A database is a critical component of commercial real estate brokerage today. A well maintained database will help you track leads and opportunities in sales, leasing, and property management. Every agent or broker should be responsible at a personal level for the accuracy and the maintenance of information that they enter into their contact management system.
Here are some rules that should apply to tracking the leads and opportunities in your property market today using a good quality customer relationship management program.
- Convenience – Entering and tracking information relative to ongoing client contact should be convenient in all respects. Far too many software programs are overly complex; soon you see some agents and brokers neglect the process of data entry.
- Information – Understand the information that you need to track as an agent or a broker, and how you will be supporting that process. What do you intend to put into the database program? What information do you want out of it and in what form?
- Stability – Only use a software program that has been proven to be successful in your industry, and is used by others in a consistent way. Ask questions of your peers relating to their processes and successes with database management. The software program that you choose should be supported by the necessary updates and configurations to make your job easier.
- Flexibility – When you work with a large number of prospects and contacts, you will want to export and import contact detail to other programs. Typically you will be moving contact information into a spreadsheet format and conducting a mail merge. Ensure that the program that you use for your contacts allows for this and offers the flexibility to do that easily and directly.
- Categories – The people that you connect with will fall into a certain number of categories and will be interested in particular property types and locations. The database should support the collation and manipulation of this information. Many times you will need to segment your contacts into groups based on enquiries and property needs.
- Task list – When you connect with a large number of people, you will be creating a list of tasks for follow up into the future. You will also be tracking the results of meetings and all conversations. Every contact record should allow you to enter tasks and information relating to the contact. You will then have the ability to work with a large number of people in an ongoing way, and yet refer accurately to the results of the last meeting or conversation you had with them relating to property.
- Pipeline – In commercial real estate brokerage you should have a ‘sales pipeline’ of activities that can progressively apply to the contacts and prospects you are connecting with. In many respects the pipeline of activities should be standard for generating new business in sales leasing and property management. Your contact or prospect should move through your sales pipeline over time. That is how you generate new business. Relevance is the key to conversions.
In assessing these points, you can see the need for careful decisions and systems to apply to your data base. Over time that can help you generate more commercial real estate leads and listing opportunities.