have found to be effective. Nothing here is rocket science, but it may give you an idea that you have not thougth of before.
Starting with the obvious, I search my contact list, search my hard drive, and then google the name. This more often than not can work. If this does not work, my secont round starts with LinkedIn and Twitter. The third step is going after the current and former places of work, and then applying that information to the first two steps above. This may trigger relationships with trusted friends that can directly connect me with the missing person. Finally, I reach out to my contacts who are in the ‘Gladwell’ sense are connectors and ask if they know this person, and or, and significant contacts where the subject person recently worked. There are other approaches, and they are outlined by some of my brightest associates.
Below are some ideas from three trusted advisors that I have found useful:
Jeanne Bradford’s Approach
- We have a name:
Look up in Linked In – determine if/how closely I’m linked, and gain additional info on his/her background. If I have a connection, and it’s appropriate, would ask for an introduction. (Appropriate = the link is familiar with our work, and can make a useful introduction that leads to a call/meeting). One can always Google to gain additional information, if available.
- Company but no specific name:
Search LI (LinkedIn) by company name to find the best person based on title Send email through LinkedIn (with my level of service I get 15 emails/month) Google for additional information
Another resource I use occasionally is Jigsaw – although it has not proven to be very accurate.
Tess Roger’s approach:
Linkedin is valuable and the main tool I use to track people down.
Leveraging your contacts is the best way to connect with people if you can….Google is a great tool as well for high level type of searches. They post their bios… If it is on the net, you can find them.
Lead411.com, jigsaw.com, pipl.com.
Robert Neivert’s Approach:
(1) I often Google and find their bios and other info, sometimes from services often just public info. I am looking for affiliations like past companies, clubs they belong too etc. This gives me more things to search on in Linkedin to find a common person if they are not close enough to directly link to me or someone I know.
(2) Senior execs in public companies are in databases such as Hoovers, infousa etc. I sometimes pay some small fee and cherry pick a few names and info from them.
(3) I often will find an association, club, or event that these people are a part of and call them up. Only crappy places will sell you their lists, but often if you sponsor something you can get a good name and title list. The key is to find the club, association or even they go to and get that list. I then use that list on Linkedin etc and expand outward.
(4) Company with no name, is sort of depends what you want, but more often in this case I get access to lists such as Hoovers, Infousa and search by title. I never use Jigsaw the information is too low a quality.
A longer term solution is to do things such as the white paper approach (post a white paper, require registration to get it) etc. But this is a longer topic.