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No One Move…I Lost A Contact!


I only wore contact lenses for a short time; I just could not get accustomed to the whole foreign-object-floating on my eyeball thing. However, I have been around contact lens wearers when the all too familiar, dreaded ocular equipment mishap, a lost contact lens, would evoke the ‘No one move!’ alarm.

Today’s offering is not about ocular improvement but is about the loss of an important contact, as in the name, title, address, phone numbers, etc. of a prospect. Maybe you have witnessed a scenario similar to the following:

You meet someone at a trade show, swap cards, review their website, determine this person is worth entry into your contact manager or CRM but are not, at this time, a very real prospect. Nonetheless, you are proud to have recorded such a promising lead.

Several weeks go by and something triggers your memory to call this person but you cannot remember their name or the name of their company. Yes, a good solution would be to have created a reminder but at the time, for whatever reason, you did not.

All you remember is this person had something to do with making equipment that could lead to a joint opportunity. How do you find this lost contact among the thousands in your inventory?

In working with companies on CRM development and prospecting, one of the most overlooked and under-developed aspects of data management is how one catalogs each new contact entry.

Even if one is using Outlook as their ‘CRM’ (Heaven forbid!) they still have the ability to catalog each entry for a most effective and varied query later. Outlook allows one to create as many ‘Categories’ as you want which is the key.

Think of your current contact manager and ask yourself how well you would be able to retrieve the following list of people:

1. People I met at ‘Mega Trade Show’ 2010
2. Business development people of potential strategic partners
3. Anyone that has anything to do with the construction industry
4. People in the construction industry but only working for manufacturers
5. Prospects in the Pacific time zone
6. Contacts that work for a competitor
7. Contacts that previously worked for a competitor…(I could keep going)

Even with ‘Outlook’, I would be able to pull all the above, very quickly.

Though I will admit to suffering from my own bouts of CRS (Can’t Remember Squat) when it comes to remembering who, when, where, what, etc…I am protected from that malady by putting just a little bit to time into how I enter contacts.

When it comes to building new business, losing a contact can be very short-sighted.

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Bobby Darnell is the founder and Principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc. An Atlanta based management consulting group specializing in business development, sales, marketing and profitability as well as executive placement for the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry.

Bobby can be reached at bobbydarnell [at] cmconl.com

www.cmconl.com

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Are You Hitting Into A Net?


I played my first nine holes of golf at the age of eight; I shot a 63, though I did hit from the red tees. Oh yea, and I chipped one in from just off the green on the 7th hole. I still have vivid memories of that ‘round’, playing with my dad, my little plaid golf bag, my junior set of clubs and the name brand of golf balls I used.

I was born to be a golfer and depending on whom you ask; my mother will say I was named after her father, George Robert, but my dad will say I was named after Bobby Jones. Yes, I grew up playing golf and when I was in my early teens, I just knew I would one day wear the Green Jacket.

In Georgia, there are very few days out of the year that one cannot play golf. I do remember as a young teen asking my father for one of those nets you can hit into in your garage. I thought this would be perfect for me so I could groove my swing even when I was not able to play. Now, you should know that there were very few things my dad denied me when it came to golf but this was one of them, without hesitation, he said, “No way!”

I was shocked…this seemed like a no-brainer. When I asked why, his response was, and still is, one of the most profound pearls of wisdom I have carried with me through the years. He explained that while hitting into a net is great for developing all aspects of one’s swing, it prevents you from seeing the results.

In other words, you could hit 1,000 golf balls into the net and feel as if you have perfected your stance, grip, back stroke, down stroke and follow through, but unless you know where the ball ends up, you could be doing nothing more than developing bad habits.

This rings true for business. Too often business owners go through the motions, hurrying about, in and out of meetings, chasing deadlines, rushing from one project or task to the next but rarely take time to survey results. As long as there is money in the checking account to pay bills, things are fine. They are indeed, hitting into a net.

It is important to take time to review certain practices and processes as greater success comes through being able to fully understand the results of your actions. How effective is your marketing; your prospecting; your follow up on proposals; your pitch to close ratio?

How old is your website? (Do you still have one that is ‘justified left’?)

How flexible is your marketing? Are you still waiting to get rid of the 2,100 pieces still sitting in the box from when you printed 2,500 of them to justify the cost?

When was the last time you did your sales presentation in front of a peer who could give you an objective review?

Remember, if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it. Make sure you are not hitting into a net but rather able to see, measure and record your final results.

Just like in golf, when it comes to building new business, getting to the green is a lot easier when you don’t have to go through the woods.

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Bobby Darnell is the founder and Principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc. An Atlanta based management consulting group specializing in business development, sales, marketing and profitability as well as executive placement for the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry.

Bobby can be reached at bobbydarnell [at] cmconl.com

www.cmconl.com