Building Your Contact Database From Scratch
There is a fundamental truth that you may have heard of on more than one occasion. This truth is build your business by design, not by accident. This is true for any business, however, for the purpose of this article we will use the example of a mortgage professional. Providing mortgages for people is more relationship driven than it is transactional. A mortgage professional is privy to some of the most private information a person has, their financial status, their financial dreams, and since personal and financial is so closely interwoven you usually end up knowing a lot about their family, personal relationships etc. In order to provide the highest service levels, you must be able to keep track of not only the data on their loan transaction, but also all the related information about their life, their dreams etc., as it pertains to their financial needs. You also need to stay in touch with them between loan transactions. The only way to do this effectively is with a database tool.
If you have any fear about building your database or don’t consider yourself to be “good with systems”, you should stop thinking that way. It can be what stands between you and high sales volume, as well as a quality life/work balance. Most of today’s contact management tools are much easier to use and navigate than ever – and that’s great news. A contact management tool can be something as basic as an XLS spreadsheet or Outlook or something more robust like the ACT! contact relationship management (CRM) tool.
Below are 7 tips for building your database from scratch. Go at this task with confidence and get help when you need it!
Top 7 Tips for Building Your Database from Scratch:
1. Start with the list of names and numbers in your phone and email system. Add them into your database.
2. If you have any hard files or printed applications transfer those contacts into your database. Sound time consuming? Hire your kid, one of your friends’ kids, post the project on local college job boards, Craigslist, or any of the many job sites on the internet. There is also an excellent ‘for hire’ site where expert resources from all the world offer their expertise on a project-by project basis. The site; http://www.fiverr.com , provides access to a large array of people who can help you with many projects, including this type of data entry project. The best news is that most projects are only $5.00. Yes, you read right - $5.00! Getting data entry help through Fiverr.com is really easy to accomplish if you have a web based database tool (ie ACT! for Web, Salesforce etc.). Depending on your comfort level, you can give them direct login access, have them enter data, and then change your password for security reasons afterwards. A tip is that after you show them what you need, check the results after they enter about 10 names with contact information to make sure there is nothing missed or incorrect. You do not want to wait until the project is done to find out they were entering information incorrectly. Not comfortable with someone accessing your database directly? You can still scan and send your hard files over a secure online document center like http://Hightail.com , and have them manually enter the information to an XLS spreadsheet which you could then import into your database. There are many loan officers that have a variety of separate XLS files with contact information. Hire someone to compile them into 1 cohesive XLS worksheet for easier data import.
3. Gather names, address, email and phone information from your family, friends, work out buddies from the gym, people from your church or place of worship, community groups, and more. Simply let them know what you do and ask for their permission to send them mortgage and financial strategies tips from time to time.
4. Start with people you know, then network to get to the people they know! Ask your relatives and friends for the contact information for any of their friends, co-workers, and other acquaintances that they feel comfortable sharing with you.
5. Utilize social media. Before you start, make sure you have social media pages you are happy with. Facebook and LinkedIn pages should be enticing, professional and clear. These sites need to highlight your skills in helping people realize their dreams of property ownership. If you are not a marketing or social media expert, good news! As mentioned in item 2,Fiverr.com is a great resource for projects. Use search keywords like “Improve” and “Consult” along with the social media site you need help with and see the long list of results that show up. For example “Improve my LinkedIn page”. Again,most projects are only $5.00!
Next, search social media sites for anyone you have crossed paths with, even if they do not live in your market area. Ask to be their friend in Facebook and ask to link to them in LinkedIn. Your contact may not be local but may know someone who is. While that contact may not be a great lead or referral source right now, they have then potential to become one.
You would be surprised how getting the word out about the services you offer, without holding back, will help create new leads.
6. Branch Out. Perhaps you have heard mixed reviews on getting involved with networking functions and groups. However, do not let the experiences of some people deter you from having your own. One of the most well-known networking groups is http://www.bni.com. Business Networking International (BNI) is one the largest worldwide companies that offers meetings and services to connect professionals and business owners in a particular community. Even better is to join groups that you are passionate about and then take opportunities to offer your services, such as veterans assistance groups, hospital volunteer groups, animal rescue groups, bike clubs, book clubs, the list is endless. Your passion for the cause or group comes first. Getting new business from the group is secondary. This will absolutely expose you to more opportunities to help others with the expertise you offer.
7. Procure another mortgage originator’s or real estate agent’s database. Do you know of a mortgage professional or realtor that is about to move or retire? If so, they may be willing to sell you their database, along with a co-branded transition and introduction email to their entire database. This is a powerful way to get qualified leads that are usually immediately open to checking out you and your services.
Written By Donna Quisenberry
Donna Quisenberry is a Certified Consultant with Q2 Database Consulting Service. Q2 is a full service company providing complete solutions for your database and marketing management needs. Contact Donna today!
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