Keeping track of clients

Nowhere has inconsistency been more detrimental to my business than in customer management. My failure to maintain records, send pitches, follow up on enquiries, record achievements and re-engage with satisfied customers has lost me a fortune in potential income. My inconsistency has forced me to reinvent my marketing wheel every time business is slow, placing a strain on my executive function and well-being.

My working memory offers little assistance and time-blindness deprives me of the security of a future-focussed system. In short, once clients are out of sight, they are instantly out of mind. I have translated millions of words on scores of subjects and received plentiful praise but much of the evidence is lost.

In many areas I’ve abandoned systems in favour of other strategies. But customer management is immune to positive emotion and too important to leave to chance. So, I’ve set about implementing simple, low-maintenance systems to help me. I use one Google spreadsheet for all enquiries and pitches so I can access it from anywhere. It has columns for all client/enquiry details and every marketing task including dates, rate, referral requests, cards sent etc.

I record assignments in a separate table which I can refer to when I need evidence. Recording customers and prospects is pointless unless I use the information. Pitching my services is not something I enjoy so I use triggers and hooks to nudge me.

Corinne McKay recommends sending handwritten cards to thank prospective clients for their interest. This is effective but it is a chore that takes me weeks to complete (recording contact details-buying card-writing card-writing envelope-buying stamps-forgetting to go to post box-going to post box-forgetting to post card-going to post box-realising I have forgotten card -finally posting card-searching for receipts-recording expenses). Using a handwritten message service means I can tick the task off quickly and save the recipient the arduous task of deciphering my serial-killer handwriting.

Emailing people out of the blue makes me cringe and gives me writer’s block. Having a hook makes the task less daunting but it can be hard to remember details about my client. I snooze incoming emails so I can refer back to a previous conversation or at a later date. Informing clients of my availability at the start of the summer is another stress-free way of remaining on their radar.

LinkedIn posts are a non-intrusive way of staying in touch with clients. I have opted into notifications for each client and prospect as a reminder to comment when they post.

Keeping track of clients is my achilles’ heel and I have a long way to go. I’d welcome any tips to help me on my journey.

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