Tool #1 Data Base ; 4 tools of a successful real estate agent:

This is part of the ongoing series “Finding Success in the Basics”

The foundation of any long term real estate business is your data base. Without it how do you know…..who to call, when to call, what to talk about or what the next step is? How do you keep track of the person you just talked with, that will become a serious buyer next summer when their current job contract is over?

Pizza Hut knows more about their customer who is buying a $5 pizza then we know of our customers who are going to be investing $200,000 or more in a house. Try it, call them, Pizza Hut knows who you are, what you bought last time and is prepared to offer the same, plus offers suggestions to upgrade your delivered dining experience.

As an industry we have been in the habit of only working with a buyer or seller who has a need in the next 90 days. Statistics are showing us that today’s consumer begins their adventure of buying or selling a home as much as 2 years in advance.

No longer can we manage a business like this from the shoe box or rolodex.

We need a program that keeps track of:

1) Basic Data:

a. Name

b. Address

c. Phone number

2) Info Beyond name, address and phone:

a. Birthdays

b. Anniversaries

c. Kids names

d. Pets names

e. Job information

f. Hobbies and interests

g. Notes from last conversation

h. Next step

i. Next contact date

j. Pictures

We need this program to perform these functions:

1) Print mailing labels

2) Mail merge letters

3) Alert us to important dates

4) Remind us to follow up

5) Group contacts into categories to make searching easier

There are a lot of programs out there to use. Some are referred to as a CRM (click for Wiki) program (Contact Relationship Manager). I would go so far as to say using something is better than nothing. You can also over complicate this whole issue, if you asked 10 people for an opinion you will get 10 different answers. Write down what you want it to do…do some basic research….choose and move forward. Try to strike a balance between price, functionality and ease of use. (Some of these are like the human brain…most only use 3% of its ability) Here are a few that my agents have used successfully:

Act http://www.act.com/

Outlook http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/default.aspx

Goldmine http://www.goldmine.com/micro.aspx?id=4398

Top Producer http://www.topproducer.com/

Howard and Friends http://www.howardandfriends.com/

In closing, pick something that will have support well into the future, has the ability to export your data so that you can move later if you need to, and most of all…easy to use. You don’t want to become a programmer…one of my favorite sayings…don’t be a geek, know a geek. This should be a tool that works for you, not the other way around.

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