5 Surefire Steps to Getting More Leads, Referrals, and Repeat Business

Real Estate Technology with IXACT Contact Real Estate CRM

Use a real estate CRM to generate more leads, referrals, and repeat businessLike many REALTORS®, you probably have some sort of contact list, but you’re not really sure how to use that list to grow your business. Perhaps you have a contact list in Microsoft Outlook or Google Gmail, but it’s really just a glorified address book. You’ve heard about how successful agents leverage their contact database to generate leads, encourage referrals, and build a loyal clientele, but you’re not clear on exactly how to go about doing this. If this sounds like you, read on! This blog post will show you the specific steps you need to take in order to become a master in effective contact management.

#1: Begin using a real estate CRM system

A good real estate customer relationship management (CRM) system is the cornerstone to effective contact management and managing your sphere of influence (SOI). Your contact management system needs to be tailored to real estate, which is why Outlook and Gmail, for example are not sufficient. With a real estate CRM, you can effectively manage not only your contacts, but your listings, and send pre-written marketing communication pieces out that have been designed with Realtors in mind. Not only that, there are many, many other benefits to working with a real estate CRM system as you’ll see below.

#2: Segment your database into groups and categories

In order to have relevant, personalized conversations with your SOI and organize your business effectively, you need to categorize your contacts. The first thing you’ll want to do is to assign every contact to the appropriate contact type: prospect, client, business-to-business, or personal.  This is the most basic form of segmentation and it’s so important to be communicating with different contacts in different ways. The emails and letters you send to prospects should be completely different than those you send to clients.

To truly master contact management, you’ll also want to go a step further and assign your contacts to relevant groups. These groups can be as simple as separate groups for your “A List” and “B List.” You might also create “community” groups, which allow you to capture the nature of your relationship with each contact. Church groups, community service clubs, sports teams, college alumni, and former co-workers are all good examples of categorization groups. 

Let’s say you worked for Apple in a previous career and have many former colleagues in your contact database. Ideally, you’d like to send customized versions of your marketing communications to these people, with part of the content in each email or letter reflecting your Apple relationship and shared experiences. Customizing your marketing communications in this way makes them more personalized and relevant and this in turn increases their effectiveness.  By creating a group called “Apple Colleagues,” your real estate CRM makes it incredibly easy to execute these kinds of high-impact communications.

#3: Gather more information on your contacts as time goes by

No one is expecting you to have oodles of information on each one of your clients off the bat. But the more information you have and are able to get, the better. The information you need goes above and beyond phone number, mailing address, and email. I’m referring to interests, hobbies, birthdays, and various details on a contact’s partner and children. This will enable you to carry out my next point, which is the ability to have meaningful and relevant conversations.

Although it’s highly advantageous for you to have this type of detailed information on each one of your contacts, the process takes time. You’re not going to want to sit down with a client, for example, and interview them. But people do like to talk about themselves so next time you’re speaking with someone in your SOI, ask about how their weekend was. I’m sure a number of things will come up naturally – maybe they’ll mention their son, Michael’s baseball final and their cottage outside town. If you have 30 seconds to show genuine interest in a client beyond the business at hand, you’ll be surprised at how much information you’ll learn.

#4: Use the information you have about your contacts to have more meaningful conversations

You have all this great information on your contacts. You know John Doe’s birthday, you know he loves Honduran cigars, and you know that his son Jimmy plays basketball.  Why is this valuable? Well, imagine how John would feel if you not only sent him a card on his birthday but also a box of Honduran cigars? Imagine how he would feel if the next time you spoke with him, you asked about how Jimmy is doing in his basketball league? Imagine not dreading that call to a past client because you now have something to talk about that’s relevant to their life. Getting to know your contacts as real people is so vital to building those lifelong relationships. Who do you think John will refer next time he’s asked about a real estate agent? You!

#5: Build a marketing plan that generates leads and grows your business

You’ve invested in a real estate CRM system, grouped your contacts, and have some great information on most of them. Now this is where the fun comes in. You have built the foundation to market to your clients, past clients, and prospects in a meaningful way. Say goodbye to those useless batch and blast emails. In order to get results, your communication needs to be targeted, personalized, and relevant. Your real estate CRM will allow you to easily select a group or number of groups and then send a personalized mass email out or select a group and create mail merge letters and labels.

In order to really supercharge your marketing plan, you need to assign different activity plans to different categories of contacts. For example, you’ll want to ensure you have an activity plan for that first time buyer, an activity plan to get that expired listing, and yet another activity plan that will allow you to make certain you’re nurturing your relationships with past clients after you’ve found them their dream home.

The bottom line

Simply having a glorified address book is not enough. What matters is how you’re using the contact information you have to grow your relationships and generate leads and referrals. And you need a system in place to be successful. A real estate specific contact management system is key here and is the foundation to maximizing the value of your database. If don’t have a real estate CRM that you’re using, or you have one that just isn’t working for you, sign up for a FREE 5 week trial of IXACT today. Take the plunge; you’ll be happy you did!

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IXACT Contact helps you build lasting relationships with past clients, hot prospects, and important referral sources, keep in touch with clients the right way, generate high quality new leads, and manage the transaction side of your business, keeping you organized and in control.
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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Ginger Harper 10/21/2012 08:01 AM
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
Active Rain Newbies
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The Lounge at Active Rain
Real Estate Rookie
real estate leads
real estate email marketing
real estate contact management
real estate crm
real estate sphere of influence

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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad


IXACT has been recommended by several people so that's pretty encouraging. I think your reasons for using a CRM are spot-on. Gonna check it out some more.


Oct 18, 2012 12:01 AM #1
Andrew Ostrander
Ostrander Real Estate Group - Phoenix, AZ
Ostrander Real Estate Group

Good tips.  I think the thing that affects more Realtors than anything else is that they don't actually work on their database.  They think about it and talk about it, but only the top agents actually WORK on it, which is why they are top agents.

Oct 18, 2012 02:45 AM #2
Rich Gaasenbeek
IXACT Contact Real Estate CRM - Toronto, ON
Real Estate CRM & Marketing Made Easy!

Jeff: I'm glad to hear that. Thanks!

Andrew: That's a great point!!

Oct 18, 2012 04:12 AM #3
Shane Barker
Amerifirst Financial, INC. - Salt Lake City, UT

Great advice and info, we could all use more of these tips and tricks to boost our leads.

Oct 18, 2012 04:28 AM #4
Rich Gaasenbeek
IXACT Contact Real Estate CRM - Toronto, ON
Real Estate CRM & Marketing Made Easy!

Shane: Thanks, glad you found the info helpful!

Oct 18, 2012 05:41 AM #5
Nakia Brooks
GaRealtyGroup | 2ShortSaleGuys - Braselton, GA
Selling GA, One yard at a time!

Great Info Rich,

After several years in the business, sometimes we are reminded when we aren't as busy as we want to be to go back to the basics and start where you started from!!!

We do this regularly as well as make our Buyer's Agents do this too.  We specialize in Short Sales and when we are low on listings we go right into the heart of our database and call, call, call.   Not only having the database is important to us, we like your advice, have it in groups to make and make notes when we call these folks.

Thanks again, great post!!!

Oct 18, 2012 06:26 AM #6
Rich Gaasenbeek
IXACT Contact Real Estate CRM - Toronto, ON
Real Estate CRM & Marketing Made Easy!

Hi Nakia: Thanks for that feedback! Keep on doing what you're doing :)

Oct 18, 2012 06:38 AM #7
Kimberly Schaefer
Coldwell Banker Heritage - Dayton, OH

Great post.  I am new to the business and feel it is good to see what works and understanding how to implement them into your everyday business.

Oct 18, 2012 08:40 AM #8
San Mateo County Broker Associate Mayra Espinosa
Realty ONE Group Alliance| Call 650-996-8961 - San Mateo, CA
Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes San Mateo County

I have been looking for a CRM that work. I will give it a try to IXACT. Thanks for sharing!

Oct 18, 2012 04:27 PM #9
Rich Gaasenbeek
IXACT Contact Real Estate CRM - Toronto, ON
Real Estate CRM & Marketing Made Easy!

Kimberly: Thanks Kim. IXACT Contact gives new agents six months free. More info here: https://www.ixactcontact.com/RookieRealtorCRMProgram.aspx

Mayra: Great! Glad to hear that!

Oct 19, 2012 12:35 AM #10
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Rich-Six months free? That is quite a nice long burn in period. Your points make a lot of sense.

Oct 19, 2012 03:22 PM #11
Paul Francis
Francis Group Real Estate - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Real Estate Agent - Summerlin Homes

Looks like it's worth a shot. I've needed a better / simpler CRM then what I have in place and since I'm a Brian Buffini believer, you hit the nail on the head with some of the points you mention in your post that are important for me.


Oct 21, 2012 12:31 AM #12
Steve Higgins
RE/MAX Kelowna - Kelowna, BC

Hi Rich,

Good post and good points. Being fairly new to the business I don't have a CRM, however, I think it is time to look into one.

Oct 21, 2012 02:45 AM #13
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

The look like 5 really good surefire steps to gettinhg more leads. I use many of them and will concentrate on those that I have not used yet. Thanks for the Post.

Oct 21, 2012 08:01 AM #14
Rich Gaasenbeek
IXACT Contact Real Estate CRM - Toronto, ON
Real Estate CRM & Marketing Made Easy!

Wayne: New agents get six months free :) Yes, it's a great offer!!

Paul: Thanks, I'd love to know what you think of the system!

Steve: Thank you. It's esepcially important to use a CRM when you're just starting out. Get organaized from day one :)

Ginger: Glad you found the information helpful!



Oct 22, 2012 12:33 AM #15
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Real Estate CRM & Marketing Made Easy!
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