Wednesday, April 6, 2011
For contacts' names, phone numbers, emails and snail mail addresses as well as any notes related to that connection, keeping everyone's information centralized within one system makes it easier to keep contacts' data up-to-date and to access those details quickly whenever they are needed. However, how do you make an address book really operate as a tool to encourage your great success? Read on for tips to best utilize your address book...
1. Use what works for you. Test different options to see if your personality and specific needs mesh best with a paper or electronic option. With smartphones that sync with cloud technology as well as small paper options, either can be as mobile as needed to update contacts' information as you are out and about, but there is no "right" or "wrong" option; just select whichever option is best for you.
2. Be clear and honest with yourself about what you consider a "contact" you'd like in your address book. This would preferably be someone with whom you plan to interact regularly or with whom you'll do business... Not everyone from whom you collect a business card will qualify as a contact to go in your address book. However, since you still want access to the contact info for those that do not make the cut, I recommend scanning their business cards into your computer with NeatDesk and, then, uploading those scans into a "Networking" notebook in your Evernote account, allowing you to easily search for their information should it be needed down the road.
3. Update the information for those contacts in your address book regularly, especially as the details of their information change. The most useless tool is one with out-of-date data, like the saying of "garbage in leads to garbage out". Therefore, it is vital to be proactive and stay up-to-date. At least once each quarter, purge contacts you no longer want in your address book, especially if there's no longer a valid reason for them to be there, and, then, review the accuracy of remaining contacts' information.
4. Know upfront what is your goal for using an address book. Choose whether you want to simply manage contacts and their information OR if you want a Customer Relationship Management tool that can add in history of communications or retail trade-cycle management functionality. Do you want a record of interactions you've had or projects that you have worked on together? Do you need to schedule follow-up with this person? If you are fully aware of your goal, you can better use your selected address book tool for achieving it.
5. Utilize all the bells & whistles that come with your address book. Some address book options allow you to connect each contact's record with his / her social media profiles, which is a great way to see what important events might be occurring in that person's life. Some address book options allow you to print labels, which is a great way to alert clients and business partners about important happenings for your company or in your life. Yet, it is very important that you do not get distracted by all the current bells & whistles... Your address book is a tool, and successful use of this tool depends on keeping that in mind whenever you're using it.
What techniques do you use to maximize your address book's effectiveness? Please share in the Comments section below.