5 Ways You Can Improve Your Client Database Right Now
Your client contact database is the most important thing in your business. Whether you use a CRM or a notebook, consistent and systematized communication with your past clients, potential clients, and allied resources is paramount for building lasting relationships and creating repeat business. This can be difficult without a properly maintained database. In this article we will look at 5 things you can do right now to improve your client contact database and start communicating effectively.
Database – Your list of clients, potential clients, former clients, friends, family, acquaintances, businesses you support, people whose services you use.
CRM – Client Relationship Manager. Software that keeps your database organized, and can automate some communications with the contacts in your database.
Met – A person in your database that you have met personally. This doesn’t indicate a level of relationship only that you’ve met them.
Haven’t met – This is a person in your database that you have not personally met. It could be someone who signed up on your website, or landed in the top level of your sales funnel.
Allied Resource – This is someone who you do business with. It could be your dentist, your mechanic, or a company that your company works directly with. They are in a unique position to refer business to you.
- Your database IS your business. It is the keeper of the most important information about people who could be doing business with you and/or referring business to you.
- Unnecessary clutter and disorganization ruins your communication. Not all the people in your database need to be receiving the same communications. Organize and segregate your contacts to communicate effectively.
- Your database is not simply a place to keep phone numbers and email addresses. It is a place to keep all sorts of data about people that could be creating revenue for your business. The more you know about people, the better you will communicate with them.
- Your database is a living thing. You need to feed it every day. You should always be looking for ways to add to your database.
1. Merge your duplicate entries
This one kind of seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many times you’ve taken John Smith’s information and created multiple contacts for the same person in your phone or your client database. If you have an iPhone, this is done by simply going into your contacts and looking below where it shows your information and says “My Card”, there will be a link there that says “duplicates found” if you have duplicates. Click the link and see which contacts are duplicates and which are unique. You can choose to merge contacts into one card or keep them separate. Similarly, most CRMs have a built-in function within the software that will allow you to seek out and eliminate the duplicate contacts. If you don’t have this function or your client database is in a notebook or a shoebox, you will have to go through everything manually.
Either way you do this, a clutter-free client database will allow you to see who you’re communicating with and eliminate confusion when creating a strategic plan for delivering content.
2. Update contacts with incomplete or incorrect information
If your emails bounce, try to find an updated email address by finding the person on social media or by phoning the person and asking them directly. If they’re on LinkedIn, there’s a good chance you can get their most up-to-date email address. You could also use Facebook messenger. An easy script for phone, text, or messenger is this… “Hello [first name], I hope you’re doing well. I am updating my database and I want to make sure that I have your info correct, and you have my info correct. Is your email address still [email@example.com]?” That’s the gist anyway. You don’t have to sound robotic.
Are your texts not going through? Again, try to get their new phone number. If there’s one thing social media has done for us, it’s allowed us to find people a bit easier than it used to be. You can send an email, messenger, LinkedIn, etc and double check that their phone number is the same. Here’s the thing… if you can’t do either of these, DELETE them from your database. That’s right, get rid of them. There’s no use keeping people you can’t communicate with in your database to clog it up. Don’t delete them from social media, but keep them out of your CRM.
This process should happen on a systematic basis. Every month, 2 months, or quarter, just go through your contacts. Fire off a text to someone you haven’t heard from in a while. If it comes back undeliverable, you know you need to update their information. On the flip side, if they respond, setup a coffee or lunch with them. Stay in front of people and they won’t forget you when they need your products or services.
3. Tag people you have communicated with in the last 6 months
The content you create for your communication campaigns will look differently depending on how recently you’ve spoken with your contacts. It’s good to segregate contacts in a variety of different ways, but one of the best things to do is ask yourself “when was the last time I spoke with that person?”. You can create a field in your CRM or spreadsheet where you record the date of your last communication. So, every time you speak with someone, open it up and change the date. You can then filter your client database by that field to see who it is that you haven’t spoken with in a while. Come up with a special piece that is directly tailored to re-engage these people and get them back into the “recent” category.
This is where it’s important to have a super granular content strategy. You will need a wide variety of content pieces aimed at different stages of relationships and varied interests. You need to know your client database extremely well in order to segregate it in this way. This is one reason why feeding your database new data every time you speak with some is an integral part of daily business operations.
4. Split your client database into 2 categories
The foundation of your client database can be broken down into 2 very generic categories:
- Mets – These are people you have met in person (or I suppose these days, people you have interacted with on Zoom). There is no pre-requisite for how well you know someone in your met list. It’s not an indicator of relationship status. It’s just as simple as it seems.
- Haven’t Mets – Ding ding ding! You’ve guessed it, these are people you have not met in person (or interacted with on Zoom). Again, not a relationship indicator, but a simple yes or no. Have you met them? Most of the time, these are people who filled in a contact form on your website or landed in the top level of a sales funnel.
Your goal for communicating with mets is simple, keep learning about them and stay at the top of their mind as someone who knows things that can help them. Your goals for the haven’t mets is to convert them into mets. Proving your value to haven’t mets is the trick here. They will either “unsubscribe” or want more. If you give them valuable content, they will be excited to see your communication campaign in their inbox and be more likely to use your products and services. Again, the key here is making sure you know as much as you can about the people in your contact list.
5. Add new people you have interacted with recently
Every time you meet someone that could be a potential client or an allied resource, add them to your database. Make sure to include as much data as you know about them. Find their social profiles, input their occupation, and mention their personality type. Your database is not just a book with phone numbers and email addresses, it is full of DATA. It is a living thing and it needs to be fed. New data is gathered every single time you interact with someone, whether it’s your first meeting or your twentieth. Maybe they mention that their wife just started a new job or that their husband just celebrated his birthday. All of these data points are simple to collect and organize, but more importantly they give you a reason to follow up with that person. If someone tells you their wife is pregnant, you now have a pass to check in with them every month and ask how she’s doing. If someone mentions their vacation is coming up, set a reminder to follow up when they return and ask how it went. Other pieces of data: hobbies, civic or volunteer groups they are part of, sports teams, favorite restaurants, names of children, anniversary, and the list goes on! The more you know about people, the better your communication will be with them. But you have to have a system for this. It has to be a priority to spend time on your database every week at the very least. Create a plan for adding to and organizing your client database and you will find that it can bring you increased sales and revenue through lasting relationships.
If you have questions about how this can look getting specific to your business niche, please message me on LinkedIn, or setup a call to chat about your challenges and how to overcome them.
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