Recruiter/Sales/Biz Dev. Tip; How to Effortlessly Capture Business Card Info (While Sitting at the Airport, in a Hotel Room, or in Traffic)

Client facing Professionals have plenty of challenges being out and about- gridlock traffic, delayed flights, uncooperative parking meters, and un-charmable gatekeepers (I have never met one, but have heard the rumors), to name few. One particularly annoying challenge is processing the stack of business cards collected throughout the day, or better yet after an industry event such as a trade show or conference. These leads, warm cold or otherwise are often manually entered into a CRM, or are captured old school scanner style, or via a specialized smart phone app. Often this is when the work begins, and often where the process ends with a string of expletives.

Enter Google Keep, the free and somewhat unsung Google note taking app. Unlike the competitors, there is no paid version and so all users have full product functionality. Also unlike the competitors, once installed on multiple platforms Google Keep synchronizes almost instantaneously, making it insanely easy to switch back and forth from your smartphone to your desktop, laptop, or tablet. The key here is that the desktop/laptop platform has additional bells and whistles that make business card capture and extraction a joy (well close to it).

I came across this method sitting at a restaurant and staring at stack of cards I collected at a recent industry event- some with notes and some without- and decided to use Google Keep on my smartphone to take a photo of each card, via a simple tap on the take a note photo icon at the bottom of the app, with the intent of enhancing or adding notes for reference. When I returned to the office the fun began, as I discovered the desktop version of Google Keep had a feature I hadn't noticed before, a built-in OCR (Optical Character Recognition) function available when the note is opened, simply labeled on the popup menu as 'Grab image text'. One click and viola' the info is extracted into the note and ready to use. Although in some cases a few minor edits might be required, the extraction is instantaneous.

From here the options are endless- and depending on your process you can copy and paste,save to a spreadsheet, import to your CRM, send via email, or if you are a Google Apps user you can save this to your google drive, or into your contact list. Another bomb feature- the extracted note on your smartphone is now actionable- the phone # is clickable so you can call or text, or click the extracted address to launch your maps, or send an email. The beauty of this is that not only is it free and efficient, but with a simple click you can capture info while it is still fresh, even if you are sitting in traffic.

Have you used Google Keep to capture info or in other creative ways to enhance your Sales productivity? 

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