This first part of three is pretty basic, but may help some people. The next two parts are a little more meaty.
Adding Contacts to your CRM – Some suggestions when adding contacts. Part One of Three
If you have all your contacts on paper, start entering them according to the ideas suggested in this series. If you already have them in an electronic format, you have to import them. A common question is if you should clean them up in the old database first, or clean them up once you get them into the new CRM. By cleaning up, we mean getting rid of contacts when we do not know who they are, or filling in a last name on contacts that have none, etc. One difference that may affect that decision is that if you do it in the new one, you are learning the new one, so maybe that is the better way to go. If you do it that way, but the existing database is such a mess that it creates problems with the import, then you have your answer. Just delete the trial import and clean it up first.
As soon as you get the new database in and cleaned up – BACKUP or do an EXPORT immediately, twice! You’ve taken the time to create a quality database; now make sure you don’t have to do it all over again by losing it.
As you are adding your contacts, click around in the menus. Try right clicking everywhere and see if anything happens. Experiment! That is part of getting a new CRM. The more time you spend with it up front, the sooner you will feel comfortable and more efficient with it, and the more you will use it.
If you have to call, email, or write to someone once, put them in your database. You never know when you may need it again.
Personal friends and neighbors should also be in your database. They are very easy to separate.
Text takes virtually no space on a computer. Taking up too much space by adding a lot of contacts is not a factor.
Many people have the concern that they did not want to clutter up their database. Some agents want only the names of the people to whom they want to mail in their database. That thinking is probably a throwback to when we had all our names and addresses on a piece of paper that we used to copy onto a sheet of labels to do our mailings.They considered names of loan originators whom they did not use themselves, or maybe the buyers’ names when they had the sellers’ side of the transaction, as just clutter in the database. It’s not. It saves time in the future.
People will often say they do not want to have to sort through names they do not need. What sorting? You start keying the name of the person you want in the search box, and it comes up. If you have 50 names or 5,000, it is the exact same procedure and result.
After you use a CRM for a few years, if you put everybody in there, you will be amazed at how often you will not have to look someone up somewhere else because they are already in there. In many markets, there are hundreds of ancillary services. Title companies, loan originators, termite inspectors, home inspectors, etc. After a few years and a number of transactions, a great many of them will be in your database. When you add a new transaction, many times, many of the parties to the transaction will already be in there. If you need to call or e-mail someone, you will have his or her contact info already. It gets to be a tremendous time saver.
Part Two – What fields to make certain you complete, what to put in them, and why