Today’s guest post is by my good friend, Hazel Walker.

The most valuable thing you own is your database, to keep it valuable you have to treat it like a garden, constantly maintaining it. Adding people to it, updating contacts, and purging people from it. Just like a garden you need to take a few minutes each week and do some maintenance.

It is also very important that your database be sortable. Clients, Contacts, Referral Sources, Family, Friends. I encourage my clients to categorize people using the VCP Model.

Visibility – these are people you have a very weak relationship with. You might remember their name but little beyond that.

Credibility – these are people who you know, like and have some level of credibility or trust with. The longer you know someone the deeper the credibility may be. In this phase of a relationship you can ask people to connect or refer you.

Profitability – this phase is the one you have with people who are willing to refer business to you on a consistent and high level. It is important that you know who is in your profitability relationships so that you are able to reciprocate. This is the most valuable level in your database.

Most business people find that they have a whole lot of visibility in their network but less high level credibility or profitability. Your goal is to work your network, instead of doing more networking. Once you have your database sorted you will be more effective at your future networking activities.

Everyday spend a little bit of time asking yourself the following questions about the contacts in your database.

1. Who is this person?
2. Where did I meet them?
3. When was the last time that I had contact with this person?
4. Is the information current or up to date?
5. Do I want to reestablish contact with this person?
6. Do I need to know this person?
7. Can I personally use their service or refer their service?
8. Why is this person in my database?
9, Is this person a source of information or possible referrals source?
10. Do I keep them in the database or toss them out?

Now you can start adding new people to your database and have them updated and categorized from the beginning. Nurture your network when you don’t need it and it will be there for you when you do need it.

Hazel is the author of the new best seller Business Networking and Sex, not what you think. She travels the world speaking, consulting and inspiring others to create the business they love for the reasons they choose.