Look at your phone.  No, I am serious look at it.  After you punch in your super secret passcode, count the number of apps you have on your phone.

More than likely, you have about 44 total apps.  Now, count the number of apps that you use to promote or create sales. Be sure to include apps that help you to communicate with clients and/or promote your personal brand.

Most of us can only count 2-3 apps that are designed to help promote our livelihood:

1) E-mail

2) Text (which we almost solely use for personal communication)

3) The company CRM (which you don’t really use, but they force you to have it)

With over 3 million apps to choose from, you know there are more out there for you that could really help you to communicate with your clients, but you’re just not sure which apps to choose.

So, here’s a two-step rule to determine if an appropriate app is worth the time to download and learn:

Step 1. Does it fit your overall plan for personal development?

Step 2. What is the ROTI?

Let’s take a look at Step 1. more closely:  What’s the one area in which you plan to grow?

  • Expand your network more rapidly
  • Be more organized through digital notes
  • Exhibit your sense of urgency with prospects
  • Communicate with clients more effectively
  • Demonstrate your expertise and building your personal brand

Now, pursue apps that specifically help you accomplish your individual plan.

App 1:  LinkedIn

Personal Goal:  Expand your network

Time to download and learn:  20 minutes

ROTI:  2 hours per week + greater opportunities

Why you should be using it: LinkedIn seems like an obvious choice, and with nearly 400 million users across the world, LinkedIn represents the largest business network on the planet. Having immediate ability to search, refer, request, and research a potential client, customer, or employee from the palm of your hand is absolutely vital.

App 2:  Evernote
Personal Goal:  Be more organized through digital notes

Time to download, learn, and connect devices:  one hour

ROTI: 2 hours per week + team sharing + never losing another note again

Why you should be using it: in terms of keeping digital notes, you will likely choose between two primary products.  Evernote or Microsoft’s OneNote…both work well for digital note taking, sharing notes with others, and transferring the notes between devices, but Evernote has one primary feature which makes it our primary choice, Scannable (see app #3).

App 3:  Scannable

Personal Plan:  Act with a stronger sense of urgency with Scannable

Time to download and learn: one hour

ROTI: 2-4 hours per week

Why you should be using it: what makes Evernote first in class is its partner app: Scannable.   Scannable, when combined with LinkedIn and Evernote, allows you to scan a business card, saves the contact in your phone, and then, sends a beautifully designed email to your newest contact.  It’s really incredible. Just think, you never have to go back to the office to scan a card and send a LinkedIn request again.

App 4:  Skype

Personal Plan: Communicate with clients more effectively.

Time to download and learn:  one hour

ROTI:  Increase opportunity by 10-15 percent

Why you should be using it: the age of video chat is here, and in the business community, it’s not only acceptable; it’s preferred.  In lieu of a face to face meeting, Skype is the next best thing.  Your client wants to see you, and you definitely need to see your client.  There is no substitute for seeing the body language of a potential client. Take the time to learn Skype and you instantly increase your tech savvy ness rating with your prospects and clients.

App 5:  LinkedIn Pulse and Slideshare

Personal Plan:  Demonstrate your expertise and build your personal brand

Time to download and learn: three hours

ROTI:  Increased Opportunity by 20-30 percent

Why you should be using it: 2016 will be the year of the content creator, and you are that creator. In fact, for the first time in history, even front line employees will be expected to pursue expertise in their given fields.  Currently less than .002 percent of all users on LinkedIn, publish their own expert-driven content.

There is no better way to demonstrate that expertise than by posting articles through LinkedIn’s Pulse, and PowerPoint style presentations through LinkedIn’s Slideshare. With every post and Slideshare you share, you become known as not only a content creator but an expert in your given field.  That content is almost guaranteed to propel your career forward.

And what’s even more awesome, each and everyone of these apps are free.  In this new era of sales, many of us have missed using the most powerful tool in sales today: our cell phone. Invest the time to download the apps to your phone that will help you to achieve your plan. You’ll undoubtedly see a gain in productivity, expediency and your closing rates.


By Dan Streeter and Tim Brown