To a real estate agent, their client list is their most prized possession. They don’t own the properties being listed. They don’t own the brokerage. They have very little tangible assets. But their client list is what has the most value. It is their lifeblood. It represents years of hard work and the time involved in developing a good reputation as an industry professional.
These days, good, accurate, customer data is worth its weight in gold. Regardless of what field you are in people want to get a hold of your client list. It is hard for online marketers (whether legit or scammers) to get a hold of accurate names and email addresses. When someone plants a virus into your computer, they are not looking to make your machine blow up. Just the opposite, they want your system to keep working. They are looking to mine your customer data and your address book. They are also looking to send out marketing emails to these people either under your name or using another email address. Good data has value.
This is why when you upload your client list into a client management program (CRM), you must make sure that the data is secured. That it will not be shared or stolen. That no one will try to poach your clients, whether for selling real estate or any other product or service.
It is important to have access to a proper, easy-to-use, CRM. It’s impossible to keep track of your clients on the back of a napkin or a notepad. You must be reminded when it’s someone’s birthday or anniversary. You need to know the names of their spouse, children, and pets. Have phone numbers, email addresses, and other notes about your history with them. As part of your daily routine, you need to stay in touch with these clients regularly. Make them your friend. Show them that you care. The last thing you want is to run into an old client in the market where they say, “There you are! I didn’t know you were still in business. I just put my house up for sale.” Whose fault is that?
Here are some guidelines for choosing a CRM.
1. Make sure it is easy to use. You have to be a rocket scientist to use some CRMs. The programmers have become enamored with adding tons of features that you will not use or will have difficulty setting up. With our DPI Showcase CRM, it is our motto to automate as much as possible. This frees up your time to do what you do best, sell and service clients.
2. Check out who owns your CRM. If it is owned by a large company, there is the possibility that they are selling your data to marketing companies. It is worth a lot of money, and they could be sitting on a million names, phone numbers, and email addresses. Those dollars go straight to their bottom line.
3. If you are being provided a CRM by your brokerage, do they have access to your data? Once again, make sure that it is secured and only you have access.
4. What if you change brokers? Does all the data get forwarded to your old broker? How do you transfer the data into your new CRM? Are you portable?
5. Back up your data at least once a month. Just export the file from the CRM and save it on your computer.
Data mining has become a big business. Whether done legitimately or not, companies are always trying to get the proper names and email addresses of potential consumers. Some companies then try to sell this data back to professionals as leads. Some large real estate portals will sell the same leads to several of the Realtors who are advertising on their system. It becomes a mishmash of emails, duplicate leads, and disappointing results.
The bottom line is to protect your client list. Make sure you are portable so if you switch brokers your list goes with you. And make sure that the company holding your data is not selling it to third parties.
Author– Mark Weithorn is the Founder & CEO of DPI Showcase Web Sites, a 19-year-old tech company that provides websites and CRMs designed for brokers and real estate agents. He can be seen at www.DPIshowcase.com