Do It Yourself Sales Tools
Learn to create a simple sales tool that will help you track and follow
up on every lead. This is a great tool for salespeople and for anyone who
wants to put a system in place to help automate their networking
Sales Tools, Networking, Sales Force Automation, Track leads, selling,
sales tracking, saleepeople, selling
After falling in love with the Hipster PDA and Levengers Shirt Pocket
Briefcase,I started becoming more and more dependent on 3" by 5" index
cards. They are great for note taking on the go and keeping organized at
my desk, so I naturally started thinking of ways to use the cards to
automate my sales process. From this, the "3X5" was born. I may not be
the first person to use index cards in this way, but I do think a lot of
salespeople will find the system easy to use and very effective.
You will need the following items to create your own 3X5 sales tool. I
found everything I needed at my local Staples and everything cost me
* A box to store the index cards
* Monthly 3" by 5" index tabs
* Daily (1-31) 3" by 5" index tabs
* Alphabetical 3" by 5" index tabs
* A ton of white ruled 3" by 5" index cards
* A bunch of colored 3" by 5" index cards
* A small case to carry cards in your pocket
Once you have purchased the required supplies, you can organize your 3X5.
For the sake of simplicity, let's assume that you are assembling your 3X5
on January 1st. If this is the case you would first organize your tabs in
the order below (front to back):
* January tab
* Daily tabs 1-31
* February - December monthly tabs
* A-Z alphabetical tabs
* Blank index cards - white and your favorite color
All of your cards should now be in the file box and the first thing you
should see is the January tab.
Next, you should start creating cards for your leads. In the beginning,
this is going to take some time (assuming you have a lot of leads). I use
white cards for leads and colored cards for my customers. You can do
whichever you prefer, but I think it is helpful to break down leads and
The system works like this.
Let's imagine it is January 1st. and you attend a networking event where
you meet a potential client. You get this lead's business card at the
event and you want to contact him/her on the 2nd., so when you get to
your office, you staple the leads business card to a white index card and
drop it behind the "2" tab and then go home for the day. After all, it is
new years day and you have been working hard to create your new sales
system and you attended a networking event.
So, you arrive at work on January 2nd. and open up your 3X5. The first
thing you should do is move the "1" tab back behind the February tab. You
will always be rolling the system forward like this, so that the first
tab you see in the box represents the most current month, then the most
Now, you go to the tab for today (Jan 2nd.) and find the card for the
lead that you met at the networking event yesterday. You call the lead
and learn that he/she is out of town until January 6th. so you make a
note which says, "1/2/05 - Mr. Lead is on vacation till 1/6". Now you
drop the card behind the "6" tab for the month of January.
You will continue to roll this lead forward in the system, making notes
at each step, until the lead either turns into a customer or asks you to
leave them alone.
When the lead turns into a customer, I staple their business card to a
colored card and place it behind the appropriate alphabetical tab. If
their is another opportunity with this client, I move the colored card
back to the dated section and move them through the process again.
Of course, as you add more people to your pipeline, you might not get to
contact everyone on the day you have them slotted for. Just move them to
the next day's slot at the end of the current day so you contact them
You will not want to carry around a huge metal box full of index cards,
which is why you want to have a small index card wallet or box, so if you
are going to be on the road or out of the office, you can simply grab
your cards for the day and go.
Not just for salespeople.
While the system is great for salespeople, it also is a great tool for
those of us who are focusing on networking. I actually use three
different colored cards and use white for leads, blue for clients and red
for my networking contacts (patriotic, I know). On the red cards, I write
either 7, 14, 30, 45, 60, etc in the upper right hand corner of the index
card to remind myself how frequently I want to contact the person, so I
simply move the card forward based on the number on the card. If I want
to contact someone every seven days, I move the card ahead a week after I
This really ties in well to Keith Ferrazzi's book Never Eat Alone, which
recommends you regularly ping your network. By the way, if you have not
read the book, you should. You can get book notes for free from the Never
Eat Alone blog.
Options / Enhancements.
I have been considering adding daily tabs to each month so that I can
move people ahead to a any specific date (IE. August 11Th.) in the
You could also keep some sticky tabs handy so you can add a tab to the
top of any index card for the contacts birthday. If you do this, you
could just put an August tab on the card for every contact whose birthday
is in August so you could quickly compile a birthday list each month.
Again, this is probably overkill and you could probably just add the
contacts name to a calendar and keep it separate, but what fun is that?