Let’s get your contact book in order! Even if you are a mess in every other aspect of your life, try to be organized here…unless you have a perfect memory and can remember every conversation you’ve ever had, with whom, as well as when and where. Then you probably don’t need to write anything down anyways. If so, I am highly impressed and extremely jealous!
So how can we normal people organize our contacts easily and effectively?
1. Sort Business from Personal Contacts
Let’s start with the key first step – separate your Business from your Personal contacts. Why is this so important? It will put you in the right frame of mind when speaking with a Business contact if you can immediately identify a person with whom you have a professional relationship.
From there, focus on your Business contacts…let’s hope you know your personal contacts already! Create a detailed profile for each person with all their information you can find about them (numbers, email, social networks, etc.), including personal details such as hobbies and family status. A lot of big companies are doing this in their Customer Service Departments to provide better service and show that they “know” their customers. This works well for them, and it can work for you too!
2. Keep Notes About Contacts
Take a moment to write a note as a reminder of your conversations and interactions with each contact – what did you speak about? When are you planning on meeting? What information have you already sent? It can be as simple as, “send Billy Bob a quote by the end of the week” or “Joe Shmitt is interested, but not convinced…send sample”. Using an activity log will also show the time lapse between conversations and which customers to follow up with who have not been contacted recently.
The most important tip about keeping notes – have the information available in real time! Especially if you’re job requires a lot of moving around. You need to have access to your notes and customer information immediately at all times. Have it available on your phone, and better yet, sync it with your computer to make sure it is always up-to-date.
3. Identify the Status of Contacts
Once you have all their information in place, create a status for them. Are they a “lead”? Are you currently “in progress”? Are they an existing “customer”? Then make sure they are labeled as such – and keep it up up-to-date.
Also, use a color coding system. Colors are a great way to easily identify the status of your contact quickly.
**Follow these steps and you will be amazed at how your relationship with your contacts improve. You may not have a photographic memory, but everyone else will think you do!