When I have a 121 with another BNI member, it's a surprise for them to learn that The SLO Personal Contact Manager (just PCM to its friends) has features that BNI members would find really useful, built right in. In fact, a lot of the early features of PCM came from me wanting to improve my own traffic lights ...
Once I got the core contact management system working, I thought about other features that would make PCM stand out from the crowded Customer Relationship Management (CRM) market. You see, CRMs try to be all things to all people to maximise their appeal, but I wanted PCM to focus on just small business owners in the UK, and that started with my BNI chapter.
The first comments I received resonated with me. They wanted to know when they should have 121s with other members again. Now, I used to do this in an Excel spreadsheet with conditional formatting. When I hadn't had a 121 with someone for 3 months, I'd always see the dates go amber then red and reach out and arrange one.
I included this ability in PCM with our Last Contact and Next Contact date columns. Each subscriber can set the number of days before these dates got amber or red in PCM so it's a great way to know when you need to talk again.
My BNI colleagues loved it, and to supplement this feature, we now email you a 'red list' email each weekday morning so you'll know who you need to reach out to soon. This works great for general conversations when you're using PCM for your client list, it's an even greater benefit if you're using PCM to improve your traffic lights.
So, apart from keeping track of all the contact details for your BNI chapter, and knowing when to reach out to them again, what else has The SLO Personal Contact Manager got that would make a difference for BNI members?
How about a Look For Sheet? If you have a section with your BNI chapter members in, use the SETTINGS popup dialog box and turn this feature on. Then, when using your laptop at your next meeting, be that face-to-face or on Zoom, just fill out the Look For Sheet during the member presentations and you'll know for the whole week ahead, who each of them is looking for. You can even print it out as it's nicely formatted to print on a single page (depending on the size of your chapter).
I once attended a workshop and listened to a presentation by a lovely chap who was great at inviting visitors. He told the Zoom audience that he'd allocate around 5 hours a week (one hour per working day) to search Google for businesses in his area who could potentially become new members.
He'd then go to their website and copy out any details he could find and pop them in a spreadsheet. He had some emails signatures in Outlook which were, in fact, an entire email, then send them out. In his 5 hours a week, he'd find 20-30 suitable businesses depending on the industry sector.
But doesn't that sound like a huge amount of work? Regardless of his response rate, sending cold emails is a numbers game and not something anyone can maintain for a long time if they're getting so little return.
It's included with PCM Advanced and is our powerful prospecting tool which can be discovered in the NEW section. Type in a profession (like 'plumber' or 'solicitor') and enter a location (such as 'Milton Keynes' or even 'Buckinghamshire') and it will search for and return up to 200 results depending on what options you set.
It adds the records directly to PCM, including company name, email address, telephone and social media channels. Right there in PCM for you to use. I then go visit the website find a name (checking the email address PCM found can sometimes give you one) and see if they're still in business, then reach out to them with a sequence of Custom Emails I set up in PCM beforehand.
Would you rather spend 5 hours collecting that data or 5 minutes? I know what I'd choose: 5 minutes every time! It takes me another 15 minutes or so to check all of them out and get a Custom Email sent as well. PCM really streamlines the whole visitor inviting process!
Although The SLO Personal Contact Manager is great for your entire customer or client list and lets you become more proactive, building deeper relationships and generating additional income from your existing and new contacts, where PCM really excels is with BNI.
You may already have committed to a commercial CRM for your business, so if you only ever use PCM to manage 121s, fill out your weekly Look For Sheet and invite visitors, you've got an amazing tool to help you improve your traffic lights.