Follow Up, Vol 1 - Recordkeeping

I was thinking of keeping track and following up with customers and remembered this excerpt from a book I wrote in 1990 called Accepting the Sales Challenge:

Next is recordkeeping. This is part of the numbers game. Understanding numbers and their importance and value. We need to keep good records. Can you imagine a bank not keeping good records of each transaction. It would get out of control in a hurry. It's not much different for a salesman, yet so few keep good records even though they may understand the reasoning behind it. Although, I don't know if I agree with the statement I just made. If they really and truly understood the reasoning for good, solid recordkeeping, I think that they would not do without it. Still, few do so.

What kind of record-keeping? All kinds. If you talk to a prospect and don't record their name, address, phone number, interests, special needs, etc., how in the world could you ever hope to follow through with them for a future possible sale? This is one kind of record-keeping. Who are you talking to and is it worth recording?

Along the same lines, your owners. Those who have purchased from you. Do you want them to purchase again at some future time? Do you think it is worth recording as much information about your sale and your owner as possible in order to give you the advantage of perfect recall in the future? Leave it to the secretaries? You better find a damn good one and pay her well and have a back up ready. Help is great, but don't leave the really important stuff to someone else.

Follow up opportunities come from good records. In his book, "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," Harvey MacKay talks about his "MacKay 66", an in depth report on valuable prospects that is kept on their important clients. And it really goes into depth. It requires a lot more work, but the rewards have made his business succeed where others have failed. Selling is a people to people affair, and the more you know about your prospect, the better your chances of selling them and re-selling them and building a great business relationship with them. Your mind will remember all the data, no computer can match it, but it is not very good at recall, so the records are necessary if you want to do well in sales.

Gather as much information as you can and find a way to store it in a way that you can put your hands on it when you need it. This is very important. Don't be worried about gathering too much information. Too much is better than not enough. You can always buy another file cabinet or hire another secretary, but without the records you cannot afford either.

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