Best Practices for Using Microsoft Outlook from a Sales Perspective

Arrow-tip #1: Don’t use your Inbox as a data repository Part I

When was the last time that you called someone from your smart phone only to reach the wrong person on the other end of the line or even worse get that ear piercing tone followed by a message stating the number is no longer in service? And then somewhere in the recesses of your mind you vaguely remember getting an email that notified you of a change of address and phone number. If you have email access on your smart phone, you might try scrolling through your emails to find that notification, but this is a time consuming exercise at best and a futile one at worst.

So how can you do your part to prevent hearing loss by no-longer-a-working number tones?

  • Keep contact information in your Outlook Contacts folder rather than in a card file, paper address book, or some other application that doesn’t easily sync with your smart phone.
  • Sync with your smart phone either through a wireless sync like Blackberry server or through your manual desk top sync at least once per day.
  • When you get an email with updated contact information, update your Contacts folder as soon as possible rather than letting the email sit in your Inbox.

This is the kind of action that requires discipline, but how many of us find that after several years of collecting contacts we have a very outdated contact database? And then when we get ready to send out holiday cards or embark on a direct mail campaign, we realize that we’re going to waste a lot of money on bad addresses if we don’t clean up our database. Wouldn’t it be easier if you just maintained your database on a regular basis or better yet real time?

We all have days when we don’t have time to address every email in our Inbox which is why I recommend that you reserve 15 to 60 minutes a week for mailbox clean up. The idea is to give yourself a catch all time to make sure things are up to date. And if you don’t have unaddressed emails, you can use that time to review your Contacts folder and make sure that everyone is categorized as they should be and that no one is still there that needs to be removed or archived. One thing to consider is sorting your contacts on the Modified field and then checking out the 20 oldest to see if they are up to date.

For more tips on how to keep your Contacts folder updated, check out future Arrow-tips on this blog and in the mean time feel free to send specific questions to


This post was written by Misty Khan and published on August 26, 2007 in the following categories: Arrow Tips, Contacts, Front Page, Inbox, Inbox Zero. You can leave trackbacks on this post at this address. To follow the comments on this post subscribe to the RSS feed.


I’ve got 7,677 items in my inbox. Do you think this may be a sign I’m slacking on maintenance? :)


the headline doesn’t seem to go with the article – article seems about keeping phone #s current – headline is about inbox

  • Rambin
  • 13:46
  • September 2, 2007
  • 2.

Thank you Misty for the great tips on keeping our contacts organized. I liked the thought were you expressed that when we are ready to actually embark on a marketing campaign we will be ready. I think an unorganized contact list actually prevents some people from being more successful because they would actually send more information to their contacts if they were actually organized. Yes, it does take discipline, but always well worth the effort. Some type of habit should be formed so as not to let the emails that we need to add to contacts just pile up into an overwhelmingly long list in our email client that could paralyze productivity. By the way, i use a Linux OS with Thunderbird as an email client. Just the same, I am very adament about keeping my contacts organized. I do a lot of bulk emailings to all of my accounts. Having my contscts at the ready – I am always ready to fire off an announcement or the next great CPA or co-reg advertising campaign. I have large commission checks to show for my ability to continuously update my system. I encourage everyone to take head to Misy’s suggestion. Good call Misty!


Misty: Great ARROW-TIP about sorting and checking your oldest contacts through the modified field. I’m going to start that new practice this week!

Looking forward to more tips!


Thanks for the info Misty, these tips can be very helpful to a relatively non computer savvy person like me. Thanks again, look forward to more tips.

  • Kevin White
  • 13:25
  • September 14, 2007
  • 5.

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