Remember when we used to use maps on a driving trip? OK, for anyone under 25, yes we did this, and we did not have to go in a covered wagon! To get to your desired destination, you either went to AAA and got a map, bought one at a gas station or, in the modern times, you went to Mapquest to download, then print out your map.
We got to our location by looking at a piece of paper and it worked pretty well.
After Korean Air Lines Flight 007 carrying 269 people was shot down in 1983 after straying into the USSR’s prohibited airspace, President Ronald Reagan issued a directive making GPS freely available for civilian use, once it was sufficiently developed, as a common good. The first satellite was launched in 1989 and the 24th satellite was launched in 1994. By December 1993, GPS achieved initial operational capability, indicating a full constellation (24 satellites) was available and providing the Standard Positioning Service.
Why do I bring up these facts? Simple, we now use GPS as a way of achieving day-to-day activities whether the unit is installed in your car or you bought a portable GPS device to use while in a motorized vehicle, or just hiking through the woods. We even have an app that is already installed at purchase, or can be downloaded to our phones.
We rely on this technology and it has quickly become part of our culture and the way we do things in our daily lives.
In the world of business and especially selling, we have electronics running our lives as well. Most companies have a customer relationship management program that it uses on a daily basis to run the business and support the staff, whether it’s in sales or customer support.
Customer relationship management is a widely implemented strategy for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate and synchronize business processes, principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service and technical support.The overall goals are to find, attract and win new clients; to nurture and retain those the company already has; to entice former clients back into the fold; and to reduce the costs of marketing and client service. There are as many claims to the first use of the term CRM as there are definitions. But the actual term customer relationship management started in the mid- to late 1990’s and was in full stride by 2000.
I know what you are saying to yourself right about now. “Hal, where the heck are you going with all this?” The answer is a card box, yes I said it for all you old-timers, the trusted old card-box system that has been used for decades. It is still viable depending on the number of customers and prospects.
It is a system where you have three card boxes and plenty of blank index cards (assume 3x5 inches to keep it simple), one has dividers from A to Z to keep your active clients in there. The second one has dividers – from January to December – so you have a place to keep your prospects, and a third one is a junk box, so you don’t have a bunch of business cards of people who are not really prospects lying around.
Once you have a prospect that asks you to call them in November and it is now July, just staple their business card to an index card so you don’t have to write down company address name, telephone, etc. and then put it in the November slot. If they become a client now move them to the corresponding letter in the alphabet in the other card box.
By doing this, clients or prospects are visual. If you don’t turn on your computer and look at a customer relationship management program, you will never find the information. If your active client list and prospects number under 200, think of the card box system. This way, the list is portable, whether you carry it in your car, or place it on your desk.
Hal Becker is a nationally known speaker on sales and customer service. He is the author of numerous business books including two national best sellers “Can I Have 5 Minutes Of Your Time?” and “Lip Service.” Hal’s newest book on sales is titled “Ultimate Sales Book.” He can be reached at Halbecker.com.