The prevalence and availability of information has exploded in recent years. This influx of data has allowed corporations to cut costs, streamline processes and find new revenue streams. But in 2015, big corporations will no longer corner the market on information. That’s good news for real estate agents, who now have access to all kinds of data.

It’s time to take advantage of this information and use it to build your business.

Some data, like title reports and county sales figures, have long been part of the real estate agent’s tool belt. But today there’s more information available than ever before, plus new ways to automate how you collect it.

Data doesn’t make decisions for you; otherwise we would all be replaced by robots (and we all know how that ends — if you’ve seen “Terminator” or “I, Robot”). Data does, however, allow you to be more informed when making decisions. Without it, you’re left making assumptions. The more data you have, the better decisions you’ll make about how to grow and improve your business.

Important data points for agents

What sort of data is available? What information should you collect? Before you get overwhelmed, remember that the goal is to build your business. For example, if you have plenty of leads, you may not need to collect or monitor additional marketing metrics. Find the data that are relevant to you.

Bryan Robertson recently wrote an excellent post about utilizing data to find new clients. So, Gabe Filkey (real estate agent and company co-founder) and I thought we’d add to Robertson’s advice and identify some of the key data sets you should focus on as you try to maximize your efforts as a real estate agent.

1. Website traffic

Look at your sources of website traffic. Where is it coming from? This can help you determine whether you’re spending time and money in the right places.

Examine your website conversion rate by comparing visitors (or page views) with inquiries. What percentage of people visit your website and then fill out a form or contact you? Are you getting traffic that isn’t converting?

2. Marketing

Investigate your lead conversion rate. How many leads do you need in order to land one client? The percentage will be different depending on the lead source — so group your leads according to whether they came from referrals, Zillow, Trulia and so on.

Scrutinize your pipeline. How many contacts do you have? How many are likely to become leads? How many leads do you need from other sources? Will that get you to your yearly goal? It’s not enough to say you’re going to generate 100 leads. You need to know where those leads are going to come from.

Analyze your cost per lead. How much are you spending to get a lead? It will differ depending on the source. Which sources are the best?

3. Profitability

Audit your expenses. How much money are you spending per client? Are you getting an adequate return on investment comparative to your spend?

Inspect your hourly wage. How much do you make per hour? Per client? What types of clients are the most profitable?

4. Revenue

I don’t know a real estate agent who doesn’t already calculate this … but if you don’t, you should start immediately.

This is by no means a complete list, but these data points can help you make better decisions.

Next time, I’ll give you some ideas for taking data and converting it into business intelligence. It’s all about using the information you gather to help you work smarter, not harder.

In the meantime, what are some additional ways you collect data (or wish you could)? Where do you get your data? Which tools do you use?

Jay Sherer is a co-founder of and the vice president of marketing at Hello Agent, a tech startup that analyzes real estate agents’ contacts to identify those most likely to buy or sell a home.

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