In commercial real estate today, your database is perhaps one of the most significant business tools you can use. Over time you can build a significant foundation of clients, prospects, and professional associates.
Every salesperson in the industry should take personal ownership of the database, its maintenance, and its accuracy. Unfortunately you will find that many salespeople do not maintain the information, and over time the database becomes redundant if not dangerous. The weakest links are those salespeople that have administrative support to ‘maintain the database’; the reality is that the particular agent has no idea what is in the database and how to get it out (my apologies to those in the minority that are better than this and have their system sorted).
Here are some rules to help you establish and then maintain the database in commercial real estate sales and leasing.
- Establishing a database is a daily process. The results of all your meetings, telephone calls, and client contact should be captured into the software program at the end of the day.
- There are various software programs available for you to use. Some are quite expensive, whilst others can be at no cost at all. Whatever program you choose to manage the data, ensure that you understand its processes and systems. Accuracy is the key to getting good information out of the system.
- Ensure that you have the approval of your clients to be listed in your database. This is certainly the case if you are going to create ongoing contact through telephone calls and emails. At every point of contact with your client or prospect, they should receive information that is relevant, interesting, and real for today’s property market.
- You can integrate the database with an auto responder system so that your emails and newsletters can be suitably controlled. It is a well-known fact that newsletters are usually more effective towards the middle and end of a given week. For this reason you should be sending your newsletters out from Wednesday to Friday. As to how many newsletters you send to your clients and prospects, is really a matter of relevance and something to say. Some salespeople will send an e-mail at the end of each week. If that is for you, make sure that the information is relevant. If you are yet to start a newsletter system, send a newsletter once a month until such time as the process becomes convenient and easy.
- When you make contact with prospects or clients, the process of capturing the right information should become second nature and conversational. You need their name, address, e-mail contact, mobile telephone number, and property requirements. Sensible questions will help you capture this information.
Most top agents in the industry will have a good database of contacts. As to how many contacts you should have really depends on your market, the types of properties that you work on, and the size of properties that feature as transactions. At the ordinary level and a basic end of commercial real estate agency, you should have a personal database of between 500 and 800 people. The information within that process should be accurate and well maintained.