Take Flight – “Yes, You Need a CRM!”

On this 196th episode of my Monday Morning Pep Talk, we will take our first dive into Section 3, "The Cabin" of Take Flight V4.0, by discussing the basics of database and relationship management which is the overall topic of this section. The distinct line between having a real estate hobby and a real estate business is whether or not you have a database that stores all of the required information for each of your clients/contacts. A database, in technical terms, is called a CRM (Customer Relationship Management). The industry definition: a customer relationship management (CRM) solution helps you find new customers, win their business, and keep them happy by organizing customer and prospect information in a way that helps you build stronger relationships with them and grow your business faster. The last 4 words of that definition are "grow your business faster.” Key word: business. No mention of a hobby.

The next question you will have will be: Which CRM is the best? My answer: The one you are going to use. It can be as simple as using an Excel spreadsheet or Google sheet. Many top producers in our industry manage their businesses with a spreadsheet, their calendar, reminders/tasks/to dos on an email platform. Why? Because they've always done it that way and it works beautifully for them. I'm in the camp that you should spend the money and the time to build out your database with a CRM – a software solution. Cloze, Follow Up Boss, Relatable, Top Producer, Salesforce and now Monday.com also has a CRM that ranks highly. My current choice is Cloze. It's the CRM I use to manage my relationships. Pro tip: Your CRM is your business and the data should be controlled by you.

Here is my incredibly simple definition of what a CRM does and what it has done for me. It "reminds" me to be "thoughtful." It gives me the information I need to be "thoughtful.” It organizes my data in a way that is easier for me to be "thoughtful.” Why is it important to be "thoughtful?” Because people hire who they know, like and trust. They don't end up knowing, liking or trusting someone that "one-night stands" them after a business transaction. "Thoughtful" is defined as showing careful consideration or attention. In my opinion, you cannot automate thoughtfulness, but you can create systems to be and remain thoughtful. This is where a CRM is extremely valuable.

A good CRM should provide the following:

  1. The ability to store all important information and data on a particular client including email and texting communication.
  2. Provide you with important information on a client within a simple search.
  3. Sort your clients by segments and tags.
  4. Have an algorithm built in or built by you that predicts a time for follow up.
  5. Give you the ability to build out templates for frequently used communication and responses.

Okay, now you're probably wondering how many people should be in your CRM. Here is what NINJA Selling states:

  1. 200+ people on auto flow that receive something from you 3x per month
  2. The real number is based on Dunbar's Number: 150. Dunbar's number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships—relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person.
  3. They go on to say that number should be smaller if you want to increase the percentage of referrals from your clients.  The number of "focused flow" contacts depends on your business and your ability to maintain high level quality relationships with your clients.

Enter the phrase you've heard me discuss for over a decade: Top 100. Early in my journey that started in 2008, I subscribed to a Top 150. When I got into leadership, I promised my ownership that I would wind my business down, so I cut the 137 people that I had in my top 3 categories to 68 focusing just on the top 50%. I went all in on that 68 people and found that my business actually improved focusing on the most quality, highly engaged clients. Cutting my Top 150 in half had the opposite effect that I thought it would. Because of this realization, I dropped the number from Top 150 to Top 100 in 2013. Honestly, I think for most brokers/advisors, that number is still too high. I think you could run a really nice business on 50-75 engaged clients that receive a high level of quality focus and attention from you. For now, let's stick with a Top 100 knowing that within that term, there is flex.

Last week, on the Episode #195: Take Flight - Numbers Don't Lie call, I talked about the 20% return on your database (CRM). I stated that if you maintain high quality relationships with your Top 100, you can expect a 20% return each year. That means you should see 20 introductions from your clients for 100 people or 10 from 50. That number has been proven over and over. That percentage goes up or down based on the "strength" of your database of clients. Strength = level of connection.

Should you have a CRM? "Yes, you need a CRM!" It's the only part of your business that has value, meaning your CRM is the only thing you could actually transfer or sell to another party.

On the next episode of Take Flight V4.0, I will discuss how to segment your CRM for proper follow up. Not every client is equal in terms of their impact on your business.