Through the Eyes of the Bold: Database

A lot of dealers I have talked to recently do not have a database of customers and potential clients that they continually communicate with. Through the eyes of the bold, that is the very first thing that gets purchased and a thing that gets almost constant use. So, I've mentioned this before, but let's take a look at the database.

First, you want the best one you can get and you want to be able to choose the businesses that you want. My thinking is pretty much every one. In a city with about 50-80,000 people, that should have around 2,000 business names give or take. Sure, you want contractors and there are a lot of those designations, but you also want markets and dog groomers and a wide range of businesses. Don't think about just the construction trade. That is good, but you need to diversify. Today, contractor business is way off, but there is much more business to be had through other business types.

Second, make sure the list has SIC codes so you can search your listing by type of business. It would be better to have the SIC codes translated perhaps, but the number will work fine if you have a legend describing the type of business next to the SIC code. Very important.

Third, I recommend that you have access to this list as a database that you can download into a customer relations program like ACT!, Maximizer and such. You only need to buy it once and then import it. You will be building on it from here on. Some offer you to go online and access the information, but I prefer to buy the list and have rights to use it how I see fit. If it costs more, it is worth it.

Fourth, the department manager controls the list and the list needs to be modified by the commercial activities administrator preferably. We want all data going in the same way if possible. We will treat this database as solid gold and polish it and care for it. It is solid gold.

Fifth, print a list of addresses with PO Boxes and Box addresses. We really want street addresses. Analyze this list to see which to keep and which to discard. The list will aid in our face to face prospecting, but a PO Box will not help us with that.

Budget permitting, I recommend sending a mailer to the entire database quarterly with address correction requested on the mailer. This will help us update the database. Worst case must be once a year.

Now that you've made a good choice of database, bought it and installed it, you are ready to use it. We will deal with this aspect tomorrow.

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