Contact Management with Soul - The Series - "But I Can't Afford A Contact Management System!"

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

First things first... I'm an old married woman as of Saturday! Yay!

Second things next... hoping today's blog puts me over the 300,000 points mark...

And now onto today's message...Contact Management

After my first contact management teleseminar show on January 6th, I got a bunch of emails from attendees telling me they appreciated my passion for contact management, but simply couldn't afford it right now. Many asked if I knew of a system that was free or very low cost since, they reiterated, they couldn't afford an additional $35/month.


Okay, I totally 100% understand that times are tough. That budgets are tight. That every dollar coming into the household (or not, as the case may be) must be accounted for and spent wisely. Oh, how I get that and frankly, I'm proud of my listeners that they aren't just jumping on a bandwagon to spend spend spend just ‘cause I told them they should buy something!


Two things.

First, you should never purchase a system, tool or program that will not cover its cost, either in hard dollars or by saving you time (with which you can go out and earn some hard dollars). I will never recommend that you purchase anything for your business that won't, at the very least, pay for itself (assuming you use it), with the goal, of course, being that it pays for itself many times over.

So, rest assured that when I recommend that every real estate agent purchase a good contact management system, I do so with the expectation that they will make money from their investment.

Second (brace yourself, this might sting a little), you are in business for yourself. You are self-employed. You made the leap of faith into selling real estate knowing (hopefully) that you would no longer be protected by that regular-salaried, benefits-included, vacations-paid J  O  B you left. Selling real estate professionally is not a hobby. It's not (hopefully) a side gig that you do because you have a little spare time. It's your career; it's your profession. And it's up to YOU and YOU only to invest in the tools you need to be successful. And if you're at the point where $35/month breaks the budget, it might be time to re-evaluate whether or not you're doing the right thing by you and your family by being self-employed at this time.

Oh, sure we all have tight months - myself included - where we truly don't know where the money's gonna come from to pay for our Rainmaker blog or send out that month's marketing postcard or, shoot, feed the dogs. But that shouldn't be your reality month-to-month-to-month. If it is, it may be time for a little soul-searching. But that's a topic for a different day.

Back to contact management, is that $35/month you'll pay for contact management the magic bullet? No, not at all. ‘Specially if you don't use it! Do you HAVE to have Contact Management to survive as a real estate agent? Again, no, not at all. But in this gal's opinion, having good contact management in place can change your professional life and should be on your list of investments to make in yourself and your business, preferably sooner than later.

Next time, I'll expand on what I mean by contact management paying for itself...

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?

p.s. On January 27th, there will be a live webinar in the SWS Virtual Studio on the topic of using a contact manager to, well, make money! Unlike previous such programs, this will be a show-n-tell demo (that is - there will be visuals associated with the show) where I'll demonstrate various ways you can use a contact management system to get in touch and stay in touch with your sphere of influence. Details and registration here: I'll be using Ixact Contact for the demo, but the principles will likely apply to any contact management system you already use or are considering.

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  1. Rich Gaasenbeek 01/18/2011 05:59 AM
Real Estate Technology & Tools
More Referrals: Strategies & Tips on Getting More Referrals
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Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

First things first (again) CONGRATULATIONS!! 

Second, I completely agree with you 100% - we are business owners.  Period. 

If you opened a pizzeria but didn't have money for dough, how long would you last?  You couldn't expect your clients to buy crustless pizza because you lacked capital or profits. Or how about a bagel shop with no cream cheese?  Sorry, no money for condiments.  Blech!

Ditto real estate.  I think one of the biggest issues with this business is that so many agents do not take it seriously and do not see themselves as business owners or run their real estate "occupation" as a business. I cannot imagine running a successful business without a contact management system. 

Oh, yes, you can have a real estate career without one, certainly, but the amount of potential business that is lost because of lack of systems or the unnecessary time spent due to a lack of system is costly.

Sorry to go on and on, but you have hit on one of my pet peeves!





Jan 18, 2011 12:39 AM #4
Mike Saunders
Lanier Partners - Athens, GA

Jennifer - first, congrats on getting married and on your point milestone. second - yes, we do need a contact management system, but, we do need to use it faithfully (which is my problem). We are fortunate at KW to have a new set of tools coming available to us which will include contact management.

Jan 18, 2011 01:17 AM #5
Larry Bettag
Cherry Creek Mortgage Illinois Residential Mortgage License LMB #0005759 Cherry Creek Mortgage NMLS #: 3001 - Saint Charles, IL
Vice-President of National Production

Jennifer...I fully agree....if it won't generate revenue for you, then why bother.  Sounds like you may have the system in place for those serous about growing their business.

Jan 18, 2011 01:17 AM #6
Karin Lundeen
Keller Williams Realty - Denver Southlands - Centennial, CO
Realtor Centennial Homes For Sale

Jennifer, I love your "soul" and passion for Real Estate!  Thanks for the advice!

Jan 18, 2011 01:24 AM #7
Retired from ActiveRain
Baker, OR

Congratulations again Jennifer on getting married.  Your post strikes a chord with me.  As a virtual assistant I frequently invest in programs and services that enhance my business and benefit my clients.  I make the investment only after careful consideration of how this purchase will be used and whether the returns will outweigh the costs.  Perhaps for some Realtors the benefits of a good contact management system used well aren't fully understood.

Jan 18, 2011 01:39 AM #8
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Jennifer. It's difficult to get agents to use FREE stuff!! I agree completely that $35 a month is a very small price to pay if it increases your business and/or makes things easier and saves time. It cost money to be in business.

Jan 18, 2011 02:11 AM #9
Lydie Ouellet Dickinson
Realty Executives Tri County, Bellingham MA - Bellingham, MA

1~ Another great point made today!

2~ Congrats! "Old married woman" does not exist. You are a young married woman married to an old married spouse! lol

3~ Did you make it to 300,000?

Well done!

Jan 18, 2011 03:06 AM #10
Crystal Pina
774.289.5521 - Worcester, MA
Remax Professional Associates

Like you said, it doesn't matter what it costs if you don't use it. The new Keller Williams system is going to cost $15/month but it's going to replace something that costs $8/month whether we use it or not.

Jan 18, 2011 03:25 AM #11
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

Congratulations on your Nuptuials!

I have always said, Pick a contact manager, learn it and USE IT! I dont even think it matters what it is or what it costs if you use it daily it will work. It is a business tool, and we have to invest in our business dont we?

I know I hate the thought of yet another montly bill, and prefer a stand alone contact manager rather than a web based one... but we all have our own opinions, that's what makes life fun!

Jan 18, 2011 05:16 AM #12
Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

OMW, it's official and I am so  happy for you!  Your redirect at "BUT" then onto "Second (brace yourself, this might sting a little)" was very matronly.  Congratulations again JAH and also to the Old Man!   

Jan 18, 2011 06:54 AM #13
Ann Allen Hoover
RE/MAX Advantage South - Hoover, AL
CDPE SRES ASP e-PRO Realtor - Homes for Sale - AL

Congratulations ol' married lady!  I need to closely read your contact management advice.....I have a powerful program and don't utilize it like I should be doing.

Jan 18, 2011 07:21 AM #14
Kelly Cordova-Armer
Cornerstone Real Estate Professionals - Ogden, UT
Selling with Soul amidst the Utah Mountains!

If I would have started using a contact manager system when I started Real Estate - I would be a lot further in the game.  I met so many great people but for lack of having somewhere to track them I have missed the boat a bit.  The key is to learn it - and USE it as Robert stated! 

Jan 18, 2011 10:33 AM #15
Christine McDaniel
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Porter Co. - Crown Point, IN
Broker Associate

A good contact management system is key but you have to use it.  I can't wait for the new Keller Williams system to start!

Jan 18, 2011 05:35 PM #16
Linda Jandura
Raleigh Cary Realty - Apex, NC
Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist

Jen- congratulations on joining the  young "old married women" club. I didn't hear any fireworks or feel the earth shake here in NC from that wild party down in Mississippi though!

Your contact management webinar was great and I can't wait for "parts 1-111." 

Have a great Wednesday!

Jan 19, 2011 12:45 AM #17
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Good advice about purchasing a system that covers its cost. I think that is where we sometimes miss the big picture. And, "old married woman," congrats! Thanks.

Jan 20, 2011 12:17 AM #18
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Hi Jennifer....Congrats on you wedding!

No - I CAN'T afford a contact management system.  I've got one called an Excel spread sheet - and its FRRRREEEEEE.  Well, not free - I did pay for MS Office.   Keller is introducing a contact management I'm waiting for that to start up. We all have to make decisions about how we proceed.  I found out the hard way $10 here, $40 there.  I was up to $350 a month before even post cards and other marketing for my listings.  So decisions had to made.  I record my leads and clients on EXCEL...After the first 2 months - they all get the same thing - a monthly news letter and holiday cards.  The clients that I have closed transactions with or that I had more than a transitory relationship with do get more and that is only now getting cumbersome.  But for several years that was all I needed.  I have a separte sheet for them with anniversaries and birthdays and a record of phone calls etc. 

But since I am so close to getting one for Keller that it seems wise to just wait.

Jan 20, 2011 03:31 PM #19
Sue Gabriel
Cleveland, OH

Argh...697 points away! But congratulations anyway! :)

And I was one of those "I can't afford it right now" agents, and Outlook did what I thought I needed for the past 3 1/2 years. But now that I'm trying out a real CMS program, with checklists and tasks and everything...well, $35/mo is a drop in the bucket if it keeps me on task (no pun intended), nothing slips through the cracks, and I reconnect effortlessly with my SOI.

Jan 21, 2011 04:45 AM #20
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Sue - it IS amazing, isn't it - when you start using a system that does what it's supposed to do. I'm having a blast with it, too.

Jan 23, 2011 10:37 PM #21
Stacie Colclasure
Gateway Holding and Referral Company - Bethalto, IL
Realtor, Bethalto, IL

Jennifer - Congratulations to you and your husband!!!  I have been away from Active Rain for several months and it seems like I've missed a lot; especially you! 

Btw, since transferring to a new office six months ago, my broker has mentioned your books at our meetings at least 10 times  :) 

Jan 24, 2011 11:49 AM #22
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Stacie - that's so cool! And that story of her handing you the book to read and you showing her YOUR name on the back... that's priceless.

Jan 24, 2011 10:33 PM #23
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