How to set up your real estate database for referral success

Everyone wants to know: How do I create a steady flow of repeat and referral business? Here’s the answer — create a 12-month plan so you can get into action and out of getting ready to get started mode! First, we’ll make sure you’re set up correctly and understand how to maximize your database, then we’ll get into the 12-month plan in future articles. 

FACT: When you look at that amazing new listing that just hit the market and you see the listing agent and ask, “How did that agent get that listing?!” It is almost always because the seller already knew the agent! 

GOAL: Be that agent who the seller already knows and gets that listing. 

Everyone loves repeat and referral business

Why? The prospect already knows you and trusts you. They know you are honest and ethical and will take good care of them. If you could choose who your next buyer or seller would be, wouldn’t you always choose someone you already know?

A minimum of 10% of your database should be buying or selling with you every year, assuming that you speak with them regularly. You can only get these results when your regular communication is systematized. It won’t happen if you only speak with your database when you’re starving for new business, when you ‘have time to get to it’, or when you have a  random assistant with time to burn. It must be systematized by you, for you, to get  the results you desire. 

Do the math

When you have 100 names on your list, then yearly you should have 10 deals from them, following the 10% rule. If you don’t, then you either don’t have a past client and center of influence plan or you aren’t working your plan consistently. Email is not enough. Posting on their Facebook and Instagram is not enough. Going to their holiday party is not enough. 

When you build your list to 500 people, you can create as many as 50 or more deals per year when you do this right.

Avoid dependence on electronic communication! There’s no guarantee they got it, opened it, looked at it, or watched it. It’s too passive and unpredictable. 

How to set up your database (so you’ll actually use it!) 

1. Use a CRM to set up and maintain your database.  Take the time to gather phone numbers, email addresses, and social media information for each entry. 

2. Who goes into your database? Enter your past clients, people from your sphere of influence, and adopted clients into this list. Adopted clients are buyers who bought your listings. Many times, they worked with another agent but you are adopting them. You may also add your professional sphere of influence, like home inspectors and mortgage lenders. Add details to each person to help you remember them. 

3. Commit to adding at least five new people per week. Get into the habit of exchanging information on the spot when you make new connections. You can create ‘micro lists’ using What’s App. Examples of this are your kid’s 4th grade class parents or your five best golfing buddies. Your What’s App contacts should also be part of your larger database, so they get all of your real estate updates, not just your golf intel for example. 

4. Update your database weekly as part of your daily minimum standards. Commit to never letting it get out of control, neglected, or outdated again. You have to actually use it for it to work! 

Tim and Julie Harris host a podcast for real estate professionals. Tim and Julie have been real estate coaches for more than two decades, coaching the top agents in the country through different types of markets.