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?