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When building a relationship with a customer, client or colleague you want as much information about them as possible. (Don’t get us wrong. In a good way – not in a PRISM type way!) The better you and your customer know one another, the better the business relationship.

But while that’s easy to say, it’s a little bit more difficult to pull off. You can spend all day on the phone with a contact or client sometimes and not really learn all that much about them. Other times you have real bonding moments with a client, but you risk forgetting the names or your client’s children or the last big project she worked on as time goes by. How can you make the process more efficient?

One word: technology!

Savvy Contact Management

Let’s face it – keeping track of every single one of your customers, clients, colleagues and other business contacts can be a huge pain sometimes. You interact with a ton of people every day and there’s no way you can remember every important detail, let alone the less than important ones. Raise your hand if you’ve ever received and email and had to wrack your brain to remember who the sender was. Don’t worry if your hand is up – we’ve all been there!

You could jot all the info down on pieces of paper or in a Google document, but that doesn’t exactly help you when it’s time to send a message and it’s hardly organized. Instead, grab an account at Rapportive. It’s an app that works inside of Gmail and Google Apps to keep all of your contacts’ info handy when you pull up their name.

So if you’ve gathered a customer’s Facebook page, Twitter account and their favorite items and notes about their family, you can pull it up when you need it. For the visually inclined, it also includes a picture. No more searching around when it’s time to send off an email – pull up the name and make sure you’re emailing the right Mike, Steve or Ryan.

Collecting Info

Have you ever looked an old friend up on the web and were amazed at just how much you could find? A few simple searches and suddenly you’ve got your friend’s Facebook page and Twitter account, and you know that he was in Jamaica a few months ago.

The amount of info that’s on the web truly is astounding. If you’re not using these simple resources to your benefit, you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity. One of the easiest tech tricks is performing a simple search of your contact’s name to see what comes up. If they have a fairly common name, add in their company name, hometown, email address or maybe a nickname you know they use.

Often one little bite will lead to much bigger fish. For example, their Facebook page will likely link to their website or Twitter page. From there, you can find even more, like a LinkedIn account or Google Plus page.

Checking around on these pages and profiles can show you what your customers are really like. For example, you may discover they all have something in common, like a favorite film. This could give you ideas on how to market to them.

On the other hand, it’s best to refrain from commenting on your client’s vacation pictures. This is a business relationship after all!

How close would you say you are with your customers? What tech tricks do you use to get to know them better?

Image via Flickr