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Why Now Is a Great Time to Clean Up Your CRM!

March 30 2020

When I switched from my commercial business management career 20 years ago to work in the real estate support industry, I was amazed at the number of standard business practices many agents didn't use. I was coming from a world of mission statements, six-month, one-year and five-year forecasting, making a quarterly pro forma, plus doing all the different managements of contact, time and information. We didn't call it a "sales funnel" back then. I'm not sure how we referred to our customer/contact list, but if somebody wasn't buying, we sent one of our outside sales people to see them.

I remember within the first six months of helping agents, I was speaking in a remote part of Maryland and an agent and her husband asked me to dinner after my presentation. I was new and didn't realize that an invitation was actually a chance to learn more about the subject I had presented on.

It turned out being a nice evening, but I learned more than they did. The agent wanted my input on contact management. I asked how many contacts she had in her contact management system. She proudly answered 3,000! She was a successful agent, so I decided to take a look at what her contacts looked like. My first question: How many are dead of this 3,000? Her answer: She didn't know! Next, I asked, Do you have the contacts divided up by anything like level of interest, possible leads or past customers? Her answer: No! I told her she did not have a contact management system—she had old expired phone book.

Now's the Time to Clean Up Your CRM!

crm keyboardWith what is going on in the world, now is the time to tackle a project you may have been putting off for months or even years: Cleaning up your CRM system!

Let me share how I think you should clean up your contacts. First, design your own categories and don't create more than six or seven. Here are my simple suggestions:

  1. Contacts who can make you money within the next year
  2. Contacts who can make you money in the next two years
  3. Other contacts who might make you money someday
  4. Past clients
  5. Support people like lenders, title companies, home inspectors, etc.
  6. Family
  7. Friends

Those are my seven categories, but feel free to make what works for you. Every contact in your CRM should fall into a category so we can discuss the next steps.

Why do we need to have categories in our CRM? It's simple. Marketing—whether it's emails, phone calls, or postcards—you need to know who to invest time and money into by staying in touch. For example, you should dedicate more resources to the category "Make Money in a Year" than to the "Make you Money Someday" category. This is how and where you start building a market plan and a strategy to execute the plan.

We can discuss more in the future about marketing plans, but for now clean up your contacts!

Oh, the agent from that remote part of Maryland with her 3,000 contacts? The agent, the husband and an assistant went to work cleaning up the contacts and about a month later proudly called to tell me she had gone from 3,000 contacts to 1,200 alive, maybe interested contacts.

Dick Betts is a national speaker, trainer and consultant. Learn more at