Every bit of up-to-date business advice I read talks about how important it is to properly manage your contact list. Whether the author calls a prospect list “a community,” “a tribe,” “a database,” “a roster” or a “contact list,” the suggestions are usually the same:

Use and careful editing to keep the list accurate and up-to-date.

Needless to say, this gets harder and harder to do as technology continues to expand our ways of reaching out to people.

To use my own business as a branding and innovation speaker as an example, I have 6,000 followers on , 12,000 on , and 137,000 on . Plus, I have 28,000 addresses on my mailing list and about 3,800 people in my personal database. As you can imagine, keeping all those contacts accurate and up-to-date is even harder than making sure all my bandmates show up for the same gig at the same time.


So, you'll understand why I was intrigued when I read an email headline that said: “Organizing those contacts… how the heck?”

Before I continue, you need to know that I NEVER look at junk mail and therefore I NEVER open the emails and I NEVER read the promotions. But this offer was so on point for helping me with a personal pain point that I opened the note.

The intro paragraph was equally compelling to me: “How the heck do you manage all those contacts you have? How about using a contact database management system?

Check it out. Click for a article on using a contact management system.”

The intro paragraph was so enthralling to me that I did something I NEVER do – I clicked on the promotion.

And then… nothing.

The link must have been broken because even though I clicked and clicked and clicked, nothing happened. Disappointed, I dragged the email into my junk file and went on with my life.

Besides the irony of a note that promises a way to properly manage a contact list not properly managing a contact list, this entire sequence would be pedestrian and uninteresting except for a few points:

  1. How much money and effort did the sender spend to get me to click on their link?
  2. What was the lost cost to them of having an interested potential not be able to move forward? And most importantly,
  3. What's the chance that they will ever get the opportunity to do business with me again?

Think about that for a minute. This company did all the right things to turn a suspect into a prospect and then into their universe. And then just as quickly they turned a warm lead into a cold lead as their very compelling email was unceremoniously dumped into my junk file.

Worse, they probably don't even know any of this happened. All they know is that their email metrics are poor and their click-through response is nonexistent.

The important here is the importance of vigilance and follow-through. As exciting as it is to come up with a great creative idea and demonstrate , it's critical to make sure that the customer journey leading to a sale is as easy, welcoming, and instructive as possible.

Because to paraphrase Duke Ellington, “It don't mean a thing if the phone don't ring.”

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