Russell Conwell once told a famous story called “Acres of Diamonds." It’s about a farmer who sold everything to travel the world, looking for diamonds so he could become rich. He died penniless, never knowing that the farm he sold had been built over a diamond mine. If the farmer had looked under his own feet, he would have found what he was seeking, without ever leaving home.
Are you standing amidst your own Acres of Diamonds, without even knowing it?
You could be, if you never review your CRM database.
Make friends with your CRM
It’s exciting to add a pile of fresh business cards to your contact database after a trade show. Welcoming new customers and sending out proposals, that’s fun. A good salesperson is always adding new prospects into his pipeline, because new prospects turn into new customers, right?
There’s even more money, buried deep in your CRM.
If you’ve kept in touch with an old prospect for a couple of years, and they think of you as friendly, competent, and helpful, they will buy from you when the time is right.
Until that time, they need to be reminded of you. Regularly.
Keeping in touch + keeping track = long-term relationship.
You can strengthen your personal network just by looking through your entire contact database every month or two. If you notice any names that look unfamiliar, take a few minutes and call, email, or send a card to reconnect. Chances are, if you’re forgetting who they are, they’re forgetting you, too.
Follow these 4 Best Practices for managing your CRM:
1. Take good relationship notes
Your database can be more than just a file of everyone’s contact information. Ace of Sales provides 5 fields for each of your contacts that help jog your memory with details of your contact and your relationship to them.
With database fields like “Buying Motives," “Family & Friends," and “Questions, Ideas, and Actions" your CRM can be a contact-by-contact treasure trove that you can dip into when reaching out to an old contact.
The key to finding this treasure is taking good notes. When you enter any new contact into your CRM, you should always make a note of how you met, where they are in relationship to your sales pipeline, and a few personal details that only a thoughtful friend would remember.
2. Reconnect with referral sources.
Everyone in your contact database is a potential referral partner or a potential client.
When you scan through your contact list, look for people who could be referring you more business. Reconnect with them by sending a personalized email, that has a few pieces of information you share in common, like an inside joke.
Here are some ideas:
- Send them a link to an article about their industry.
- Invite them to an upcoming networking or social event.
- Be candid. Ask them what’s new, and offer a phone appointment to catch up.
- Send them a referral. (This one always works.)
- Is it near a holiday? Send a special email greeting.
3. Send out a weekly or monthly email newsletter.
Don’t have time for contact-by-contact follow up this week? At the very least send a regular email newsletter to remind everyone on your list of who you are and what you do.
They don’t even have to open up your newsletter, and it’s still a win for you. Just by seeing your name in their inbox, it counts as a “soft touch." They will see your name, and remember who you are.
This matters big time when someone asks them later, “Do you know anybody who….?"
If they haven’t heard from you since last December, they might not drop your name. If you’re sending out e-zines, you’re the first one that comes to mind.
4. Define your CRM style.
How often do you want to connect with each person in your network? Do you want to call, email, or send a printed card? How often? What kinds of contacts should get more frequent contacts, and which groups need less?
Write down your CRM strategy.
Set a schedule and stick to it like clockwork. Connect with value-driven messages, and your contacts will begin to look forward to the next time you reach out to them.
Average salespeople have a dwindling circle of influence. They only have relationships with those people who they’ve seen (or spoken to) within the last few weeks.
Reach down into your own Acres of Diamonds, and you will unearth profitable relationships every time you dig deeper into your CRM.