If you’ve been in this business for any length of time, then you know the importance of keeping in touch with your contacts. You probably have some mechanism in place for doing that, but is it the right mechanism? Every couple years, I do a deep-dive into all of the technological advances that have been made since I implemented my current system — just to be sure I’m handling my contacts with the highest-level efficiency and effectiveness (more on why LOs need to be working smarter in this market, here).
If you’re of a certain age, you probably remember when everyone walked around with a Day-Timer or another pencil-and-paper-based system for tracking contacts and meetings. Now that we can add, share, sort, edit, sync, and remove contacts in a few seconds, it’s easier than ever to manage and utilize our contacts effectively; but newer technology is only better if we learn how to use the tools well. Here are a few ideas to make sure you’re managing your contact list correctly:
Choose an App
Before we can worry too much about how we’re using our tools, we need to choose a tool to use. Realistically, it doesn’t even matter which tool you use. Whether you are using Google, LinkedIn, the Address Book app, or a CRM, the functionality is nearly the same, it’s just the layouts that are different. So, pick one you like and stick with it. If you’re a Google person, use Google Contacts. If you’re an all-things-Apple devotee, the Address Book app will probably be your go-to. Whichever you choose, make sure that everything is in one place, and you keep it up to date.
Synchronize Your Social Media
You’re probably already dealing with maintaining your presence across various platforms — from your professional and personal social-media pages to your blog. If you want to stay top-of-mind with your connections, you need to have all of your social media synchronized, so that no birthday or anniversary, no promotion, and no job change slips past you. There are several solutions available, like FullContact and Hootsuite, that are easy to use to get your sites in sync.
Using Your CRM
Now it’s time to explore how best to use your contact maintenance tool of choice. If you want to maximize your contact-list utilization, you should try to regularly keep up with these things:
- Personal Blogs: It’s unrealistic to read them all, but keeping a link to their blog together with their contact info will give you the opportunity to have a great opener whenever you’re about to meet them. This is especially helpful if it’s someone you don’t know very well or don’t interact with regularly.
- Birthdays and Anniversaries: One of the best ways to open old doorways is a well-timed greeting card with a little nudge toward getting together or a catch-up chat. Keeping on top of all your contacts’ important life milestones is good for your business and your personal relationships. Keep in mind that a birthday greeting on LinkedIn or Facebook is probably good enough for 75% of your contact list, but for the top 25%, you should do something a bit more personal.
- Personal Lives and Family: Continuing with personal relationships, it’s always impressive if you remember how many kids there are, along with their names and ages; or the husband’s name and occupation, or if there’s a baby on the way, or if they’ve just gone through a divorce — you get the idea. It is, of course, impossible to remember everything, but we can do our best. Put all these notes into your contact database, no matter how trivial they seem, and they just might come in handy in the future.
- Roles and Titles: Whenever you make a new connection, make a note of what their job is. And then the next time somebody asks you if you know a good CPA or a reliable web designer, you can find that information with a quick search through your database.
These solutions are simple on their own, but may take some time to get fully implemented. Once it’s done, though, you’ll see that the effort was worth it.
Good luck and let me know how any of these tips may have helped you!
If you’re a loan officer, sales manager, or branch manager considering new opportunities, don’t hesitate to reach out to hear about some terrific opportunities.