One important thing I try to do every day is to engage. That means I engage in my job; I engage in tasks within my real estate business; and I also engage with people. Recently, I have noticed that in both my business and personal life I sometimes need to put the phone and digital world down and reach out and “get personable” with other people — particularly at this time of year.

It is so easy in this day and age to respond exclusively via text and email. There even is technology that lets you send video email! I have to wonder, why not just call people and speak to them one on one like we used to?

But I have learned a better way to both touch my past clients and add some value to my relationships with them using my customer relationship management (CRM) system.

1. The Referral Maker CRM is simply one of the best I have ever used. Each month, it provides me with “items of value” that I mail to my past clients. It also generates monthly e-reports that I can send along midmonth to follow up and reinforce the message of the mailing. I’ve noticed that my clients see this as something that helps them. It’s not about me, it’s information to help them and reinforces that I am a good source for information and knowledge about real estate matters in our community.

2. Handwritten notes are my nemesis! I admit that I haven’t written anything with a pen in years, so my penmanship has needed some work. But even if no one can read your handwriting, you can always put a business card in the envelope so your clients know who sent it. Your CRM can help you keep track of who has been sent what.

The results have been amazing! I had a new client who said the handwritten note I sent him in a simple white envelope with no business logo on it was like “something a friend would have sent me.” I have received so many calls of thanks from people who just appreciate the fact that I took the time to sit down and write them a note. Nobody has ever called me to say “thank you” for an email I sent them!

Does it set me apart? I believe it does. Writing notes by hand to my clients has even encouraged me to periodically send handwritten notes to my family members! If clients feel this positive and special because of a handwritten note, then I certainly want my wife and kids to feel equally as special.

3. Take a social network and truly make it social? Do you use Facebook? You can link your Facebook profile to the Referral Maker CRM and your friends’ and clients’ recent activity feeds will appear right before your eyes! Sure, this may be a pleasant way to “stalk” your friends and clients (as my wife noted), but let’s be honest: There is a little bit of stalking happening on Facebook anyway! But how convenient is it for your CRM to show you what your clients did last night, how the recent holiday trip home went or that their kids won a soccer tournament, all before you make that call?  You’ll know what to talk about before you call them because your CRM showed you what recently happened in their lives! That is priceless in business.

The thing I think I like most, however, is that this CRM helps me with my time. How much of your day is spent with customers or clients who are time-consumers without offering much in return? After the initial setup, my CRM makes sure that I am spending most of my time with the clients who are the best referral sources, and it also gives me tasks, such as calls, “pop-bys,” coffee dates with clients, and other ideas to keep me in front of the people who have displayed a willingness and a desire to help me grow my business.

Growing your business in 2015 is still about getting your face in front of your past clients and friends and asking them to remember you when they run across people looking to buy or sell real estate. In this digital world we live in, nothing replaces that personal touch to enhance your business and your life!

Hank Bailey is an associate broker with Re/Max Legends and a Realtor for more than a decade who provides buyer’s agent representation and seller listing services related to residential real estate.

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