Contact Management with Soul - The Series - Creating Reasonable Expectations for Your Contact Manager

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

Okay, picking up from yesterday's blog about using contact management to Sell with Soul, let's talk today about creating reasonable expectations for your contract management system (aka CMS).

There's a natural desire among us human being Contact Managementtypes (‘specially us self-employed creatures) to be as efficient as we can with our money and our time, and, apparently, the space in our purses or pockets. Thus, the evolution of the All-in-One printer/scanner/fax/copier/sandwich-maker, the smart phone data device and yes, the contact management system.

I wrote a blog last month about how I tossed my Palm Pre smart phone out the window and went back to having two devices - one to make phone calls and one to handle emails when I'm on the road. After trying out several all-in-one devices that promised the world, I found that, fancy as they were, none of them did much of anything to my satisfaction. Once I fired back up my old LG flip phone and my vintage Blackberry Curve, my life improved exponentially. I've never looked back!

Well, I think it's the same with Contact Management. Most claim to provide a kitchen-sink level of features and services; from email management to newsletter creation to market snapshots to CMA's to contract preparation.


But I'm not impressed. All these extraneous features, in my experience, are clunky and imperfect. Yes, they will do newsletters, but, oh wait, the ability to track opens or include your fancy signature isn't available yet, but will be in the next upgrade "sometime next year!" Yes, it will create a CMA for you, but not in all markets and, no, that particular report isn't available, but will be in the next upgrade! Yada yada yada.

Here's the thing. We claim to be professionals; therefore, it only makes sense that we choose to use the BEST systems, tools and programs to run our businesses. And it's highly unlikely that one system, tool or program can possibly be the BEST at everything you need a system, tool or program to do for you.

A CMS is simply one tool to help you run your business, and, as described in yesterday's blog, it needs to do contact (and conTRACT) management Very Well. If you can find a CMS that you are happy with in those two areas, you're golden.

Don't expect it to do everything else for you - does a surgeon have only one-size scalpel? Does your family doctor only prescribe one drug? Does your hairstylist only have one pair of scissors?

No, and as professional real estate agents we should search out and commit to having the best tools and systems, both to build our businesses with and to serve the clients we're honored to be hired by.

If I were selling real estate today, here are the various tools/systems/programs I would have, all (or most) provided by different companies:

  • Contract preparation software
  • Remote document-signing software
  • Off-line MLS software
  • A contact manager to keep track of my SOI and manage my transactions
  • A mass-email/newsletter program
  • A CMA program
  • A listing presentation "program" (this would just be Microsoft Word and Publisher)
  • A Blackberry or other mobile data device
  • A good cell phone, separate from the Blackberry
  • An internet aircard, in addition to my cable internet at home
  • A good printer
  • A scanner (hopefully I could use the one at my office when I need high-level scanning capabilities)
  • A GPS
  • A website with IDX and lead capture
  • A blog (or two or three or twelve)

Do all these systems/tools/programs cost money? Yep. Most anyway. Am I made of money? Nope. Not these days. But they are the tools of my trade, so it's my duty to have them.

And that's the subject of an upcoming blog - "But what if I can't afford...?!"

Until next time...!

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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Lydie Ouellet Dickinson
Realty Executives Tri County, Bellingham MA - Bellingham, MA

This is it Jennifer. I am buying your book! Tell me that you talk  about that subject in it?

Jan 11, 2011 02:49 AM #1
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

LOL- no, actually I don't! Not much anyway because I haven't had all that much to say. However, I have about a chapter's worth of material scheduled to appear on this blog over the next week, so keep reading HERE!

Jan 11, 2011 02:51 AM #2
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

I like that list, but I am sticking with just a Blackberry - I remember the days of beepers and cell phones, at one point I had an alpha pager, a numeric pager and a Star Tac cell phone. (the Star Tac was by far my favorite cell phone over the years) the problem is I felt like batman with a utility belt! For a guy it is nice to be down to just one device - That way I dont have to worry about carrying a purse that matches my shoes :)

I would add to your list: a Shredder, even in the RE biz - Agents deal with a lot of their clients personal info, and they need to dispose of it properly! And a Laptop, I still see agents with out laptops- HOW the do business w/o one I will never understand???

Jan 11, 2011 03:04 AM #3
Julia Odom
Select Realty Professionals - Chattanooga, TN
Chattanooga Homes for Sale

I agree about using the best tool for the job but sometimes the tool that you have with you is the best (ever heard the adage about photography that the best camera is the one that you have with you when the opportunity arises?).

I know that if I had to keep up with all those devices (aircard, phone, email), I'd never have the one I needed at the right time. I have a hard enough time keeping up with the fob that works with my phone to open supra boxes. So maybe the corollary to 'use best tool for the job' is 'know thyself and what works for you.' For me, the fewer moving parts there are, the better my follow up is.

As soon as my phone can print, I'll be a happy camper!

Jan 11, 2011 05:52 AM #4
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Julia - that is an excellent observation! Let me add, though, that I'm not a fan of keeping up with every gizmo gadget that comes along - I definitely don't think that's necessary!

Jan 11, 2011 07:42 AM #5
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

Excellent series and I am really looking forward to the next installment.

But, don't you have a wedding to get ready for?  LOL

Jan 11, 2011 09:49 AM #6
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Oh, yeah, that! I'm pretty much good to go... a combination of being very organized and keeping things very simple! But you won't see too much of me after tomorrow, I suspect...

Jan 11, 2011 10:16 AM #7
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Just scheduled the January 27th follow-up show... to register, go here!


Jan 12, 2011 01:36 AM #8
Bob Jakowinicz
National Realty Centers Livonia--Bob Jakowinicz - Livonia, MI
Michigan Real Estate Agent-- MI RE Adventures

I can see your point and we do need the tools of the trade.  It can be tricky to run to many systems at once I think that's why the all-in-one is so popular.  Trying to get everything done without a big team, big money or tons of hours is really the trick these days.  Thanks for the good ideas 

Jan 13, 2011 12:06 AM #9
Sue Gabriel
Cleveland, OH

I've got just about everything on your checklist...and the bills to prove it. lol My favorite of your ideas? Two separate phones. I LOVE having my flip-phone for actually talking, and my Android to check the internet and email when away from my computer. DEFINITELY worth the extra expense!

Jan 14, 2011 01:00 AM #10
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