Monday October 1, 2018
One of the most common problems I hear is that my clients have tons of business cards sitting on their desks from people they met at networking events and are paralyzed because they don’t know what to say to continue the conversation. So, the stack grows. Perhaps it moves to a cabinet or a nice binder while all the potential of those relationships goes to waste. Those stacks of business cards are gold mines once the right strategy is in place.
In order to tap into that motherlode, you must get organized. There is always heavy lifting upfront—it takes time to get yourself organized to begin sales conversations. You have to roll up your sleeves and dedicate that time to be effective.
The first step in getting organized is to sort your business cards into categories. The intention is to separate your business cards and contacts you’ve acquired to then add them to a software program called a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. I will share more about what to look for in a CRM shortly.
Additionally, organized records make for easy communication. With the right database, you can easily tap into your records anytime from anywhere with an Internet connection. You will no longer be tied to your filing cabinet, or miss out on opportunities because your business cards are in a binder or on your desk. You won’t be able to hold on to these things as excuses to avoid sales conversations.
Let’s begin the process of categorization. Separate your contacts into five categories:
- Prospects: People you identify as qualified potential clients
- Collaborative Partners: People who have a complimentary service to yours and share the same target audience. You must have a deep connection and trust with these individuals.
- Affiliates: People who don’t have a complimentary service but whom you’d refer if you had the opportunity.
- Vendors: People whose services you are currently using or would potentially use to help your own business. People you would hire.
- Randoms: People you can’t recall much about. They don’t fit into any of the above categories, or you truly do not remember meeting them. Do not throw these away! There is potential for reconnecting with these individuals. This is the only time you get a do-over at a first impression.
When you are physically sorting these business cards, I want you to put them in piles and bundle them together with a sticky note.
Now let’s talk about sorting your existing database, your email contacts or any other digital log of connections. You’ll want to use Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to create a spreadsheet for all five of these categories. You will then want to export your contacts from wherever they are sourced into an Excel spreadsheet. This way you can then copy and paste them from the original lists into the individual spreadsheets for each applicable category. From here you need to investigate and research the right CRM for you! My recommendation.. AllProWebTools. I use this system for contact management, retention, follow-up, sales tracking and reporting, ecommerce, website hosting and management and much more!