A few days ago, I posted a blog about how I don't buy the argument that a real estate agent can't afford to purchase a contact management system because that extra $10 or $20 or $35 or $39/month just ain't in the budget. You can read it here.
Today I'll be a little more upbeat and a little less preachy and explain why I made the claim in the above-noted blog that good Contact Management can and should pay for itself, many times over.
There are two general ways a CMS pays for itself, both, not coincidently, based on the two general things I believe a contact manager should do Very Well (those would be contact management and conTRACT management).
Managing Your Contacts
First, a CMS should enable you to create and maintain a database of everyone you know. But it's what you do with that database that will make you money.
What can you do with your database to make money?
You can remember and acknowledge birthdays of the people you know. You can print out a list of your Group One (your social network) and ask two people from that list to lunch every week. You'll have a handy place to enter the contact information of new people you meet and add them to your go-to-lunch-or-coffee activities or send them your monthly mass-email and annual calendar. You can take notes on conversations you've had with friends and acquaintances and set a reminder to follow-up with them in a week or two to "see how it went" (whatever the "it" is).
Simple simple stuff! Yet, without a contact manager, even a rudimentary one, most of these easy, friendly, stay-in-touch activities simply won't get done. And I guarantee you'll forget all about 90% of the people you're meeting out there in the world...and they'll forget about you. A year goes by... and two... and three... and then you wake up one morning and realize you've lost thousands of dollars in commissions because you lost touch with most of the people you know, and never followed-up with all those people you've met. You didn't mean to, of course, but without a CMS, it's tough to do even a marginally good job of keeping track of those Very Important People In Your Life who can send you business.
If you don't have (and use) a CMS, I'll bet $100 that you've lost over $10,000 (at least) in potential paychecks every year you've been a real estate agent. Probably more.
Managing Your Contracts
The second way a CMS will pay for itself is by helping you stay on top of your transactions - that is - conTRACT management. And this will pay for itself in multiple ways as well!
When you're on top of your business, your clients are being well-taken care of - and they will notice! When you do the things you promised to do when you promised to do them; when you contact your client with updates before they have to contact you; when you head off problems before they even arise; when you always appear to be on top of their transaction - you'll have yourself one (or a dozen) impressed client(s) who will be delighted to spread the word of your impressiveness to the world.
But what's really sweet about having and using good conTRACT management is that you won't screw up - at least - not nearly as much as you might without it. When you have fully customized checklists and action plans keeping you on track, things don't slip through the cracks. And when things don't slip through the cracks, you don't have to open your checkbook to fix problems nearly as often. For example, once I got to pay for a thorough housecleaning on my listing after the seller moved out because he "forgot" to do it. So, my Listing-Under-Contract checklist now includes "Verify that seller has arranged cleaning after move-out."
Another time, I got to write a check because I hadn't verified that the HOA fee advertised in the MLS was correct... and it wasn't. We didn't find out until we were all sitting at the closing table and my buyer was, to put it mildly, annoyed. The listing agent (who made the error) wouldn't ‘fess up to his mistake, so it fell to me to make things all better. Which I did, to the tune of over $500. Now, right there on my Buyer-Under-Contract checklist is a line that says "Verify the HOA Fee."
So, the moral of these stories is to assure you that if you commit to using a contact management system in your business, it will pay for itself. Over and over. I promise.
THE CONTACT MANAGEMENT WITH SOUL SERIES
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?
THE CONTACT MANAGEMENT WITH SOUL SERIES
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: www.sellwithsoul.com/cms2. 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.