I could not of help but noticed an interesting article posted in the The Trust Advisor, a weekly newsletter in which I am subscribed too. The newsletter is informative in many ways regarding currents events in the financial world, insurance, as well as topics on regulations and its impacts. The editor has great content, very specific to the industry and I am very pleased with the information he provides.
On to why I am talking about this article. So if you are in sales, any form of sales, you’ve must have used some sort of Contact Relationship Manager (CRM). Without a doubt one of the most important tools to use in any business. So, I had a chuckle when I read Scott Martin’s article about applying the principles of CRM with dating. Well, I can’t say it surprises me, since we now live in a world where dating/marriage have been subject to commidification. As well as our attention spans’ are of a small gold fish and millions of smart phone users require instant gratification. So ladies this article was not intended to offend perhaps to shed light on not only the growing trend of intimacy engrained with technology, but also the fact that we are shifting to a world where we are less genuine due to technology.
I hope you enjoy the read as I did. Click here for more to come .
Posted by Scott Martin, Contributor – on April 22nd, 2012
In a world where efficiency hunters are tracking and scheduling every casual contact, the case of the dating service spreadsheet gives advisors a taste of future best practices — and what to avoid.
David Merkur was a low-profile real estate banker who has acknowledged that he’s really more comfortable with spreadsheets. He just wanted to “stay organized” when it came to his little black book.
Now this number man’s solution to problems of romantic chemistry has gone viral, turning the once-dull art of customer relationship management into the hottest thing around.
As Merkur puts it, he worked long days as an associate director of Park Avenue firm Ladder Capital and found it tough to keep the two to three women he was meeting a week straight.
So he set up a spreadsheet to remember which was which and to remind him whether to monitor them “casually, closely or ASAP.”
That’s the real goal of CRM software, after all.
For many, CRM is still mostly a glorified electronic Rolodex — the icon you click when you need to look up how to reach a client or other business contact.
But as Merkur was finding out before his private adaptation of the technology went public, its true power comes from recording the details of every interaction and automatically scheduling the next one.
Let the robot do the work
If anything, Merkur looks like a bit of an amateur when it comes to setting up reminders that it was time to schedule the next date or send a follow-up “I had a wonderful time” text message precisely 72 hours later.
Just classifying your clients by “monitor casually” or “VIP” is okay when it comes to routing their calls, but a real modern CRM system should do the monitoring and prioritizing for you.
Emails from ultra-high-net-worth clients — the investors with the best “looks,” in the dating model — naturally rise to the top of the queue so an advisor can drop everything when they arrive.
More middle-of-the-road accounts slide to more of a “maintenance” cycle, letting the advisor respond as resources permit without making them feel like they’re just one more faceless account.
The system will also tell you when it’s time to check in on a hot prospect if too much time goes by without contacts. None of this vague “contact again week of X” or “might revisit” stuff. When the alarm goes off, a modern CRM will tell you the time is now.
Don’t play it cool
As in dating, you’re in charge of your CRM settings. Don’t settle for the default, whether it’s waiting three days before calling or three months before setting up your next client meeting.
This is your chance to go above and beyond expectations.
Remember, the high-net-worth attitude trackers at Spectrem found out that 40% of millionaires insist on being called back in under two hours.
Everyone in the industry knows that and has probably programmed their alerts accordingly. Get ahead of the pack and set your system to poke you 90 minutes after logging a call.
Email messages are a little less crucial, but if one in four HNW investors Spectrem talked to want two-hour response, why risk it?
And naturally, quicker is better. Unlike the dating world, there’s nothing gained in playing hard to get. The alerts should set hard limits on the maximum amount of time you wait before getting back to a client or hot prospect — faster service impresses.
One thing David Merkur failed to remember is that every woman on his list wanted to think she was the only one in his world. Every client wants to feel like the biggest account you have.
So when Merkur sent one of his girlfriends the list, part of the shock that got her to forward it on was seeing her vital statistics laid out next to the others.
The spreadsheet’s clinical tone probably didn’t help him cultivate a romantic image, either. (Click it to enlarge.)
You look good when they feel great
As Helen Mirren says in “Gosford Park,” the secret of good customer service is anticipating your client’s needs and behaviors.
The more clients — or girlfriends — you have, the harder it is to keep everything straight.
But the goal here is not so much to remind you which is which. It’s to make them feel special when you remember their birthdays and their grandkids’ names.
That’s ultimately what CRM systems enable. It requires more work at the beginning to program all that stuff into the software, but it pays off over time.
Spreadsheet Casanova David Merkur only had eight girlfriends and his spreadsheet didn’t have room for anything about them but where they grew up and how the dating negotiations were going.
An advisor with dozens or hundreds of wealthy clients — and more in the pipeline — needs a lot more help with the fine details that went into the portfolio or financial plan.
Even if you pride yourself on your memory, it takes effort to keep all that stuff in mind. Key it into the system and let go.
It should look so seamless your clients don’t know it exists. After all, you’re not exactly forwarding them the files you keep on them to prove to them how smart you are.
Scott Martin, senior editor, The Trust Advisor.