When you work by referral you need to track a lot of info about your customers, clients and referring sources. We call them different things but we’re tracking our relationships and in some systems we’re using these tools to stay in contact.
There are lots of tools you can pay for but if you’re just starting out and want to save $$ everywhere you can, I’ll cover one good tool and an extension that I use and they are free.
Free is a good deal when you’re starting out and you will have to work hard to outgrow it.
I’m talking about Google Contacts. I know, it’s Google and sometimes we just want to get away them but honestly, I’m not sure you can. They are everywhere. The extension is called Streak and we’ll get to that later.
Let’s talk about the basics and we’ll branch out as we go.
In your database you need to capture
Cell phone number
at a minimum.
One more thing that will help you in the long run is permission. Having those 6 things will be enough to get you started.
Permission requires a bit of clarification. When I say permission it is the fact you’ve asked for permission to stay in touch regarding real estate and other valuable info you intend to share with them. It might be by phone, email or physical mail but you’ve asked them ‘do they have an agent they’d refer to’ (that’s a qualifying question) and if not you’d like to earn that place in their mind.
To be the agent they will refer. That’s the goal of all this.
Without permission there is no expectation of contact, no anticipation of what you are delivering and it’s just spam if you don’t have that. Get permission and you’ll never be guilty of spamming anyone.
Group is another that needs a bit of explaining. We sort our databases into 4 primary categories. A, B, C and D. You can also have an A+ if you want.
A+ = multiple referrals in the past and / or a great relationship
A = Given at least one referral, current or recently past (last 12 months) client who has been responsive and is a good fit for me and my team, someone we want to get referrals from
B = Said yes to the qualifying question but has never given a referral, good relationships, friendly to us and our team
C = Just met or has never been asked the qualifying question or are in general unknown to us
D = Difficult, needy and demanding folks – probably don’t want to do business with them or with their friends who are like them
If you’re brand new to the business then sort them based on the quality of your relationships. A+ will always answer the phone and be happy to talk to you. A is a bit cooler but still good, B is OK but not a reliable connection yet and C is just met. D is always the ones you don’t want to work with. Save their numbers so you know when they’re calling however. Don’t delete them.
You can have other groups like buyer, seller, hot, cold but those are always secondary to the ABCD groups. Everyone has to get an ABCD score.
BTW, that qualifying question is asked 1 of 2 ways.
First could be like this “If you were thinking of buying or selling a house or had a friend or family member who was, do you have an agent you’d refer them to?” Simple and straight to the point. This can be used to build your database as you go about your day, meeting new folks who don’t have an agent they’d refer.
Second is a variation you’d ask people you already know. “If you were thinking of buying or selling a house or had a friend or family member who was, am I the agent you’d refer them to?” If they say ‘yes’ then they’re clearly a B in our book until they refer you then they become an A or A+
If they say ‘no’ then find out who they would refer, build a relationship with that agent for future business and make a note in your database. I’d mark those folks with a D just to sort them out as someone you are not going to market to or spend time and money on. They can still be friends, BTW. It’s not always personal. Sometimes it’s family or they are long time friends with another agent. Don’t be offended 😎
In a database design we talk about 2 things. Records and fields. It can get a lot more complex in relational databases but that’s a different creature. The way we use Google Contacts of more of a ‘flat file’. Records are the rows and fields are the columns.
Records are the individual people or companies. If you have 10 people in your database then you have 10 records.
Fields are the particulars for each record. Name is a field, phone number is a field, type of phone number (mobile, home, office) is a field. Google Contacts has 73 fields for each record and you can use any or all of them. You don’t need to understand the underneath workings of this but know it’s robust enough for a starting point.
The cool things about Google Contacts are it’s free, flexible and you can export your contacts and all their data to another tool when you have earned some money or just want more features.
In the next article I’ll talk about how to use this once you have them captured and all the data entered but don’t wait for that. Get started now if you don’t have your database going and you’ll be on your way to working like a seasoned agent, getting most or all of your business by referral.
Thanks for listening,
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- Customer Relationships – Part 2