Hey Contractors, Contact Management For Low Tech People

By: Ron Roberts

Have you ever taken the time to sit down with an old timer and ask him the key to his success? Amazing what you can learn if you are willing to listen to retired businessmen. Many of their great tricks will still work today.

I bring this up because of a conversation I had last week with a semi-retired salesmen named Marv Zwickey. While he was rattling on and on about his long career, Marv suddenly got all excited about showing me his contact management system.

And what an amazing, paper-based system it was! Marv's system is perfect for those of you who avoid computers at all costs. The system is brilliant in its simplicity, efficiency, and effectiveness.

Marv uses 3x5 cards and two small file drawers. That's it. No pads. No calendars. Just 3x5 cards and two metal file drawers. Marv probably spends less time organizing his calls with cards than most of us do with computers.

What's really amazing is that within 10 seconds of receiving a prospect's phone call, Marv will have the notes from all of his previous conversations in his hands and be sounding as if he is working completely from memory. That scores big points with his prospects.

In the first file drawer, Marv stores each prospect's contact information on a single 3x5 card. On the front of the card is the contact's name, company address, phone numbers, etc. On the back of the contact card he writes the date where he can find the card containing his notes in the second drawer. The contact cards are stored alphabetically.

In the second drawer, he lines up three sets of cards, numbered 1 to 31, giving him a three month daily "calendar". Behind those 93 cards he has a card for each month going out one year.

Marv schedules every prospecting phone call, just like any good contact management system should. He stores each prospecting note card behind the date his next call is to be made.

When he gets to his office in the morning, he pulls out the cards for the calls to be made that day. He makes his calls, writes down his notes, and decides what his next step is (usually scheduling the next phone call). At the end of the day, he rotates his numbered card to the back of the three months.

Next, he grabs the corresponding contact card and writes down the date of where the note card will be stored.

When someone calls him, he quickly pulls the contact card, looks at the back of the card for the date he wrote on it, opens the notes drawer, goes to the date and pulls out the card with his notes for that contact. Less than 10 seconds. Flawless contact management using 3x5 cards.

So, if you hate computers, don't want to carry a Palm Pilot, or just really like a simple system, give Marv Zwickey's a try. You just might love it.

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