What are the sources of your business?

Do you know exactly where all of your business comes from, in detail, such that you can use it to identify your strengths and weaknesses and evaluate your advertising spending?

For the purposes of this article we are talking about non-referral business such as ad calls, sign calls, open house visitors, FSBO’s , Expireds, online leads, affinity groups, etc.

Many agents when asked say they don’t need to track the source because most of their business is from referrals. That’s all well and good except that very few actually have numbers to back that up. Most do not take the time each year to be able to say “I closed 34 sides last year and 22 came from personal referrals”.

22 referrals leaves 12 sides or 35% of the business that came from other sources. The point is to not leave evaluation of your business to your gut. You really want to know exactly where your business is coming from.

In this case, five of your transactions came from print advertising. Seven came from open houses, and none came from floor/opportunity time. You don’t do FSBO’s or Expireds. And you have a Web site but it’s like a billboard in the middle of nowhere. You get nothing from it. That’s a whole nuther topic.

So of the five properties you sold as a result of print advertising, which periodicals did they come from? If you use a CRM that has a Source field, make sure to use the name of the periodical as opposed to just “Print Ad”. That way you can run a report at the end of the year that tells you that all five of the print ad sales came from the same magazine. You’re also paying for ads in two other magazines but you got nothing from them. So do you keep advertising in the other two? Maybe you decide that one of them is worth the visibility, even though there is no return on investment. That’s fine, as long as you now know that’s exactly all you’re getting out of it. And maybe you decide to drop the other one.

You spent 20 hours prepping for and sitting open houses, and made $12,000 from it. Is it worth it? Maybe, maybe not. What are your other sources paying you? You spent 150 hours on floor, and you made $0! What’s up with that? Either the quality/quantity of the floor calls are terrible, or you’re just not very good on the phone. So now maybe you should be thinking either you need to start doing some role playing coaching and practice on the phone, or maybe you take some of that time and spend it at open houses.

There are many more questions you could be exploring, but the point is that you would not be asking yourself these questions if you did not have a report showing you exactly where your business is coming from.

So if you can’t produce a list that says how much money you made, and specifically how you made it, then you’re not treating your business like a business. Yes – I’m going to trot out that tired old phrase. How about another one like “working on your business as well as in your business”. Another one that applies is about having a boat without a rudder. No source stats. No rudder. No way to get to the desired destination.

All Real Estate CRMs have a field in which to record the Source where your business came from. Unfortunately, few of them compile that information into a report. Often you just have to list your contacts and add up the sources. Agent Office does it, but that’s a dead product now. They have a report that grouped your sales by the source of the business. A better report would be to have a total $ figure for each source.

A nice simple but very useful report might look a little like this:

Homes & Living

Johnson, Howard & Lisa 123 Main St  $6,540

Horshaw, Jubal 86 W Chronicle Dr.  $4,443

Total     $10,983

Homes & Land

Hall, Darryl & Mary  67 W Darby St  $5,567

Total   $5,567

Grand Total      $16,550

Most CRMs don’t have the ability to generate these reports, or generate good reports because agents  don’t know to ask for it. Over the years I’ve made suggestions like this to the developers when we’ve talked and their response is usually the same. “No one has ever asked for that”. The CRM developers provide what the users ask for. So as people learn to ask for specific features, the vendors start providing them. Ya don’t ask, ya don’t get!

Some examples of Source Report capabilities, or lack thereof, in a few of my favorite CRMs:

Top Producer has a Source field, a Sub Source field and an Other Source field. The Source report however is in the Sales Pipeline portion of the program. There is a Pipeline Status Report.

source report

IXACTCONTACT has an Original Source field, and does have a report. It currently reports all Sources whether you have any business from that Source or not. Better would be if it only displayed sources you had done business from.

WiseAgent – You can list your contacts one source at a time and refine it by date but that’s about it. So you can get the info out, but it’s tedious. When asked, they said the pieces are in place and it’s now on their to-do list.

allClients – You can view a pie chart that shows percentages by date and by source but it’s all sources for all contacts, including none. So it’s not very useful.

So ask and ye may receive.

But even if you have to put it on a spreadsheet, strongly consider doing it. You can’t help but imporove your business when you have a new tool with which to evaluate it.

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