Contact Management with Soul – The Unanswered Questions – Answered!


posted by on Contact Management

Contact Management

Over 350 people signed up and about 75% showed up for last Thursday morning’s show about Using Your Contact Management System to Sell with Soul. Wow – I guess it was a Hotter Topic than I expected it to be – I figured it would just me and a handful of other technologically-curious agents who had nothing much better to do on a Thursday morning.

Anyway, lots of folks showed up and asked lots of good questions – 30 pages worth to be exact. Couldn’t get to all of them during the show, so, as promised, here are some of the Q’s (with A’s) that went unanswered during the show.

Q from Loreena
Why wouldn’t you use a contact manager as your sole contact management tool? That is – why do you use a separate email system? (I mentioned during the show that I use Windows Live Mail for my general email, not the email program in my contact management system.)

A from JA
I believe that you should use the best tool or system for the job, so I use a lot of different task-specific systems in my business. Windows Live Mail does email – very well, and doing email very well is probably more important to me than anything else. It’s not worth it to me to sacrifice function for the simplicity of only having one “all-in-one” system. In my experience, contact managers are not fully-functioning email programs.

Q from Sabrina 
What program do you recommend for CMA’s? I use Top Producer, but that is all I use it for. I would like to switch to Ixact, and cancel with TP, but I do like their CMA’s.

A from JA
I’m not familiar with TP’s CMA’s, but in my experience and opinion, the best CMA’s are done through your own local MLS. I prepared my CMA’s using reports from my MLS, not the actual CMA program because I was never quite satisfied with the information the CMA-specific program came up with. Just my opinion. But if the only reason you’re using TP is to do CMA’s, I’m sure there’s a better solution locally!

Marie in Canada comments – Prospects is a relatively simple CMS with a great support system and it’s FREE….covered by our fees with our Board

Q from Connie
Can you recommend a contact management system to install on your computer? (she’s referring to a contact manager that is housed on the computer as opposed to accessed online.

A from JA
I’ve heard good things about Advantage xi and REST. I’ve never tried any of them, though. Any other feedback is welcome! 

Q from Dee
If my Group 1 and Group 2 are very small should I start using a contact manager? (for the uninitiated, Group 1 is my social network; Group 2 is everyone else)

A from JA
Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps if you’re using and paying for a contact manager, you’ll be inspired to increase the number of contacts in it! But regardless of whether you use a CMS or not, the size of your contact database is directly related to the size (or rather, number of) your paychecks. The more people who know you, like you, and know that you sell real estate, the more real estate you’ll sell. So, perhaps the first step is to meet more people, with a plan to keep them organized and stayed-in-touch with… which may very well include a contact management system.

Q from Sarah
What do you think about gifts for past clients around the holidays or new year to stay in touch? I make homemade chocolate sauce each year and I am not sure if is something to continue. It’s personal..they like it….but is something like this tacky? I dont want to be the tacky realtor who gives gifts that people don’t really want. Should a realtor ask a client if they are enjoying it?

A from JA
I think that’s a perfect holiday gift and I don’t see anything tacky about it at all. But if you’re wondering if it’s appropriate…ask yourself… would you enjoy receiving homemade chocolate sauce and/or would you think it’s tacky? And give (or don’t give) accordingly! (You might want to read my related blog: “Doo-Dad unto others…”). But no, don’t ask people if they like it. It’ll either sound like you’re fishing for compliments or feeling insecure.


Q from Sarah 
I’m in a book club. We never talk real estate..everyone knows that I am a realtor…I want them in my SOI…..I would love to meet them for coffee…it feels a bit “awkward” to meet them for coffee when the only reason I would meet them at the time is because I am in real estate, but I will do it and be good at it…..what is the end result of this? Is it keeping my name in their minds? or just keeping in touch?

A from JA
Great question! I advise that you go out for coffee with people you’d enjoy having coffee with. Period. If you stick to this strategy, you’ll find plenty to talk about without begging for business (ugh). Don’t try to be friends with everyone in the club unless you truly feel friendly with everyone! Just take it slow, one relationship at a time… and, as I’m sure you know, leave your sales pitch in the car and just be YOU.


Q from Maureen
How often do you suggest contacting people in our SOI? And, do you suggest contacting them with the same means in a row?? i.e. postcards each time, letters.

A from JA
First, you might want to read my series on this topic which begins here: “How often does your SOI need to hear from you?” Personally, I send a mass-email every month (of interest to them, not about real estate) and 3 postal mailings a year to everyone in my SOI. I also try to touch base with everyone in my Group 1 at least once a quarter with a coffee date, phone call or personal email exchange. But as you’ll see in the comments of the series, everyone has a different opinion on the matter!


Q from Jennifer (not JA)
Should you house/store prospects you meet from Open Houses? Would these be Social Network/Group 1?

A from JA
I would enter contacts from open houses into my database if we made a connection and there seemed to be some mutual interest in pursuing a professional relationship. I would not add people who simply signed in (if I required sign-in which I don’t) and left without a good conversation. In all likelihood, the folks I do add to my database would not be in my social network (Group 1) at this point, although that could happen later of course! Here’s a short series I did on the topic of getting contact information from open house visitors.


Q from Brian
Do people in Group 2 move into Group 1?

A from JA Absolutely! Not all the time, but sure, if someone isn’t a “friend” today but becomes a friend later for whatever reason… that’s great!

Karen from Canada comments: I tried Agent Office and Top Producer…and recently changed to a system in Canada called Prospects that is so intuitive I don’t even know where the help button is!

Q from Anonymous
What do you do if your contact doesn’t have an email address?

A from JA
Are you asking if they don’t HAVE one or if you don’t know it? If they don’t have an email address then you’ll just have to stay in touch the best you can via other methods they are comfortable with. Don’t fret about it or make any big effort; just include them in your regular mailings, whatever those may be and if you’re comfortable doing so, call ’em up every once in awhile or go out for coffee.


Q from Loreena
I’m on the hunt to find a system that is trackable (opens, clicks, etc.). What are your views on the importance of knowing the trackable information?

A from JA
I used to find it fascinating to see who opened my emails and clicked on what, but I rarely look anymore. I’m sure there’s some value to that information, but aside from curiosity, I’m not sure what. I suppose if you have a big enough sampling, you’ll get a feel for which topics are “click-worthy” or which subject lines inspire the most opens. I do look to see how many people open my newsletters and the subject line does make a huge impact, but I don’t look to see who, specifically, opened them. I’m also not convinced that the data is all that accurate.


Q from Antoinette
How often do you need to do email campaigns?

A from JA
See my response to Maureen, above, and do take a look at the blog series referenced there!


Q from Heather 
I was wondering,,,I am having problems keeping track of who I have “touched” and how I “touched” them, Is there an easier way to do that?

A from JA
A contact management system will do that for you… if you let it! That is, if you add notes to your contacts’ profiles after each “touch.” You can also get a little fancier and set up action plans in a contact manager to remind you to do your touches, so you’ll know that they’re getting done. Curious – what sorts of “touches” are you forgetting about? Mailings? or more personal encounters?