Contact Management with Soul - The Series - The Two Things a Contact Manager Should Do VERY WELL

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

Last Thursday, I did my first-ever contact management teleseminar show in the SWS Virtual Studio. The goal of the program was to do a general overview of what *I* think a contact manager ought to do for you, and provide some solid ideas of how to use your contact manager to do those things.Contact Management (if you missed the show, you can purchase a recording of it for $3.99 HERE).

Had great attendance and terrific feedback. And lots and lots of questions, some of which I answered yesterday here. However, many of the questions asked during and after the show have inspired me to do a little series on contact management! Isn't that the most exciting thing??

So, let's get started, shall we?!

<By the way, every single word that follows is based on MY opinion of and experience with the subject at hand. While I may sound as if I'm some big smarty-pantz know-it-all, well, I really don't know it all. I'm just telling you how I see things and you can take or leave my words as you see fit!>

I believe a contact management system should do two things well. Very well. If it doesn't do these two things Very Well, I don't care what else it does, Very Well or otherwise.

These two things are:

•  Managing Your ConTACTS, and

•  Managing Your ConTRACTS.

Your "conTACTS" are the people who make up your database, aka, your sphere of influence or SOI. Your "conTRACTS" are your active listings and pending sales.

Managing Your Contacts
A good contact management system (let's use CMS from here on) will allow you to easily and intuitively enter contact information for everyone you know, including data for their spouse, partner, children and other relatives, including different last names and individual contact information. It should allow you to track the birthdays of all members and notify you of an upcoming birthday (and other special dates you want to acknowledge). It should allow you to categorize your contacts into various groups, and the names of such groups should be fully customizable. It should allow you to include a person in more than one group and sort accordingly. It should allow you to link conTACTS with conTRACTS.

Managing Your Contracts
Speaking of contracts, a good CMS should allow you to create checklist  templates (also known as action plans or activity plans) that are fully customizable, to apply to your real estate transactions.

For example, the CMS should make it easy for you to create a "New Listing Checklist" with all of the to-do's associated with a new listing from Day One to the date it expires or goes under contract. When you get a New Listing, you simply apply the New Listing Checklist template to that contact profile and BAM! You have an auto-populated to-do list for the listing that reminds you to do all those things you need to for the seller, on the day you need to do them.

Those are the two things a good CMS must do. The rest - all fluff. I don't care if it creates fancy splashy newsletters, I don't care if it has a gazillion drip campaign emails or marketing letters, I don't care if it creates CMA's or listing presentations, I don't care if it blows your nose for you. If it doesn't do the two things I just described Very Well, it's not a good contact management system.

Okay, that's today's show. Tune in next time for more opinions, ramblings and advice on the scintillating topic of Contact Management!

Part I - The Unanswered Questions
Part II - The Two Things a Contact Manager Should Do Very Well
Part III - Creating Reasonable Expectations for Your Contact Manager
Part IV - "But I Can't Afford a Contact Management System!"
Part V - Contact Management Pays for Itself - if you use it!
Part VI - Which System do I Recommend?

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Dawn Crawley
Dawn Crawley Realty - Pinehurst, NC
Find Pinehurst Homes

Thanks for the tips smarty pantz.

Jan 09, 2011 11:58 PM #1
Viola Vincent

Is there a contact management system that you recommend?

Jan 10, 2011 12:19 AM #2
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

LOL Dawn - Literally - I laughed out loud.

Viola - I've been test-driving a new system - it's called IXACT Contact and I'm loving it. It does these things Very Well (and other stuff, too, but I don't care about those other things). You can get a 60-day free trial at and I'll be doing a demo show on January 27th using IXACT.

Jan 10, 2011 12:21 AM #3
Sue Gabriel
Cleveland, OH

I really should sign up for the 60-day trial. I've been using Outlook, and it's working so far, but I'd love something Real Estate specific.


Jan 10, 2011 12:41 AM #4
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Sue - I really think you'd like it - and would find all sorts of uses for it - I know I have. I'm having a blast and you and I think alike on issues of organization and efficiency!

Jan 10, 2011 01:07 AM #5
Rick Obst
Eugene, OR

Jennifer, I enjoyed listening to your teleseminar on contact management systems last week.  I'm looking forward to test driving IXACT Contact and your upcoming webinar.  Also, congratulations!

Jan 10, 2011 01:42 AM #6
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

As someone who is insanely well organized, this is one area that haws continually kicked my butt in this career.  I have changed products so many times, it would make your head spin. I am excited to have something else to try, because honestly, nothing has stuck so far, I just keep paying for one program after another - and failing to use one program after another.

Jan 10, 2011 02:20 AM #7
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Susan - I'm really surprised you don't use a contact manager consistently. Once you find one that works for you and understand it, you'll decide you can't live without it... and that's a GOOD thing.

Rick - Thanks!!



Jan 10, 2011 02:28 AM #8
Lydie Ouellet Dickinson
Realty Executives Tri County, Bellingham MA - Bellingham, MA

I think I just might have to buy your book! This is great read and fantastic info!

Jan 10, 2011 03:07 AM #9
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

How did your pants get so smart?

I agree with the groups etc.  I actually prefer each group to be in an entirely separate database with in the same program. For my world: "prospects, Clients that have not purchased yet but are looking" "in process'- clients that purchased, but not closed yet, "Closed"-CLIENTS FOR LIFE!, and Business partners.

Ideally if you can toss them back and forth from one database to the other would be great too.

That is just my humble 2cents worth on the subject.

Jan 10, 2011 04:27 AM #10
Christine McDaniel
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Porter Co. - Crown Point, IN
Broker Associate

Thanks for the blogs on contact management systems.  It is a good time of year to be reassessing.  I wish I would have known when I started in real estate how important this is as a first step.


Jan 10, 2011 04:58 AM #11
Helena (Leni) Dragar
HomeSmart Real Estate Momentum LLC - Mentor, OH
Realtor, ABR, and Notary Public in OHIO

I have read both of your books and really have learned a lot and love them.  I just signed up for the CMS you recommended with 5 week trial.  Looking forward to working with this one.  I too have never found one that I liked.  This system seems really easy to learn and use.  Thanks again for the great info!


Jan 10, 2011 06:35 AM #12
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

I was just getting ready to buy TP when I listened to the seminar. You said that TP is good, but hard to learn. If one is willing to put in the time to learn a system, which do you like better TP or IXACT?

Jan 10, 2011 08:10 AM #13
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Hi Tom - I'd be happy with either one. So, I guess since time is money, I'd say go with Ixact. Yes, TP will do more than Ixact will and if you think you'll need all those bells and whistles (and I'm talking about stuff only a real power user would want or need), then you might want just suck it up and learn TP. But if you'll be a "regular" user - maybe a little on the advanced side, but not crazy, I'll take easier over harder any day.

An example of what TP will do that I'm guessing most won't - you can sort and make mass updates by just about any field, using and/or's, and/and's, or's/or's parameters, if that makes sense.

There are a few other things TP does that I wish Ixact did, and I hope they do add, but most agents won't even notice it. For example, if the closing date changes in a contract that I have set up in an action plan, the dates on my task list don't automatically update in conjunction with the date change. TP handles this BEAUTIFULLY and I miss that. That's probably my biggest gripe, but I have found a reasonably good workaround for it.

Glad you asked?

Jan 10, 2011 09:22 AM #14
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Leni - let me know how it goes!!

Christine - me, too. I did okay without it, but once I discovered the joy of having a system that worked... I couldn't imagine not having it.

Robert - I suspect lenders have different needs from real estate agents - I actually prefer just the opposite approach... which I'll talk about in the next show!

Jan 10, 2011 09:23 AM #15
Terkel Sørensen
Real Estate Places - Temecula, CA
Realtor, 951.805.0773 , Bank owned and Short Sales

Jennifer, this is a great series. would you let us know what cms systems you evaluated?

Jan 24, 2011 01:08 AM #16
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Terkel - Sure! Please note that I did not give all of these a "fair" test-run - some I just signed up for the trial membership and then got stuck and lost my enthusiasm. But perhaps that's part of a test-run!

My first CMS was Top Producer 7i. Once I learned it, I LOVED it. Couldn't imagine running my business (or life) without it. When they upgraded to 8i, I found myself frustrated trying to figure it out (and I'd been using 7i for years), so I terminated my subscription.

Next I tried some free program - can't remember what it was, but it didn't even track birthdays, so that was out.

My RE/MAX office had a system - can't remember what it was called either, and it seemed okay. But I left RE/MAX and my access to the system went away, so obviously, that's not a good long-term solution.

I tried Realty Juggler twice and just never used it enough to decide if I loved it. Not sure if that was my lack of passion at the time or something missing in the program. I've heard great things about it, though.

I did a demo of REST (the Mac-friendly system) and, like Realty Juggler, just couldn't get deep enough into it to decide if it would work for me. And again, I've heard great things about it.

I half-heartedly used MoreSolds for a few years. At first, I thought it was great, but there are way too many things it doesn't do that it really should - very basic things. But, the price is right (free to $10/month).

I spent about 3.5 minutes evaluating Outlook as a contact manager. But it froze up my computer and did glitchy things so I uninstalled it completely. Hated it.

There may have been more - if I remember any, I'll come back!


Jan 24, 2011 01:39 AM #17
Ron Spanton
RE/MAX Real Estate Associates - Gilbertsville, KY
Kentucky Lake Area

Jennifer, is your demo on January 27th going to be on the web?

Jan 24, 2011 09:58 AM #18
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Ron - Yep. Just go here:


Jan 24, 2011 10:02 AM #19
Mark Thomas
Coldwell Banker King Thompson - Reynoldsburg, OH

Im just getting started in real estate and want to thank everyone for their decusion on this subject. I now have 3 or 4 contact manager systems to check out. If anybody has any other sugestions please let me know. Thanks again

Jan 30, 2011 05:20 AM #20
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