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.
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