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Practice Management > Building Your Business

Pocket Lint Photos

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My mantra regarding cell phones should be, “Hey buddy, ya wanna buy some pictures of pocket lint?”

I was dragged kicking and screaming into the twentieth century, only to find out we are actually in the twenty-first! While I can remember party-lines and rotary dial phones, I own and use a mobile phone. More often than I care to admit, I hear my mobile phone clicking away, taking pictures of the interior of my pocket after it bumps against something that triggers it – hence the pocket lint photo collection.

My high school daughter has been known to text messages downstairs to mom, rather than stick her head out of her room to communicate directly. I send occasional text messages, but I would rather meet face-to-face or talk on the phone.

For me, the mobile phone is a business tool. I didn’t get it to play games, watch movies or send jokes. I’ve sent exactly one photo with it. My wife needed to know which finials were on the basement curtain rods and she couldn’t understand my description. I clicked a photo – sans pocket lint – and sent it to her. Unless I witness a crime (or the curtains get replaced), that may be the last one I send!

However reluctantly I entered this century, I’m adjusting electronically to the new realities. The squealing sound isn’t so much me whining as it is mental gears gnashing to make the necessary adjustments.

I’ve long employed a daily planner, using the month-at-a-glance calendars to log appointments. There are sections with phone numbers I call regularly and notepages for jotting down information from meetings, contact data on people I meet and to-do lists composed as I go through the day.

I’m now in the process of converting all those functions into a newly released fourth generation handheld device. Now, instead of my thick daily planner, I’ll have my compact electronic device. My appointments will be displayed, I can program audio alerts and take notes on it.

In addition, I can carry contact data for family, friends, clients and industry resources. (Oh yeah, and my editor-in-chief’s number!) I may park my GPS unit for a navigation app on the phone. I can also connect my e-mail account up to the phone, so I can access it when I’m out and about.

Until now I have felt no urgency to have a personal website, but that may be changing. As I expand my marketing efforts in new directions, I may want to develop one so prospects can access it to learn more about me and how I interact with clients.

While working full-time in the military and going to night school, I took a business data processing class. Dinosaurs weren’t roaming the earth, but we wrote simple programs and used punch-cards to input them into the computer. My first personal computer was a Commodore 128. Pong and Pac Man were the games de jure of that era.

I do a lot of word processing on the family desktop computer, but I finally had to invest in a laptop for business. I have a proprietary planning platform provided by my primary carrier and I’m making presentations to prospects more frequently. (That was a lot of “P’s.”) The laptop is indispensible for this.

Client management tasks up to this point have been largely manually accomplished. That has worked, but the proverbial cuneiform is on the papyrus. I’m going to begin transferring to a client management data-base, probably integrated with my new handheld device.

I wouldn’t necessarily call my use of technological advances an “enthusiastic embrace” as much as I would a “grudging acceptance.” I believe I can see ways it can help me accomplish things more efficiently.

An industry rule-of-thumb is that an agent’s client demographic will average plus or minus ten years on either side of their own age. Thus my profile should be clients 54 to 74 years old. However, my profile is actually 34 to 55 or so, because I’m working with young professionals and business owners in growing businesses.

The point being that this group of individuals is more tech savvy and inclined to experiment with the use of all the latest electronic gadgets. I don’t think I have to own all the cutting edge electronics and programs. However, I shouldn’t drag my heels in updating my hardware, software and procedures either.

Being reasonably current can help me serve my clients better, while making my job easier. If nothing else I may have higher quality pocket lint photos.


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