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How to Protect Your Professional Edge

April 2014
Mike Muhney

Mike Muhney

Not only do we have access to countless types of media and information created by others, we are now able to record, organize and recall our own personal information in more ways than ever before possible. If you can’t remember where you parked your car, it’s not a problem. Just click the fob on your keychain and listen for that telltale beep. If you lose your iPhone or iPad, again, it’s not a problem. You can use the Find My iPhone/iPad app, assuming you originally enabled your device, of course. If you’re not quite sure how to get somewhere, just plug in the address in your car’s navigation system, or you could even use a navigation app on your smartphone. If you forget where you saved that picture from your last vacation, or worse, a legal document that you now desperately need, don’t panic. With online storage like iCloud or Dropbox, you can access files anywhere. The examples are numerous, but they all point to the fact that technology is an ever-present part of our lives, saving us time, effort and even memory.

The Risks and Rewards
Along with the perks I mentioned, there are a few pitfalls. Having access to these tools has negatively affected our ability to actually remember the little things. And, of course, there are more things to remember than ever before. Do you know 10 telephone numbers? Okay, 10 might have been pushing it. How about five? Yeah, me neither. If we can’t remember five phone numbers, what leads us to believe that we are capable of remembering the essential details of our business relationships?

Person, Place, or Thing?
Remembering, or worse forgetting, important details can have a major impact on our bottom line. Are we willing to risk our livelihoods on our ability to remember the kinds of details that determine our success? Let’s start by sorting what we need to “remember” into the two categories of “People” and “Everything Else.” Although I could, I won’t make a case for which one is more important. But I do believe people incorrectly assume that remembering details concerning “People” is secondary to everything else.

Memory for People Trumps Memory for Things
Most of us are much better at the “things” side than they are at the “people” side. Why? Because those are the details we deal with more often. We have all felt the pain of lost account information or the sadness of deleted photographs. However, many have yet to discover the success that comes from diligently cataloging whom you met with, when or how you met them, their potential interest in your product or service, or even what follow up action they are expecting from you.

Higher Capacity, Higher Demand
Just because we have more gadgets with more features doesn’t mean we are any better at using them. In the same way that “going paperless” doesn’t mean less paperwork, using technology to manage your contacts, calendars and communication still requires diligence. Most of us schedule appointments. Most of us even show up on time. But what if you could easily scroll through a prospect or client’s “dossier” to review the entire history of your relationship before you sit down with them? Imagine being able to reference that little detail few of us could remember on our own, demonstrating excellence and professionalism that seals the deal. Little detail. Huge impact!

It’s Not Always Business or Pleasure
The lines between our personal and professional lives no longer exist, for most of us anyhow. We are now living in the era of Bring-Your-Device-to-Work. As a result, many of us are managing work and play in one device, which is convenient, as it is sometimes impossible to distinguish one from the other. Personal information about business contacts can help you build stronger rapport. Including professional information about your golf buddies or fellow soccer parents can expand your network of resources, allowing you to make the right introductions that benefit your friends, colleagues and even your clients.

Protect Your Professional Edge
Protecting your files is necessary, as is finding your keys, your device or your destination. But it’s not always what you know. In business, more often than not, it’s “who” you know, what you know about them, and how you can provide the most value to others, setting yourself apart from your competition.

Today, we all have more means than ever before to backup our memory for the “People” side of our lives, in the form of apps and applications for our phones, tablets, notebooks, and desktops. Hard work? Perhaps. We’re expected to maintain an exorbitant amount of information, but we don’t have to remember it all on our own. Mobile devices and the relationship management apps available for them can help us deal with more people, more effectively than ever before. Protect your memory for the “People” stuff and discover the benefits of putting your technology to work!

CRM pioneer Mike Muhney, the co-creator of ACT! software (credited as the catalyst for the “customer relationship management” industry), is CEO of mobile relationship management purveyor vipOrbit – the first relationship-centric contact manager solution enabling mobile business professionals to manage their contacts, calendar and client/customer interactions across Mac, iPhone and iPad platforms. He may be reached at I95