Okay, so this week two people in one day sent me an email and said, “All you teach is great BUT how do I get a database and work it?” So here goes….small business database help!
What is a database?
A database is a collection of you clients, prospects and business partners. It can be a full blown database like Act, Goldmine, Access, The Wise Agent, or Top Producer. It can also be an Excel spreadsheet or even a Word document with a list of the people you want to be in contact with.
The reason it is nice to have a database database is that you can attach notes, schedule appointments and followup calls and generally organize all your information together. The reason NOT to have a database database to start is that you spend SO much time working ON it that you don't have anyone to put IN it!
How To Use Your Database
So you have a database, what next. You need to set it up so that you can easily find people in it! The MOST important thing is to put people in catagories. You might have a number of different ones – here are a few to consider:
- Lead – Current or “A Lead” – These are the most important people to your business since they are potential business and income for you. Make sure you have a designation so you can find these people easily to write, call or email.
- Advocate – These are the people who are the next most important to your business. They are the ones that think that you and your company are great AND tell everyone they know to use you! They are the ones to take to lunch or send flowers on their birthday!
- Past Client – They have proved that they will work with you and purchase your services. It is SO much easier to sell to these people than to try and find new people in the marketplace.
- Lead – Prospect – They are not ready to buy right now but they are willing to hear your pitch and you want to make sure not to lose them before they make a buying decision.
- Lead – Suspect – They have answered an ad or come in off your website. They say they want to do business with you but they are not ready or able to make a commitment at this point to use you. Spend the LEAST amount of time and money on these people!
DO NOT think that you cannot have people in more than one catagory! A lead that hasn't even bought from you yet could refer a ton of business to you as an advocate.
How To Work Your Database
To start, you need to set up some system to prompt you talk to your Leads and your Advocates. If you are using a database, schedule an appointment to talk to EVERYONE in you database once at least on the phone. After that you can schedule periodic calls and augment that with emails and mailings.
You could also put important dates in your database, giving you the opportunity to contact your clients periodically throughout the year. This could be birthday, anniversary, date that they adopted their pet or bought their house.
I will talk soon about ways to manage the contact part of the process. For right now, get a database, get it set up the way you would like and start calling your people. Make sure that their name, email, address and phone numbers are all correct!