One of the main issues I run across when working with both business and residential clients is how to keep track of all the people they meet. For residential – it’s often the soccer coach, the new teacher at school, the parent they met at the school play or the plumber their neighbor recommended. For business clients, it’s the lead on a prospective client, a great website designer or the person who promised to put them in touch with someone who could help them land a grant.
This is what I recommend:
First, have one landing spot for all of your contacts. It could be a small basket, a business card holder, a folder – doesn’t really matter as long as all of the business cards/scribbled notes/post-it all goes there.
Second, use a system such as Outlook on your computer to keep all of your contacts. Paper systems can work well, usually, for someone who doesn’t have a lot of contacts but if you are a busy person or have a business – an electronic system is key. The main reason is … searchability.
But here is the key: Use the notes section for key words so you can actually find that contact again. After all, the best thing about being organized is finding what you need – when you need it.
Say you get a business card from a potential client at a networking lunch. The woman you met has red hair, her kids go to the same pre-school yours did and you talked about both having labrador retrievers. She also knows another client of yours who had said good things about you and your business. Definitely a warm lead. You enter in her information in your contacts database. A week later, you want to follow up with her but can’t for the life of you remember her name. No worries. If your notes section said . . .
- met at NAWBO luncheon May 2010
- red hair/kid at Waldorf/chocolate lab named Chuck
- in book club with Sue Smith
. . . then you could simply type in the “search” box … ‘lab’ or ‘red hair’ or ‘Sue Smith’.
Every contact you have that has that key word will pop up so you can find her, and hopefully land her as a client. She’ll be pretty impressed that you not only followed up but remembered the name of her dog.