Independent Trainers – If you don’t have a database you don’t have a business, Blog Post 7 by Matthew Hill

Tribal Data is a Prime Business Growth Driver


Apologies for the strong title – What are you thinking now? – “Of course I have a database – I have more than 500 business cards in my desk. When I have a quiet moment I fully intend to enter the date into the latest CRM software.”

File Cabinets inside the screen of laptop isolated on white


Get in a time machine and start again – When you meet someone and you seem to be getting along, you may qualify them “IN” as a valuable network contact either for you, or for someone you know. They may have a training need, be a potential partner or they may be a web designer that you can recommend to the next person that needs one and asks you for a recommendation. The key is to note where they came from, what their core attributes are and how you can contact them again.

Before long the data dream comes true – you will have a tidy and usable database of real people that you can surf through, use and connect with in a meaningful way. If you want to make a million – this is the place to start – It is NEVER too soon to start building an intelligent database of network contacts.

Networking Event Business Cards Mixer Contacts Meeting

Everyone you meet has a value. They may provide a great service for someone you have just connected with.

You have more contact data than you think

When I coach people I take a measure of their interest in data gathering and will ask them if they have a database? I will ask how many LinkedIn connections do they have? – Their answers will put them in one of three categories;

  1. Oh Dear! – Less than 100 LinkedIn connection, an aversion to Facebook and dusty business cards in a draw –

Analysis – This person will not receive any incoming flow that can be converted into business and does not currently have the firepower to be an effective networker actively growing their independent training business.

(BTW if this is you – all is not lost. Read on.)

  1. Nice Data – You have 250 – 400 LinkedIn connections, you participate in Social Media with professional wall postings on Facebook and you have converted the business contact details of the people you have met into an XL spreadsheet, your Mac or PC programme or your have invested in a CRM system and are in the habit of updating your records after events and keeping in contact with your network on a regular basis.

Analysis – You are getting it right and only need to scale your efforts – you have probably already experienced the thrill of incoming business opportunities landing in your way via e mail, phone and LinkedIn and Facebook messages.

  1. Whizz Kid – You are a networking machine and, working like a well oiled engine, you convert every name, e mail and phone number into a coded record with a follow up action and a marketing sequence.

Analysis – You are Zuckerberg’s twin and should be writing this blog yourself.

Back of the sofa

Before you feel the burning shame of failure at being in category 1., let me reassure you that everyone has more data than they imagine – It is possible to migrate all of your LinkedIn contacts to an XL spread sheet and to start categorizing them as collaborative partners, suppliers, prospect customers, past participants or crazy people, almost immediately.

Similarly you will be able to download your outlook VCR cards and to migrate your contact book from your Mac.

Get your business card pile and, instead of putting them straight onto a database, connect with them on LinkedIn. In such a way – THEY will keep YOUR database updated when they move on or get a promotion to that L&D director role that will help you most.

Go through all you e-mails in your inbox and make sure that all the useful people who have sent you an e-mail in the past have been added to your database.

Now look at your Twitter followers and click on their details – the best ones will lead you to their website and e mail address and, possibly, their phone number so that you can add a good data record to your system. – Do not do this for 1,000 people – you will go insane. Only follow through with the dynamic people who can be of direct help to you and live in your country.

Friends of Friends

If you wish to expand your newsletter distribution list why not look at the second connections of your 1st connections on LinkedIn. You may like to reach out to these people and make contact – You have something to offer and they might appreciate your gesture. (BTW anyone who un-follows you or disconnects with you is doing you a BIG favour – they are generously qualifying themselves out of your database and are telling you that they would never have bought from you or helped you out. No sweat.

Data Analysis Analytics Comparison Information Networking

Social Media spreads around the world and never sleeps.

Fresh Connections

Now we come to the CLEVER bit. Social Media spreads around the world and never sleeps. If you, via blog posts or your website, offer a high value data item such as a helpful tip filled white paper or an dynamic informational film this can be exchanged from their data and permission to connect with them – We call this a Product 4 Prospect or Lead Magnate – Again you are qualifying the right people in and leaving those with no interest on the outside of your valuable information offer.

The Future You

With a bit of professional time management and discipline you will soon have a medium sized, qualified and active database that you can use to send out information to; a newsletter, course outlines, your latest one-off blog post, an invitation to a webinar or a PR breaking news item about you and your training offering.

In such away you keep yourself “front-of-mind” with the people who can partner with you, give you training days, ask you for assistance or recommend you to others in THEIR network.

Social Proof

Yesterday I had a conversation with a person I was recommended to via a social media contact – we spoke for 30 minutes after a few pings on LinkedIn. The result – I generated and sent out a one-page coaching outline to help that person with their ambitious public speaking goals. All via databases, networking and social media (and Skype.) Data opens the door to opportunity.

My wish for you is that your passive information comes to life and provides you with work, mental stimulation and, ideally, new friends and peers.


For more ideas on how establish and grow your Independent Trainer Business we invite you to join us for the Independent Trainer Consultative Selling Webinar 3 – GOING FOR GROWTH, on 5th October 2016, 6PM London time, 7PM Paris time. Register now at; 

Praca do Comercio square, Lisbon, Portugal

Lovely Portugal.



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