Clients want to work with people they trust — which is where the CRM comes in. A properly organized, categorized and cultivated database can help you not only manage, but also strengthen client relationships. Here’s why.

Virtual open houses, digital closings, conversations from behind face masks — what productivity looks like for real estate agents this summer covers new terrain for all of us. All June, Inman surveys the New Productivity: the tools, skills and insights needed to make it work now.

This article series is largely taken from the Real Estate Marketing Playbook with permission from the author.

By now, it should be clear that clients want to work with people they know, like and trust. We’ve established that the people who will become a part of your database are human, and as such, would like to be treated with respect. Now, let’s look at how you’re going to organize these contacts, friends and leads in your ever-important database.  

By its very nature, your customer database will be a list of relationships that can sustain and ultimately grow your business (read: increasing profit, income and earnings). To that end, your database is the lifeblood of your business. There’s no tool that’s more valuable than your database, so it deserves to be created and sustained with respect, care and cultivation. 

Defining your database

For starters, it’s necessary to define and organize your database. There’s a significant distinction between your database and your mailing list. Consider a mailing list to be a way to get leads from people who live in a shared geographic area, or from those who have signed up for more information on your website. It could even be leads from people who attended an event you hosted, sponsored or served as a presenter.

In contrast, your database is not just a list of names or contacts. It’s a list of relationships. The database becomes increasingly more useful as you glean more information from these relationships by continuing to establish trust. See how it all comes full circle?

Categorizing your database

Like a mailing list, your database will have the basics: names, email addresses, websites and phone numbers. However, your database should go beyond just the facts. Try to include birthdays, anniversaries, possibly children’s birthdays, the preferred method of contact, pet information, significant hobbies or leisure activities. Gathering and categorizing key data points can help you organize and plan for marketing.

For example, entering birthdays in your database will allow you to send an email greeting, make a personal call, mail a card or even just acknowledge the birthday on social media. Similarly, knowing which of your clients are interested in your local professional sports teams allows you to create another point of contact targeting those that fall into this category.

This information is valuable, and the more you carefully maintain your database, the better you can cultivate, nurture and strengthen the bonds of the relationship, and show clients that you care about them.

The result is that you become the person that everyone in your database knows, likes and trusts. From there, you can turn prospects into customers, and profitable clients into repeat customers and advocates for your business or service.  

Categorizing your database will help you schedule your time, and ensure that your time and energy address the proper issues.

Why it pays off

Before utilizing a CRM system, we maintained a physical mailing list and periodically added new names to our monthly e-newsletter drip campaign. This worked fine until we scaled up our operations and started adding a lot of additional lead sources.

We found that opportunities were falling through the cracks. If someone inquired but didn’t do business with us right away, we struggled to stay on top of them.

Whenever we had downtime, we’d go through the notes scattered about the office, listen to old voicemails and dig through the emails buried at the bottom of our inboxes. Needless to say, it was an inefficient way of doing business.

Putting the time into organizing our database and creating a system for follow-ups has had an immensely positive impact on our business. With a CRM system in place, you’ll stay top-of-mind, and on top of your leads. In addition to helping us get organized, it allowed us to strengthen our relationships with customers and learn more about them.

Real Estate Marketing Playbook was inspired by observations and experiences over many years in the real estate business. This series includes example strategies from the playbook, and the full text is available on Amazon, Kindle and Audible.

Brandon Doyle is a Realtor at Doyle Real Estate Team — Re/Max Results in Minneapolis and co-author of Mindset, Methods & Metrics – Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent. You can follow him on Twitter.

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