How and Why to Build a Golden Rolodex

 

Some of you may be too young to remember this, but I certainly am not. We used to have this thing sitting on our desk that flipped open. It would either pop open or maybe even roll back into the machine, and it had a little wheel on it. As you turned the wheel, it would flip cards, and at the top of those cards, there were letters like A, B, C, D all the way through Z. It was called a Rolodex.

Now, even though we physically don’t have them on our desks, we kind of do. Your cell phone, your desktop, your CRM – they’re all a Rolodex of sorts. It just happens to be a different way of looking at things. Maybe it doesn’t have index cards or business cards taped to that particular card, but it’s still a Rolodex.

Today, I want to talk about how and why you need to build a golden Rolodex. Now, what’s the difference between a regular Rolodex and a golden Rolodex? Well, I could tell you that the regular Rolodex would have cards in it, but more often than not, people wouldn’t use it. A golden Rolodex is worth money because inside of it, it has leads. It has referral sources. It has so much more.

Today’s Digital Rolodex

How and Why to Build a Golden Rolodex

Let’s talk about how you can do this. Today’s Rolodex happens to be a CRM, which is a customer relationship manager. For some of you, it may just be your contacts in your phone. For others, it might be an actual program like Salesforce, or Nimble, or something like that. But the bottom line is your CRM can be a Rolodex, and your phone can be the source for that Rolodex.

An example of that is you could use the camera in your phone to take a picture of a business card. Then you can save those in a lot of different ways. You could put them into Evernote and categorize them by whatever you wanted to. An even better way of doing that is to get the paid version of Evernote, because Evernote will then scan that business card and it will send a nice to meet you email to the person who is on that card.

You can even take it a step further from there. By using a tool called Zapier, you can actually take that data and import it into your CRM. I happen to use a CRM called Nimble, but other programs can do the same thing. I could take a picture of a business card, send somebody an email, and have that CRM data actually imported into my CRM.

Making Your Rolodex GOLDEN

 

Every business card or every contact you meet may be CRM worthy, but is it golden Rolodex worthy? That’s the question you’ve got to ask yourself. There are four different types of Rolodex information I’m going to ask you to capture.

Clients

You may not have a business card of them, but you do have them in your QuickBooks or whatever accounting program you use. Make sure that information is exported out and put it into your CRM so you have instant access to it. That’s where you can communicate with them on a regular basis. With a good CRM, you can actually track all the communications you had.

Prospects

Prospects are people that you meet networking, and we’ll talk a little bit more about that later. They can also be people that you’ve been referred to. These are people that you haven’t started a working with, but would like to, or they might be a good referral source for somebody else.

Vendors

 

These are the people you pay for services. Obviously the ones that you’re paying now you know, like, and trust, but there may be more vendors that you’ve never used. Maybe somebody’s recommended a vendor to you. Maybe it’s somebody that you met that you just had a good feeling about. You want to be able to capture their information and make sure it’s categorized based on who they are and what they do.

For example, you may have a ton of videographers or graphic designers that you’ve met, but until you’ve worked with that person and know their style of communication and you know that they’re trustworthy, you’re probably not going to recommend them to somebody else. If somebody has recommended them to you, then obviously they come from a known source. So you want to make sure you separate out the ones that you’ve just met and the ones that you know, like, and trust enough that you might want to refer to somebody else or that they may actually be a good fit for your business.

Referral Sources

 

As I mentioned before, these could be people that have been referred to you, or they could be people that you’ve met through networking that might have a good connection to somebody else that you know. If you think that person is golden Rolodex worthy, I strongly suggest you have a one-on-one with them. It’s pretty easy nowadays to set up a phone call or to maybe do a Zoom with them. Zooms obviously are better if they work in the graphics area, because you can share your screens and actually see what they do and they can see what you do. But the bottom line is you want to make sure that the ones that you think are referral worthy are captured and noted that way.

5 Steps To Success

The last thing I want to do is dig into five simple ways to build your golden Rolodex.

 

  1. The first one is to use a CRM, but make sure you’re cleaning up your contacts. Lord knows you can bring everybody and their brother into your Rolodex. That’s what used to happen. It made it harder and harder to find people that you really wanted to connect with. So, clean up your contacts first.
  2. Get out there and network. Find groups that you’re not already connected with and jump in and see if you can meet some other people that you’ve never met before. Ask your friends, where are they networking? What other opportunities do you have to meet new people?
  3. Have some of those one-on-ones. Look for people that you think that would be a great fit for your business, or maybe good connections for people that you know, like, and trust.
  4. Take good notes, and make sure those people are entered into your CRM. Pieces of paper, business cards all over your desk make it super hard to find somebody, but if you have them categorized under particular type of business, you can do a keyword search and find them much quicker. Make sure you’re categorizing and taking good notes.
  5. Then finally, if they’re golden Rolodex worthy, stay in touch with them. Find a way to reach out. If you haven’t heard about my 10-10-10 strategy, this is a time to implement it.

Final Thoughts

 

Find the people in your golden Rolodex and make sure you reach out and say, “Hi”, and maybe even set up a one-on-one with those people. But the bottom line is to stay in touch and stay connected. Rolodex’s sitting on a desk, just like pieces of paper, do no good. When you have them in a source where you can search and find the right person at the right time, they become golden.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about the lessons that can be learned by getting feedback to develop processes that work. Are these tips for making your business better? What worked and what did not live up to your expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?

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Author: Brian Basilico

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