What are some excellent ways to build stronger relationships within your sphere of influence, benefit from a continuous flow of referrals and do more business? As an agent, you probably noticed you don’t have to be part of a big brokerage to be successful so it largely depends on the right attitude. Building your loyal database is no easy undertaking but with the right tools and advice to help you along the way, it can turn out the most exciting work of your job as an agent.

When you manage to figure out and then practice effective real estate contact management strategies, your business gets easier to run. You get a tighter grip on your marketing costs and your lead generation efforts are much more fruitful.

But how to know what real estate contact management techniques actually work? Which of them will contribute to your bottom line and which ones eat up valuable time bringing few responses?

We decided to save you some time on research and put together a list of great real estate contact management tips that definitely deserve your time of the day having already brilliantly worked for thousands of your fellow agents.

5 real estate contact management tips that make you re-think your followup

1) Get a real estate contact management system

You engage in contact management every day, even if you don’t have a specific system put in place yet. The biggest mistake is not having a contact management strategy whatsoever. As long as you use at least some kind of thoughtfully planned action, you will get better results compared to a complete lack of such action.

However, as your business grows and business relationships become more complicated, contact management gets out of control leaving as much as 80 percent of your leads not followed up at all! (according to the research by Yankee Group)

If you agree that wasting 80 percent of your leads after working so hard to get their eyes on your business is insane, then you’re on a right track.

First thing you’d want to do is get a CRM. The most important asset for every realtor is their contact database. When you manage to keep it viable and organized and ensure key follow up processes are automated, chances are good your business will thrive.

Next, consider solutions specifically designed to reflect on the real estate sales process rather than generic CRMs. A Real estate CRM has got some wonderful features and it’s tailored to the sales process exactly as realtors need.

Once you know a central platform for easy contact management, it’s time to make your follow up more intelligent.

2) Segment your database for easier communication

Typically, your sales pipeline is filled with various kinds of leads. Some of them are closer to the purchase while others seem to open few of your emails. Because not all of your leads are equally sales-ready, you need different messages to send to each of them so they are actually interesting to that particular lead.

The best way out is to try and segment your leads into a few groups based on key similarities between them. In other words, you need to build a sales pipeline that will explain how qualified your database is.

If you haven’t done this yet, don’t worry – it’s nothing complicated. Most real estate CRMs will offer you already built sales funnel anyway. You can then customize it to your liking so it fully matches your sales process.

For example, you may want to design your conversion process as the one including prospects, verified contacts, invalid contacts, opportunities, customers, etc. This simple categorization helps refine your marketing messages and stop spamming uninterested contacts with your featured listings.

We’ve got a full post here explaining how to build a sales pipeline and what to do with it next: Insider’s Guide to Lead Tracking with CRM software for Real Estate.

3) Send targeted and personalized email & SMS campaigns

It seems nobody in business sends “Dear Valued Client” emails anymore and everyone agrees that a warm, personal email is essential. Real estate is no difference. You probably never have two identical clients (for better or for worse). So each of your emails needs to address the questions your clients actually have so they have a good reason to open and read it.

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You may wonder how you can send personalized emails to a huge database? The follow up will take ages.

If you use some great practices, it won’t. This is where you need to remember about item 2 on our list, which is segmenting your database. Here’s a super simple blueprint to follow:

  • segment your contacts into groups depending on how close to the purchase they are;
  • think about the best info to send to each of these groups in your emails, be it market updates, home advice or featured and hot listings;
  • automate follow ups for the cold leads but send personalized messages to hot leads as they’re really close to the purchase and you’d want to convince them with highly relevant messaging.

Remember, the bulk of your contacts are unverified contacts and cold leads, i.e. people who won’t buy from you in the nearest future. You’d want to keep them in the loop but don’t spend too much time on follow ups.

On the contrary, sales-ready leads form a fraction of your database but you should dedicate as much time for them as you can. This will also involve stronger multichannel communications, including email, SMS, meetings, phone calls, etc.

4) Spot the hot leads in your database

The best leads are hidden in your database. As you can imagine, not all of your contacts are sales ready and they’re likely to skip most of your messages.

This is exactly when your email campaigns analytics step in. Your campaign metrics are the simplest way to get a better clue of which contacts are looking for your advice, even if they may not get around to calling you immediately.

In a nutshell, you only need to closely watch your open and click rates. If a person opens your email a few times and clicks to your site, as well as gets back to your content a few days or even weeks later, you might want to follow up with a phone call or drop a personal email.

Chances are huge you’ll end up finding them a great home. Spotting hot leads in your database is incredibly simple, especially when you think how many time and effort it takes to find an interested lead otherwise. Make the most of your contact database through intelligent followup backed up by real metrics.

5) Remember about referrals

In real estate, an overwhelming majority of sales result from customer referrals. The closing may mean the end of the sales process, but is the gateway to future business.

This may seem obvious to many agents but do you know the results of the 2015 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers?

88 percent of respondents said they would gladly recommend their agent to others and work with them again but only 12 percent actually did.

It turns out agents just don’t ask for referrals, missing out a powerful lead generation channel. Thankfully, it doesn’t take much to reverse the situation. Here are a few great practices that help you build a more effective referral process:

  • make sure your real estate website is great because it’s the first touchpoint with potential referees. Plenty of your referrals can happen simply because people liked your site and recommended it to others;
  • keep records of all conversations with your contacts in your real estate contact management system;
  • automate reminders to follow up with referral requests but never automate the follow up messages themselves;
  • keep in touch with past clients (store the dates of their home purchase anniversaries, wedding anniversaries, birthdays, ask how do they feel about their new home, etc.)

We’ve got a whole post here detailing how exactly you can build a great referral process without overwhelming yourself with too much extra work: 6 Proven Ways Top-Producing Agents Get Real Estate Referrals.

What’s next?

Without a proper system, real estate contact management is confusing, stressful and yields few results. Why spend time on things that don’t work instead of dedicating an hour of your time to organize everything in your CRM and keep going with a thoughtful plan? Agents who use a real estate CRM to intelligently automate their contact management see a 451% increase in qualified leads! If you think this is a pretty good ROI, you might as well give it a try.

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