Today we begin the most exciting adventure of your real estate career.
Over the next few articles, I’m going to walk you through a simple, 4-Step process of growing your real estate production between 33% and 400% each and every year.
Here are the 4-Steps we’re going to cover…
So let’s get started with Step #1 of our adventure…
Have you ever heard the saying, “Money doesn’t grow on trees”?
Of course, it would be great if money did grow on trees. But when it comes to your real estate success, money truly does grow on…
Do you remember back in Article 2…where I told you that the single most valuable asset in your business isn’t your cell phone…or your car…or your office?
It’s actually your “house list” of past clients, friends, family, acquaintances, hot leads, etc., who have the ability to bring you new clients, referrals and repeat business.
Your house list is essentially your personal market share in this business. No house list – no market share. No market share…and you’re destined for a life of non-stop frustration and struggle in this business. Remember…
REALTORS® Who Are Relationship-Driven Will
Leave The Competition In The Dust!
So…if your “house list” is the most valuable asset of your business, then the second most valuable asset in your business is your House List Tracking System™.
Today we’re going to talk about creating your House List Tracking System™ by using a simple database (or contact manager 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 House List Tracking System™ is faster and easier than you might think – once you put your mind to it. In fact, many of our agents create their entire system in about 30 to 45 minutes. The guidance you’ll learn in this article will help you short-cut the process.
So what are the components of a House 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 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 house 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 house 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 House 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 House List Tracking System™?
Want a list of all the people who sent you a referral in the past year? Want a list of your house 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 on and call today?
It’s all at your fingertips with your database.
Imagine creating a personalized letter to each one of your house list members (or even your target farm) – and it took you just minutes to create using “merge” fields (from your database) in your letter.
You can also include specialized information from you database into your letter – such as their subdivision, home anniversary date, names of referrals they’ve sent you in the past, and more.
Any information you want to track on people can be accomplished with your database. With a database and word processor, you can make personalized contact with thousands of people in minutes.
That’s what I call “leveraging the efficiency” of your client-generation system.
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 or ask around your office for specific makes (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 House 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, so 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 up front: 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 House 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?
You don’t need to track every single piece of information on your house 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 “House 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:
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 House List members who have actually referred to you in the past – a very important group! “B” contacts could be House List members (past clients?) you know are high quality, but haven’t referred to you yet. And “C” contacts could be others in your House List. Does this make Sense?
Gathering personal information is used to help build the depth of relationship. It will give you information for children’s names, sending birthday and anniversary cards, sending something very personal to them when they send you a referral…or simply let them know you remember details about your relationship with them – such as when talking on the phone or writing.
The information you want to track here includes: birthdays, spouse name, children names, pet names, wedding anniversary, profession, and Interests (such as hobbies and interests).
Why do you want such personal information? Because people “light-up” to gestures that are personal – such as birthday cards, anniversary cards, gifts that are aligned with their special interests (such as golf or flying, etc.). And if you want to stand out as an agent, you’ll treat people as special. And your database makes it incredibly easy.
In Step #3, I’ll share with you 8 important contact systems for cultivating unlimited new clients, referrals and repeat business from your house list. These are the very same systems that have created million-dollar incomes for many of our agents.
You’re in the real estate business, so it’s important to know about the home your House List members own. This is especially true with past clients. Track only the most important information – otherwise you’ll get overwhelmed.
The fields you want to track here include: Buyer/Seller field (indicate whether a client was a buyer or seller), Area (subdivision, etc.), Price, Date (of purchase or sale), and a “Remarks” field that includes narrative about their preferences, etc.
Would you like to which House List members sent you a referral, and “who” that referral was? Of course you do. Sending you a referral places them in your highest “category” and they should be treated special.
Why? Because behavior that gets rewarded gets repeated.
The simple information you want to track is: the Referral Name and the Referral Date. This way, you can query your database for any referral information you need. In fact, most “specialized” industry software will have this ability already created in the database.
This field is used to track comments or information relating to conversations and other details on clients and prospects. This way, for example, when you need to call a client, you can pull up their record and remind yourself of the details of your previous conversation. Again, most industry databases and contact managers will allow you to track this information.
How do you maintain and refine your House 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.
Remember, the success of your House 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. We’ll talk about his in our “Step 3 – How To Cultivate Your House List.”
Managing your house 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 House 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 as you learn about it. That’s why I recommend you conduct a “survey” of your house list members about every 6 to 9 months – it’s not only a great way to stimulate referrals, it will keep your database current.
Third, you’ll want to continually PURGE people and information from your database. If, for example, you find that many of your “C” House List members are not being responsive, OR, your surveys go unanswered, you may want to consider removing these folks from your House List.
The BOTTOM LINE: If you simply START this process…and develop a list of names and addresses of your clients, friends, acquaintances, suppliers, and those you meet or work with on a day to day basis – you will be light-years ahead of your competition, and well on your way to creating a hyper-responsive market of people in your business.
The “secret” is to simply get started.
I’m going to challenge you today. Did you just finish this article and say to yourself, “oh…this is going to be too much work”…? If you said those words to yourself…I want to know you just made a decision that will cost you…
MILLIONS of Dollars in Lost Commissions
Lao 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 this is the secret to success in this business.
So please don’t write off your success before you even get started. If you read the articles in Part I, you learned that this ONE strategy is the most profitable, most efficient and most effective way to build your business – not just for today, but for amazing long-term profits.
So if you’re still on board, I want you to do just ONE thing in the next week: Get yourself a database or contact manager.
Maybe you already have a database or contact manager. If so, review the “LEVELS” of information you’ll want to track, and get it all set up. It will only take 30 to 60 minutes total.
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.
This is the foundation of everything you’ll do in your business from this point forward.
Next article I’ll begin showing you easy ways to GROW your House List in both size and quality – it’s going to the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done for your business AND yourself.
Now that you’re getting your House List Tracking System™ going, it’s time to start GROWING your House List.
We now begin Step 2 of our process, where I’ll give you an incredibly valuable tool for BUILDING a quality house list…VERY BIG, very quickly.
Then, over the next few articles, I’ll share with you additional ways to grow your database.
Just one of the strategies I’m going to share with you has built agents’ House Lists to the hundreds in a matter of just a few weeks – and these are quality members.
So keep an eye out for my next article describing Step 2 of our system…