I don’t know about you, but I have found that it is impossible for me to remember all the people I meet in the course of my life – both business and personal.
But as a consultant who makes his living from meeting people and ultimately convincing some of them to hire me to help them grow their top line, it is important for me to be able to do so. When I bump into someone six months after our initial meeting or call them nine months later it is useful to recall what they look like – it helps make the conversation more immediate I think. It is also helpful to remember details about them and their personal life.
A method that I have developed that assists me in this activity takes a little technical savvy but not a lot. It is a technique that I developed to compliment something I started doing years ago to help me solve this same problem and the two “tricks” work together.
First, the older method presupposes that you maintain your contacts electronically in some form. I use Outlook on my desktop WinTel computer for this purpose. I also carry a Smart Phone now, but this also worked in a one model or another of the Palm PDA that I carried for years. The essential bit is that you are able to “sync” the PDA or Smart Phone with Outlook (or its equivalent) on your desktop. I am sure there are many other combinations of computers and PDA’s/phones that work as well.
Whenever possible as soon as I finish a meeting with someone I take the time to record as many personal facts about the person, – guesses at their age, height, and weight, did they wear glasses, hair color and thickness (or not), marital status, offspring, etc. You get the picture. This is in addition to the typical business information that you would have recorded anyway. I have been doing this for years. I write it down for later transcription into their Outlook contact record. I have impressed many people, with what they perceive as my amazing memory, when I ask, for example, how their son is doing at Lehigh University.
The additional crutch that I have developed is to add their picture to their contact record. With so many people posting their picture on their own websites or on any/many of the social media sites, it is relatively straight forward to get a picture of them.
I use Snag-It to capture the picture from a website or LinkedIn for example. Click here to see my blog entry on Snag-It. I then save the picture as a .jpg file on my hard disk. Then I open their contact record in Outlook and click on the picture icon. I browse for the picture on my hard disk and then save the record. (See the before and after examples below.) After syncing to my Smart Phone I get the additional benefit of seeing the person’s picture come up when they call me on my cell phone.
A sales person needs every advantage s/he can get!