By Special Guest Blogger, Michelle Bergquist

How many business cards with little rubber bands wrapped around them do you have on your desk right now? If you’re networking business card pile1_fulland making connections, you probably have a few stacks of business cards strewn about with rubber bands around them all over your desk and workstation, right?

Think about this. Business cards sitting on your desk provide no value to you if you aren’t interacting and communicating with the contacts you’ve met via networking. If you’re like most professionals, finding a way to get all the business cards of people you’ve met into a database or contact management system is a big, big challenge. The other challenge is, once you get your contacts into a database, how do you organize and manage all those contacts and relationships? Below are three tips and suggestions to managing your contacts and relationships more effectively.

1) Have One System
Get all your contacts into one central database or contact management system. Don’t keep clients in one system and prospects in another. Get every single contact you have into one central hub or database. Whether you use Act!, Goldmine, Salesforce.com or some other database system, the first step to managing your contacts more effectively is to keep everyone you know or that you’ve met in one central system.

2) Code Your Relationships
Give a “code name” to your contacts and relationships as you enter them into your database. From clients to prospects to referral sources, give contacts a title as to their relationship to you. Lumping everyone into one database does you no good if you can’t tell what relationship someone has to you and what potential they may bring to you in the future. Coding also works to categorize other contacts such as former colleagues, co-workers, bosses, college buddies, business associates, vendor relationships, etc. Every contact you know should be given a “code name” as to who they are and their relationship to you.

3) How You Met
Categorize how you met a contact or business relationship. If you network and generate leads from different sources, you need to know how you met a key contact or relationship. Have a separate field in your database to code how you met someone and how they came to know you. I’ve personally found this to be one of the hidden gems in my database, as I always look like a “superstar” when I can recall how I met someone down the road.  To the other person, I look like a hero, along with having flawless recall!  Whether you made contact at a specific networking function, trade show or other event, coding how you met someone can be a valuable tool in tracking where you met your best clients or referral sources over time.

Relationship management is just as important as financial management is to business and success. To be more effective and successful in our challenging business climate means taking a different approach to interacting with your best contacts and relationships. Having business cards sitting on your desk do nothing to provide opportunity unless you organize and manage your business relationships more effectively.

Go therefore and get those business cards off your desk and into a database system so you close more business, repeat business and referrals! Organize your contacts and relationships more effectively so you achieve better business results!
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Michelle Bergquist believes that when it comes to business and success, it’s all about relationships! As business consultant, author, national speaker and corporate trainer to companies and associations throughout the United States, Bergquist entertains and educates small groups, conference attendees and large corporate audiences. Michelle’s book, “How to Build a Million Dollar Database” quickly become the expert authority on how to build a powerful database full of priceless connections and business relationships. Michelle’s book is available online at http://www.michellebergquist.com/ or http://www.amazon.com/. If you’re looking for a keynote speaker, workshop leader or emcee for your next meeting, conference or event, call 800-438-6132 or visit http://www.michellebergquist.com/.