Olympian or couch potato - how healthy is your database?

It’s but a few months into 2017 and by now you’re probably already ignoring all of those well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions. You know; the ones that you gave up faster than a greased rattlesnake sliding down an icy hill?I’m in the same boat. At midnight on the 31st of December 2016 I had a raft of lofty goals for the new year. Now I don’t. (Although the clarity does feel kind of cathartic in its own way.)But there is one that I’ve decided to take seriously. My health needs a kickstart so bike riding, swimming, the gym and yoga have all cemented spots in my previously vacant physical activity rotation.I won’t wax smugly about how I am trying to improve myself. Not that kind of guy. But all the newfound sweat and endorphins got me thinking about one of the other things that could do with a visit from a personal trainer.

How healthy is your database?

You need a healthy database - it is literally the lifeblood of your agency. It holds (or it should hold) all the information needed to keep your business alive. Without it pumping information, your company becomes an anaemic shell that barely can stand up on its own, let alone compete.But we don’t want to just compete, do we? We’re here to take the real estate world by storm and outstrip the competition by a factor of twenty or so. And to do that, you need more than fancy tech. It doesn’t matter how awesome your equipment is. If your lifeblood is oxygen-poor and full of cholesterol, you’re not going anywhere. Fast.Duplicate data, missing information, out of date records. All of these are potentially killing your agency slowly from the inside.Unhealthy databases cause real problems. People stop trusting your CRM and resort to other software or processes which means you’re now paying for something that’s not even being used.When you try to prospect, you end up sending letters to the wrong people. In an industry that relies on relationships, reputation and brand marketing, nothing turns potential leads away faster.Or, you could be missing out on a huge number of contacts for prospecting because, even though they are in the system, their details are incomplete.It goes on. Reports are out of whack. Forecasting; impossible. Frustration at an all-time high. An unhealthy database isn’t good for anyone.So, now’s the time to stick your database on the treadmill. Time to whip it into shape so that it can really perform for you on a day to day basis.Okay, too many cheesy (but true) metaphors. ‘How about some real action?’ No problem.

Kev’s rules for database dialysis:

  • Realise that you are responsible for keeping your database clean. It’s not someone else’s job. I don’t care how many admins you have working for you. You own the data and you are the one who’s going to benefit from it. Make it your mission to ensure that you, and everyone else, is entering accurate information. Complete information. Relevant information. Entering a contact record that has a name of ‘K’ with a partial email and no phone number is simply unacceptable.
  • Know what your CRM can do for you and ensure that you’re entering data that will support its many tools and benefits. Too many people I speak to are wasting their CRM by using it as a glorified Rolodex. (For those of you who are too young to know what a Rolodex is, you aren’t too young to know what Google is…)
  • Set aside time to periodically review your database and fill in the gaps or get rid of the duplicates. Again, this stuff is there for you to use. You can’t use it if it’s missing or bogus.
  • Set up and stick to processes that require you to keep your database healthy. If you make it mandatory to have good data, the other steps above become quick double-checks instead of weekends’ worth of slogging through your system when you’d rather be <insert favourite activity here>.

The last thing I’ll leave you with is that this is not a one-time activity. You don’t spend months at the gym getting in Adonis/Aphrodite shape and then go straight back to non-stop pizzas and beer.  You have to keep at this in order to get the most out of it. But a healthy database is worth all that effort.Don’t stress, it’s not hard.  Yeah, it might take some effort to get started but then everything worth having is worth working at. And once you get going it’ll become second nature and you won’t even notice you're doing it. Kind of like exercise. (Except for the sweat, the aches, the wheezing, the nausea, the gym membership bills, the dirty laundry…you get the idea.)

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