CRM Best Practices - Categories

Real Estate Technology with RE-ACT, LLC

How do you best organize your contacts? Each software has it's own term for how they group the contacts. One of the primary functions of a CRM is to be able to select a certain group of contacts with which to work. You may want to contact a certain group of people to call them to follow up, send a form letter or e-mail to that group, a post card, etc. In order to accomplish that, the contacts need to be categorized or grouped.

After about 12 years of trial and error, some of the categories I recommend to my clients for grouping their prospects are the following:

  • Buyer Past
  • Buyer Active
  • Buyer Pending
  • Buyer Prospect
  • Seller Past
  • Seller Pending
  • Seller Active
  • Seller Prospect
  • Settled 200X(X = year settled).

Be aware that using categories to this degree of detail is extremely tough, if not impossible, to remember to change consistently. The best way to accomplish that is to use your activity plans to remind you to change the category of the contact, as that contact progresses from status to status.

Use categories for everyone. Every contact in your database must be in at least one category. Otherwise you end up five years down the road, having no clue who uncategorized people in your database are. 

One more hint I would like to pass on is this. How many times have you wanted to find a Home Inspector, Attorney or Title Company, and could not remember the name? Since, when you entered that contact, you categorized them by what they were, you could do a search and find them that way. Want a quicker way? When entering John Smith, of ABC Home Inspections, enter him this way. First Name Field: John Smith Last Name Field: Home Inspector Company Name Field: ABC Home Inspectors. Now when you can't find that home inspector, simply go to your last name lookup, start keying the word HOME, and it will take you right to your list of Home Inspectors. This also comes in handy for doing a lookup on your PDA. It's much faster than doing a search of your home inspectors, and isn't efficiency what all this is about anyway?

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Comments (3)

Gary David Hall
RE-ACT, LLC - Doylestown, PA
Real Estate CRM Sales, Training and Implementation

Good point Rich, but most CRM's have fields for the first and last name, and then a different field for the address name, usually called the "Salutation" field. That way whenever you are doing any kind of mailings, the proper name format will be used from the proper field, so using the first and last name fields that way still work just fine!

Having used many different CRM's over the last 23 years, I have never had it be an issue.

Jun 13, 2010 04:01 AM
Paul Gapski
Berkshire Hathaway / Prudential Ca Realty - El Cajon, CA
619-504-8999,#1 Resource SD Relo

Isnt the settled type redundant since u have seller and buyer past. would this be a duplicate.

Mar 03, 2011 06:47 PM
Gary David Hall
RE-ACT, LLC - Doylestown, PA
Real Estate CRM Sales, Training and Implementation

What that gets you is the ability to track which year a buyer or seller closed. If you do as I did, which was to send out a HUD1 Letter (another post) I could just search on everyone in that category and send them whatever I liked.

Mar 04, 2011 05:58 AM