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Networking Databank: Remember It’s Your Most Valuable Asset

published March 04, 2013

By Author - LawCrossing
Published By
( 3 votes, average: 4.3 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.
In today's marketing jargon, you'll frequently hear about data base marketing. Direct marketers invented the concept specifically for direct mail purposes. Lately telemarketing has also benefited from database marketing. Your database is basically your mailing list. The list could (and should) be expanded to include more than just the names and addresses of customers and prospects. More sophisticated databases include demographic details to help pinpoint specific buying or life style habits that can easily be targeted.

You can be sure when you get a direct mail solicitation or your telephone rings with a special offer, the selection of your particular name wasn't accidental. Marketers with well-honed databases know more about you than you would imagine.

Databank - What Does It Mean?

Perhaps your database would more properly be called your databank - a place where you make deposits and withdrawals of information and earn networking interest. The databank is your personal collection of names and associated information that you maintain and use to "work" your network.

Just as marketers rely on their databases for better returns from their mailings and telemarketing efforts, so too will networkers get better results based on the quality of the information in their personal databanks.

More Than Just Names

Everyone has some way of keeping track of names, addresses and telephone numbers. The databank concept goes a little farther, incorporating additional information about the person, as well as how to contact them. You will want to include information about hobbies, memberships, family, interests, etc.

After you record your contact's name and address information, you can add this additional data which will be very helpful in your networking efforts. Your databank could be - depending on how extensive and important your network is - an address and phone book, an organized collection of business cards, information on 3" X 5" cards, a filing system, a sophisticated computer program or a combination of any or all of these elements.

Building Your Databank

To get started you must first build your databank. You have to decide which system or systems of storage and retrieval will work best for you. Although the computer is the ultimate databank, many networkers do a great job with the other databank systems mentioned: 3" X 5" cards, a computer program, a system for cataloging business cards or again, a combination of all of these.

3" X 5" CARDS

The advantage of 3" X 5" cards is that they provide plenty of room for information. Plus there are file drawers and indexing systems available for their organization and storage. Index cards are also a very convenient size to work with and don't cause any eye strain. The disadvantage is that much of the information on the cards will be taken from business cards, creating a duplicate effort.

Computer Databanks

The most sophisticated databank is the computer. Not only can you store and retrieve information with ease, but you have an infinite variety of ways to manipulate the information you store. Depending upon the software you use, you can organize your databank according to how you would like to view or print it. You can electronically earmark an entry based on several criteria: the relationship to you and your network (friend, family, customer, prospect), geographical location, occupation, birthday, family information (children's names, wedding anniversary, siblings, parents), memberships and other activities.

You can designate which records you want to print out for mailing labels or reports, and only those particularly designated names will print. Most software used for name storage will allow you, to automatically dial the phone numbers in your computer.

Computer portability has increasingly become an asset to many networkers. Many new models of laptops computers with increased capabilities for information storage are available in the market.

Making Deposits

Once you've built your databank, you will have to decide what you want to include in it. Certainly you'll have the typical information: name, address, phone and fax numbers. You can also add where and when you met a person, the person's birth date, information about their family, hobbies or other interests. If the contact has a secretary or assistant you will want that name. You can also note when you made the last contact with that person or when you should make the next contact.

Withdrawals From Your Databank

When making phone calls or writing letters, you can and should use information from your databank. In a typical phone call you can address a prospect's secretary by name. This will surely improve your chances of getting through to that person or having the person call you back. Knowing a person's sports interest, hobbies, family information and other particulars gives you clues as to what to say to get a good conversation going and to impress your listener with your particular interest in them.

If you collect birthday information about people in your network you can call or send a greeting card on the appropriate date. Again this builds a more personal relationship.

Databank Security

Just as real banks have vaults and security guards, so too, should you takes steps to insure the security of your most valuable networking tool. You should store your 3" X 5" card files, your business card files or your backup computer disk in a fire-retardant file case or safe. Just consider the predicament you would be in if you were to lose hundreds or thousands of networking contact information.

You Are As Good As Your Databank

No matter how hard you pursue networking, how dynamic your personality or how many friends you have, without a well organized databank your results will suffer. Your databank - used in your office, on the road and at home - will prove to be a most valuable networking tool.

published March 04, 2013

By Author - LawCrossing
( 3 votes, average: 4.3 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.