Key considerations for your real estate database: an REBarCamp recap

Real estate databasing was the most requested topic at REBarCamp Perth 2013.

Databasing was the most requested topic at REBarCamp Perth 2013, so I was keen to hear what agents had to say about the subject.

What I found was that agents had a variety of questions and experiences to share in regards to what makes a great real estate database.

Below are the main questions posed in the databasing session, along with some of the answers from the agents in the room.

Q. Who owns the data – rep or agency?

Different agents had different experiences with databases in their agency. Some said that their agency owned the database, while other agents kept databases that they controlled themselves.

One agent shared that when a sales representative leaves their office, they can only take limited data with them – so to maintain control over their data, that agent keeps their own copy of the database.

There was some consensus that whether or not the agency keeps a copy of an agent’s database, there’s a good chance the agent can maintain their client base when they leave, because “people list with people, not with companies“.

Q. How do you restart an old database?

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for real estate professionals to have a database that’s been neglected.

One agent at the databasing session told the room that she had recently come back into the industry after seven years. She asked: should I contact the people on my old database? For many of her contacts, she didn’t have email addresses or even mobile numbers.

The answer from the other agents in the room was a resounding “yes – contact them!” Since she didn’t have complete contact details, one person suggested that she send hand-written letters to all the homeowners on her old database, letting them know that she’s back in the industry.

Q. How do you work your database?

Bill Atkinson asked the room what they actually did with their database. Answers included:

  • Putting clients on action plans,
  • Contacting past clients on important anniversaries, such as the day they bought their home a year ago,
  • Thanking people who attended home opens,
  • Sending out market reports, and
  • Treating ‘gold class clients’ to free movie tickets or a bottle of wine.

One thing many people agreed upon was the importance of consistency. “If you’re going to do it,” said Brendan Leahy, “then do it.”

Q. How fit is your database?

Bill Atkinson shared a compelling question from sales coach David James: “Is your database fit, or fat?”

This prompted some discussion on the quality of contacts on the database, rather than the quantity of contacts. Brendan Leahy went so far as to say that “if you don’t know how many kids or dogs they have, you don’t have a database.”

What are your experiences with databasing? How important is quality to your database? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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About Emily Murphy

Emily is a digital strategist, Internet Communications graduate, and raving fan of WordPress. She worked with Real Estate Tribe from early 2012 to late 2014.

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