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If you’re a regular reader, you know I’m a big fan of simple systems and procedures. The simpler, the better.

Simple systems are easier to start and easier to keep using. It’s all about consistency. After all, if you don’t use your fancy complicated system, it’s useless. 

Regardless of the system you plan to implement later, starting with a bare-bones basic system is always best. You’ll often discover it’s all you need, and the complicated system is just more work for no good reason. 

For example, when I was doing over 100 deals per year, I used an absurdly simple system to keep track of my prospects. It was all I ever needed, and I still use it today. 

Before that, at various times, I used one of these methods:

1. The memory method – “Oh, I won’t forget about these people!”

 

2. The napkin method – Scribble the prospect’s name and phone number on a napkin (or whatever scrap of paper is handy) and promptly lose it. Have you ever found one of these under the seat of your car after a month? I have.

 

3. The ‘throw them on an auto-search and forget all about them” method.

Yes, I was tossing good-quality leads out the window for literally years before I started using the following absurdly simple system:

1. Open a new spreadsheet called Prospects List with five columns: A – rating, B – first name, C – last name, D – in, E – out

 

2. Under ‘Column A,’ rate your prospects A, B, or C for sorting purposes. Now you can sort by rating, first name, or last name.

 

3. For the “In” column, insert the date and brief description of their last communication with you. For example, “Feb 10 – Did not like the busy street.”

 

4. Under the “Out” column, list the date and details of your last communication with them. For example, “Feb 8 – Email – What did they think about 123 Busy Street?”

Columns “In” and “Out” are generally not very detailed since they are only for triggering your memory. When adding the next entry, you can overwrite the previous one. Or, if the last notation is essential, keep it and simply start the new entry at the beginning of the cell.

Keep this spreadsheet easily accessible on all your devices. 

That’s it!

 Now, maintain your prospects list every weekday. Every time you get a new prospect, add them. Every time you interact with a prospect, update your notes. But, most importantly, review your list daily to remind yourself what to do next.

 It takes five minutes to set this system up, but the hard part is to train your brain to use it consistently. So use the skill of habit-stacking from my last column: How to use habit-stacking to get more of what you want

If you already review your messages each morning, make a habit stack like this: 

1. Review messages

 

2. Review prospects list

 

3. Next task (you decide)

If you scan your prospects list daily, your prospects will always be top-of-mind, and you’ll start to learn the right time and method to contact each one (they’re all different). This takes all of two to five minutes of your time when you do it daily.

Within a few weeks, you’ll look at your list and be shocked at the number of solid prospects you have! 

What the heck happened? Where did all these prospects come from?

Answer: They were there all along! You’ve just been tossing good-quality leads out the window and not even realizing it. All because you didn’t have an absurdly simple system.

 

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