If you're an Olympic or a Paralympic athlete, you need to find yourself a CRM program. What the heck is a CRM program? I had zero idea what that meant when I was first told about it just one year ago in January of 2017. A CRM program is a customer relationship management program or tool in order to help manage your contacts and information of all the people that you know and that you meet.

Now, why am I bringing this up to you? Why is this important and relevant to you in your life? Especially if you're an Olympic or a Paralympic athlete, and again, this can apply to just networking in general, and any kind of professional sports where you're just meeting a lot of people. What happened to me was, I was in a great position, especially in these weeks and months leading up to the games, where there's so much more hype around you. You're attending more events, and you continue to find yourself in so many great opportunities that these people that are meeting you, that are embracing you, they want to involve you with something, and when the dust settles, it's okay to connect or whatever.

 I was in a great position, especially in these weeks and months leading up to the games, where there's so much more hype around you.

It might not always be, "Connect with me right now, but down the road," and what I found myself doing, that I'm sure you might have too, is that we go home, and we're so busy that we don't have time to follow up, is one of the biggest problems. Number two is that we'll just toss those cards into a pile, and then look to get back to them later, but what happens when you forget who they were, and where you met, what some background story is about them?

In my case, what happened was, I spent from 2010 to 2015, 2016, before I really started to think about how could I start to leverage some of these opportunities. I was just so busy being focused on competing. I get it. We are head down, tunnel vision towards the games, and we can often think, "Well, when will I ever need to go back to that person?" or, "I hope that I'll remember them." What happened to me is that ... I'm sure this is probably happening to you at some point. When I was done playing with the team, as I literally looked over, I think I have a picture on my cell phone somewhere of this. I know I took a picture, because I looked over, and I had a shoebox of business cards. Literally, a shoebox of business cards. There had to have been 80 to 150 in there.

Anyway, I didn't know what to do with them, so when I finally learned what a CRM program is and how I could use one, I had to spend some time researching, and I want to talk to you about that. There's lots of free tools out there for you to use on how you can best create your own database for your own personal network. There's programs like Highrise and Insightly are two of the first ones that I learned about, and I spent some time trying to learn. The one that I settled on, to date has been working the best for me, is called Pipedrive. Look up these three programs online: Highrise, Insightly, or Pipedrive.

There are lots of free tools out there for you to use on how you can best create your own database for your own personal network.

Like I said, Pipedrive, I found, in my experience, is the best, because what it does is allows you to ... You're going to integrate the information off that business card, first of all. Who they are, email, phone number, company, position or title, and then once you've inputted that, you'll be linking your email to their contact information, and then, it's through Gmail or whatever, your emails from your personal account will be pulled into the CRM program, and then you can see all of your information there. So, when you get home, at the same time, that's the first step, is just finding the program.

The second step is that every time you come home from an event, or even through the app on your phone, you're going to input that information along with that bit that you might have talked to them about, like, "Met this guy, Steve, the VP at Scotiabank, who has two kids, and a dog, and one kid plays soccer, one plays hockey, and follow up with him in five months from now in the summer time when he's doing his bike ..." cycling race, marathon, or something.

Whatever it is, this is your opportunity to collect that information, because what'll happen is, maybe not today, but when the day comes that you're done with sport, or even while you're still in sports, and you're maybe creating your own product, or you got a new speaking program that you're working on, or life after sport, and you're looking for the job, now you can go back to your database and see, who do I know? I know today now from spending a year, I spent the entire year of 2017 building my database, and I went back a bit, but I mostly started from scratch to really just leverage, who do I know today, so it's fresh. Now I've got a list of, I guess, today it's maybe 50 to 100 of really solid contacts, but it's everything from CEOs to senior VPs to executives to directors to HR managers and everything else in between that ... these are my contacts.

What I want you to get over is the idea of, maybe you might be thinking, I'm never going to meet this person again. I'm never going to use this ... I don't need to contact them. I'm not going to use this information. You just never know, but to start thinking about, how can you start to build your own database for that day if and when you decide to reach out and contact them, because I promise you, it'll become very, very useful, especially in the years as you further get down your career in sport and beyond.

So, take a look online. Find a system that works for you that's easiest to use. Highrise, Insightly, and Pipedrive are the top three that I've found a lot of success with, and check them out. Start experimenting with them today, and I wish you the best of luck. Cheers.