Who Should Be In Your Database?
Let’s begin with the obvious: Past clients. If you aren’t following up with your past clients regularly, you’re making a huge mistake. Everyone should be recorded: their name, address, phone number, email, cell phone because your past clients are people who have already entrusted you with a big financial decision.
Your database, which is your Centers of Influence, is the people you know. They could be your neighbors, friends, family. They could be the parents of the kids your kids go to school with, part of your church group, tennis group, golf club. Whatever that group is people that know you on a first name basis, they could be the people that you give services to and give you service in return.
People who you pay money to: the dry cleaner, people at the grocery store, who sells you your car insurance, who sold you your car, who’s your investment adviser – these should be people that should be in your database that you should be talking to on a regular basis.
You Don’t Want to Ask For Business? What is the Matter With You?
Now, non-salespeople in Real Estate, there’s a lot of you, I hear you saying things like “Oh, I don’t want to call them. It’s embarrassing, I don’t want to ask for business.” What is the matter with you? These people know people who want to buy and sell. You’re a professional real estate agent. You have to ask for the business, they’re not going to come and give it to you.
I mentioned three weeks ago, our biggest challenge as brokers, owners and managers is that we continue to hire people who don’t know how to sell and then the brokers don’t want to teach them how to sell and the agents don’t want to learn how to sell and you wonder why business isn’t good. Folks the turnover among agents is not because of excessive income, it’s because we can’t make any money. Your database is a goldmine designed to help you make a lot of money.
Alright, so let’s look at some points on the database:
1. If you don’t know them on a first name basis, they should not be in your database. It’s simply a cold call.
Two or three years ago, there was this big thing going around with a lot of the customers we work with that anybody that you meet anywhere anytime, if they give you their name and number you should put them in your database. I kept saying, “No don’t do that.” Why? Because you may not call them again for 30 days, 60 days or 90 days, and you won’t know who they are and they don’t know who you are.
Database And the Words “I Know Them” Go Together.
If you’re a person that wants to keep leads for months on months on end, don’t put them in your database, put them in a “months on months on end” lead file. Your database is just those people you know. You really have to separate these two groups of people, because a common thing I see is we say, “Well I want to build my database. I want to add 25 people a month to my database.” Well, wait a minute, if you have 25 people from your Christmas card list, your personal phone directory, your neighborhood association, etc., that you can add, great. But generally speaking, you’re not going to add 25 names to a database unless you’re adding people you don’t know. Database and the words “I know them” go together.
2. Remember this, the one group that knows you and probably likes you, will give you business if you converse with them.
See, one of the things that I’ve always felt strongly about is people like to help people. Generally speaking people like to help people. People are open to helping people. You ask someone, “Can you give me a hand?” “Of course!” “I need a favor.” “What can I do?” “Can you do me a favor?” “If I can, I will.” That’s called human nature.
What About Unhappy Clients?
Sometimes you’ll have past clients who were unhappy when the transaction closed. It happens. So, you call the Past Clients that were unhappy and you start the call with, “Hi Mary, Hi Bob … I owe you an apology.” They go, “Well what for?” “well when the transaction was ready to close it got a little bit, well we all got a little bit nervous and a little angry, didn’t we?” “Oh yeah, but that’s behind us.” And now you’re right back into a conversation.
Your Job is to Talk to People
What you have to understand is these people will give you business if you’re willing to converse with them. Remember we talked last week about conversations. Watch, “I owe you an apology” or you’re calling someone and you’ve known them for years and, gosh, you haven’t kept up with them the way you wanted to. Don’t be frozen with fear over what they might say.
Start the call by saying, “Hi Mary, this is a business call, do you have a moment?” “Well of course Mike, well what do you mean a business call?” “As you know, I’m in real estate full-time now helping people like yourself, buy and sell real estate. Who do you know that might want to buy or sell?” Watch, ‘this is a business call’ ‘I owe you an apology’ — the key is having a direct statement, asking a direct question, to get the conversation going.
3. If you have a defined purpose in giving them a call, then you will make the call more interesting to the person that you are calling.
Well, we know that if we just call someone in our database, “Hi Bob, it’s Mike. How have you been? How’s the summer? How’s the family? What’s going on? Did you take a vacation? Oh, where did you go? Tell me about it.” It’s very hard when you have that kind of conversation to convert into a call regarding a referral, but if I start a call with, “Hi Bob, it’s Mike, have you got a moment?” “Yes, I do.” “It’s a business call. I’m wondering who you know that might want to buy or sell real estate?” “Gosh Mike, we don’t know a soul at this time.” Great, now I can convert it to a personal call. “How’s your summer? How’s the family? How’s the kids? Where was your vacation?”
If You Start the Calls On a Personal Level, it’s Hard to Convert to a Business Call.
If you start your calls on a business level, it’s easy to convert if you have a purpose. “Bob, I want to update you as to the market, I want to update you as to the sales being made, I want to update you as to interest rates and how they’re affecting sales, I want to update you that the market is changing, days on market is extending, let me explain that to you, I want to update you as the prices have flattened out, I want to update you as to the average sales price. If you have a purpose of the call, the calls are more fun to make and more fun for them to take.
4. Always make these calls with high levels of energy and enthusiasm.
No one is interested in referring someone who is not excited about their business. “Hi Bob, it’s Mike. You know I’m in real estate full-time, I’m sure you know someone that might want to buy or sell. Know anybody at all? You don’t? Okay, well if you know of someone would you give them my name? ” And then you hang up and Bob says to his wife Mary, “Man I wish that great agent of ours would get a personality!” Watch, energy and enthusiasm draws people in. What is the opposite of enthusiasm? Boring! Are you a boring person? I don’t think you are.
For Goodness Sake, Get Excited.
Now maybe you don’t have a lot of energy and enthusiasm naturally, that’s ok. But when you’re making these calls, it is critical that you actually get excited about the opportunity to talk to people that know you, like you, trust you and will talk to you.
5. Identify the 10% of your database that will provide you with the highest number of referrals annually and talk to them every month.
Let’s say you have 200 names in your database. 20 of them would give you a referral every year if you talk to them all the time. Now you say, “Why don’t I talk to all of them 12 times a year?” Because most of them, if you talk to them 3-4 times a year, you send them a postcard or letter a year 3-4 times a year, they’re getting 8 touches from you.
But there are 20%, 10% or 15% that really want to help you. You need to be talking to them all the time. Updating them on the market, what’s going on you know, there’s new neighbors coming in, there’s people that you’ve known a long time leaving. Stay top of mind for these people, your business (and bank account) will thank you.
6. Remember, they’re not sitting at their home or office waiting for you to call.
I know you think they’re waiting for you to call but listen: they’re not waiting for you to call, so don’t be disappointed if they don’t respond quickly or immediately to your conversation. People all have a life to live. Some of those lives are pretty important, some are pretty productive, some are pretty exciting, some are pretty busy, some are not so productive and busy, but everyone has a life to live.
When I call on my database I’m going to be respectful, I’m going to have a purpose, I’m going to be enthusiastic, I’m going to always start with “I owe you an apology” or “this is a business call do you have a minute,” because that means that even if they weren’t waiting for my call, which they weren’t, I can engage them quickly. Your database, it’s a goldmine.
7. Final thought: Purge your database on a regular basis.
If you have people in your database that you know you never want to talk to again as long as you’re alive, delete them! Don’t frustrate yourselves by seeing their names come up … “I don’t want to talk to them, next one. Oh yeah, okay!” Delete the ones you honest to goodness never want to speak to or see again and maybe you’re going to delete 1% of your database.
Have some fun this week getting your database organized and more importantly start calling them all. Look forward to talking to you next week. Thanks for today.
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