Bill Gates, in his book called "Business at the Speed of Thought" said "How you gather, manage and use information to serve the needs of your customer will determine whether you win or lose in your business." I happen to think Bill Gates is a pretty smart guy. I know he has more money than I do, so I try to pay attention to what he has to say.
Whether you are a single agent or have a team, whether you use Top Producer, Online Agent, Outlook or something else for contact management, you should spend some time each week on your database. You'll need a system of categorizing your contacts. I have a number of categorize in my database which is shared by my whole team:
Clients: Clients are anyone who we have done business with and collected $$$$. I also include my "sphere of influence in this catagory.
Prospects: Prospects are people we hope to do business with in the future. This list includes:
CMA prospects - anyone I have completed a CMA for including those "thinking" about putting their home on the market.
Orphans - those people who bought my listings. They will most likely be ignored by their own agent so I adopt them. When it comes time to sell their home, they will remember me because I will be in touch.
Movers and Shakers - Political leaders, Organization leadership from groups like the Rotary, or Chamber of Commerce.
Leads: This category is used by team members for their active leads including those from the internet. Each team member has a field of their own so they can sort by categories under their own name.
Family and Friends: They should be on your mailing list too!
Out of Area: These are clients who have moved out of the area. Because I live in a military community, this category is a great source of referral business and I keep in touch several times a year.
I have other categories including attorneys, appraisers, mortgage professionals, home inspectors etc. as well as local agents and out of area agents. I also have a category called vendors, for people like painters, cleaners etc.
We include the obvious under each contact: Address, phone numbers, email addresses. And maybe the not so obvious like birth dates, children's names, favorite dessert, pets names etc. How do we get this information? For all of our clients, we send a VIP form in a self addressed stamped envelope. I'd say we get 95% of these returned.
The notes section under each contact, is where I tell each person's story and comment on recent phone calls or correspondence. For instance, I like to send my clients articles they may find interesting. I make a note of it in this section.
As I develop my business plan and more specifically my marketing plan each year, I decide what I am going to send to each group in my database. I plan how often I am going to make contact, whether by mail, phone, email or in person.
The overall benefits of having a well organized database are many, including efficiency, time savings and continuity in communications.
My database is my future business. I try to take good care of it.