Your DATABASE!THE single most valuable asset in your business isn’t your cell phone… or your car… or your office. It’s actually your “Power List” of past clients, friends, family, acquaintances, hot leads, etc., who have the ability to bring you new clients, referrals and repeat business. Your power list is essentially your personal market share in this business. No power list – no market share. No market share… and you’re destined for a life of non-stop frustration and struggle in this business. That’s because…
REALTORS® Who Are Relationship-Driven Will Leave The Competition In The Dust!So…if your “power list” is the most valuable asset of your business, then the second most valuable asset in your business is your Power List Tracking System™. Today we’re going to talk about creating your Power List Tracking System™ by using a simple database (or contact manager / CRM system) as your foundation. Even if you currently have a database, this article will help you use it more effectively. Before we begin, I want you to know that creating your Power List Tracking System™ is faster and easier than you might think – once you put your mind to it. In fact, many agents create their entire system in about 30 to 45 minutes.
What are the components of a Power List Tracking System™ ?Actually, there are just 2 components: A Database and a Word Processing program. Let’s look at each. Quickly put, your database will allow you to have a more personal relationship with a greater number of people. And remember, nothing distinguishes you better and makes you beneficially different from every other agent…than a deep, personal, and REAL relationship. Your database will also allow you to keep your contact consistent and regular – so you never fall behind and lose market share. Plus, it will allow you to “track and categorize” your clients and other power list members so you can have more targeted contact with them. So, for example, if you want to send a personal birthday card to a power list member…or a “happy home anniversary” promotion…or even send a special letter to your “Top 20% Power Players” who have referred to you in the past (you’ll learn more about his shortly)…your database lets you do it in a snap.
But your Power List Tracking System™ is MORE than a database…It also includes the use of a “word processor” so you have a tool to put the database to work for you. The most common word processor on the planet is Microsoft Word – you probably already have it on your computer.
What can you do with your Power List Tracking System™?Here are a few ideas:
- Want a list of all the people who sent you a referral in the past year?
- Want a list of your power list members living in a certain subdivision?
- Want to manage your farming mailing list and contacts?
- Want a list of everyone who has a birthday in February so you can send them a card?
- Want to know who your highest quality clients are – so you can have a special event for them?
- Want to pull a list of all the leads you need to follow-up with and call today?
What kind of database should you consider using?There are general databases and specialized databases for our industry. Either one will work for you – but you want one that will track the information you want and will be EASY for you to understand and use (or for your assistant to use). You shouldn’t have to spend a lot of money either – start simple and inexpensive. General databases can be programs such as Microsoft Access and Filemaker Pro. These will allow you to customize the entire database. Some also come with database templates for different industries already created. Then, you can customize it for any additional information you want to track. There are also specialized databases you can consider for real estate, such as “Top Producer,” and others. Ask a few fellow agents for databases they use – but what you’ll find is a lot of agents have databases, and very few of them use them correctly (or at all!). There are also online database programs for real estate. These may be good if you need access to your database from different locations – but make sure you always back-up your list on your personal computer. You can do a Google search for “real estate CRM systems” or ask around your office (I’m not here to endorse one over another). Don’t get too hung-up on buying lots whiz-bang features on your database. In most cases you won’t use all the features you paid for. The “secret” is knowing what kind of information you want to track beforehand – then buying the correct database for your needs.
What kind of information will you want to track on your Power List Tracking System™ ?Here’s where the “rubber meets the road.” Here’s where we actually think through all the information you’ll want to track in your business. The good news is…I’m going to give you everything you need so you don’t have to figure it out on your own. You can create your database any way you want – there’s no right or wrong way to do it, as long as you know what you want to track up front. Knowing what you want to track up front will help you create a simple database that will work for years. Two things you want to understand when setting up your database: Records and Fields. A database works very much like a stack of 3 x 5 cards in which you have a card for each client, and you enter specific information about that client on the card. The actually card would be called a “record,” while each piece of information on the card (name, address, etc.) would be called a “field.” Thus, every Power List member would be a new record, and the information you track on them (name, address, phone, children’s names, etc.) would be fields on that record. Make sense?
There are 5 “Levels” of information you want to track…You don’t need to track every single piece of information on your power list – just the items you’ll need. For some, you’ll only want their name, address, phone and email address. For others, like your clients or “Top 20% Power Players” you’ll want to track much more. How do you get information on people? The first way is by knowing what you need on the person, then being perceptive and taking notes when you meet or work with them (such as a client). The second way is by creating a simple survey to your “Power List.” You’ll be surprised how people will provide that information to you if you just ask – and tell them WHY you need it (more on this later).
Here are the 5 “Levels” of information you want to track:LEVEL 1: BASIC INFORMATION. Basic information is essentially the most common items about someone. It includes the fields: First name, Last name, Address, City, State, Zip, Phone, Office Phone, Fax, Email. However, it also includes other fields of information you’ll want to track – probably at the top of your database record. These fields include…
- A “Category” field. This field is VERY important because it refers to what “type” of contact you’ll have. For example, you may put a “C” in the “category” field for a client, or a “S” for a supplier (title co, home inspection, etc.), or an “R” for another REALTOR® in your network (yes, you should have other close agents in there), or a “P” for a prospect you’re working with. For example, If you want to send a letter about a new listing only to other REALTORS® on your list, you’ll want to be able to query just those folks, right? That’s why you have a “category” field.
- A “Quality” field. This field is also very important and should go at the top of your record. Here you’ll enter the actual quality of your contact. For example, you might assign an “A” quality to Power List members who have actually referred to you in the past – a very important group! “B” contacts could be Power List members you know are high quality (like past clients), but haven’t referred to you yet. And “C” contacts could be others in your Power List. This is very important to create specialized mailings for each group.
- spouse name
- children names
- pet names
- wedding anniversary
- interests (such as hobbies)
- Buyer/Seller field (indicate whether a client was a buyer or seller)
- Area (subdivision, etc.)
- Price, Date (of purchase or sale)
- Remarks field that includes narrative about their home preferences, etc.
- Referral Name
- Referral Date
How do you maintain and refine your Power List Tracking System™?If you’re like most agents, your natural inclination will be to “dump” as many people into your database as possible – maybe thousands. And unless you truly have a personal relationship with these folks, it’s likely you’ll be making big, costly mistake. The success of your Power List marketing is related to TWO important elements: SIZE and QUALITY. You may have thousands of people on your database, yet get worse results than agents with just 200 or 300. Why? Because they have a deeper relationship with those 200 or 300 – their list is higher QUALITY. The good news is, with regular, personal contact, the quality of your list increases automatically. Managing your power list is not just a one-time exercise – it’s a WAY OF DOING BUSINESS. Take a look at any truly successful business, and you’ll find they track their clients very, very closely. Managing your Power List will require you to do 3 simple things:
- First, you’ll need to continually ADD names to your database. You need to adopt the mentality of building Size and Quality.
- Second, you’ll want to continually UPDATE the information in your database. That’s why I recommend you conduct a “survey” of your power list members about every 6 to 9 months – it’s not only a great way to stimulate referrals, it will keep your database current (I’ll give you a letter for this).
- Third, you’ll want to continually PURGE people and information from your database. If, for example, you find that many of your “C” Power List members are not being responsive, OR, your surveys go unanswered, you may want to consider removing these folks from your Power List.
MILLIONS of Dollars in Lost CommissionsLao Tsu, the great Chinese philosopher, once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” If you’re willing to take that “one step” right now, you’ll find out its incredibly EASY and FAST to get yourself started on a life of abundance and freedom. Seriously, think about this: If you think it’s just going to be too much work, then I’m sure your competitors will be thrilled with your decision – all the more business for them. Ask any top agent… any coach… any expert who knows their stuff in real estate, and they’ll tell you relationship marketing to get referrals is THE SECRET to long-term success in this business. So please don’t write off your success before you even get started. If you already have a database or contact manager — review the “LEVELS” of information you’ll want to track, and get it all set up. It will only take a few minutes. Then start adding additional information for your highest quality contacts. If you don’t have a database or contact manager — go out and get one. Talk to a few agents in your office. Ask your broker. Search the web. Don’t over-analyze the decision. The specific one you use doesn’t matter as much as using it! I want you to make a commitment to yourself to do just ONE thing in the next week: Get yourself a database or contact manager, and then track the information I outlined above. This is the foundation of everything you’ll do in your business from this point forward. In a future article, I’ll show you easy ways to GROW your Power List in both size and quality – it’s going to the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done for your business AND yourself. So keep an eye out for my next article to help you make COMMISSIONS FOR LIFE…