by Jan Wallen
Imagine that you have your own personal sales assistant. Ready to go at any time of day or night, keeps the same hours that you keep, never gets tired, and never says they’re too busy.
Does this sound too good to be true? All it takes is a contact manager like ACT! or Goldmine and others. And a bit of patience and planning.
Here are some of the things that your contact manager can do for you:
- Auto-magically enter contact information from networking meetings, expos and speaking engagements
- Send E-Mails easily and file the messages
- Send out information, bonuses, special reports and proposals
- Send follow-up E-Mails and letters automatically
- Tell you where you are with your sales opportunities during the month
- Tell you who to follow up with and when to follow up
- Set up calls, meetings and speaking engagements by time zones and geography
- Set calls and meetings by the product or service your client is interested in
- Put the sales that are most likely to close at the top of your To-Do or Call-back list
- Automatically put follow-up calls on your call list
- Print your list of calls to make each day
- Look up someone who calls you and see your notes from the last call, so you sound really professional
- Look up everyone you met at a specific networking meeting or online networking group
- Look up everyone you met or talked to this month
Customers are better informed and make decisions differently than a few years ago. They demand superb service and expect you to know them. When you keep track and easily look up the notes from your last conversation, they know that you’re really interested in them, and want to solve their challenges. ACT! can be the starting point of knowing them so well you surprise them.
I’ve worked with, tested and evaluated many contact managers and CRM systems during my career in sales, and ACT! is the easiest software to use. You don’t even have to be very computer savvy to set it up and start using it. It is important to use it consistently once you set it up. You can’t look up information that’s not there.
ACT! has a powerful Lookup feature, and even better is the Keyword Search. Here’s an example of how I use it. I speak at events, and ask people to give me their business card if they want to subscribe to my free E-Mail newsletter. That means I have a lot of cards, which I put into ACT! I always enter where I met the person (Chamber of Commerce, IVWCC, etc.) and a sentence or two in the Notes that indicate what that person asked me about or something I remember about them. In Notes, you can jot notes down, and they don’t have to be complete sentences – enough to jog my memory, or more importantly to look up later on. One person recently told me she had a tough time writing her Elevator Speech. I wrote “Elevator Speech” in the Notes. I told her I’d send her some tips. I continued to add contacts rather than break my focus and send the Elevator Speech tips to her right then. At the end of the morning, I looked up the Keyword “Elevator Speech”, found her right away, and sent the tips to her. Another person said she had written a book, and wanted to know how to sell more books at the back of the room whenever she did a speaking engagement. I wrote the subject of her book – career coaching – in the Notes. Some weeks later, I didn’t remember the name of the person who wrote that book, so I did a Keyword Search in ACT! and looked up “career coaching”. Her name came up as well as several other career coaches I know. When I read the Notes again, I knew which career coach was the author of that book.
Whenever you put names are in ACT!, be sure to put it the source of the lead with the expo, organization or meeting name. There are User Fields already set up to do that. Then you can schedule a series of follow-up calls and letters all at once. For example, schedule a call or E-Mail immediately, follow-up a week later, send a letter two months after the expo, call back four months and six months after the expo. Your message and name is in front of them for months after the expo or meeting, not only for a week or two. Not only that, no one else does this, so you’ll be remarkable ( in a positive way) to them.
This can be even more important than responding quickly to a hot prospect. Research shows that people who express interest in a product or service and expect to purchase within 3-6 months are very likely to make that purchase. Getting your message to these people throughout the year is likely to pay off. Most business owners and salespeople give up their follow-up and sales efforts before the customer is ready to buy.
A key is to use it regularly, as with any software. That’s where ACT! makes it so easy. It looks like index cards, not a database, and is pretty self-explanatory to set up and use. It was developed to be easy to use and powerful at the same time.
If you don’t have time or patience to enter names into ACT!, no problem! CardScan, a business card scanner, and AddressGrabber to the rescue!
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© 2000-2005 Jan B. Wallen. All rights reserved.
Jan Wallen is author of “Selling Your Expertise — Turn What You Know into Cash Flow Now™”. How are some people turning their knowledge into wealth?