Your Customer Relations System

Cover of Be the Better Broker by Dustan Woodhouse, Mortgage Broker

An excerpt from Chapter 29, Volume 2 of Be the Better Broker.

During one of the first business-planning meetings I ever attended at my original brokerage, one of the Brokers stood up and made a comment that has stuck with me to this day.

“If you’re just starting out in this business and are thinking that you’re going to go back and build a CRM database once you get busy enough—or once you have “enough” clients—you’re fooling yourself.”

I have never forgotten those words. Thanks S. C. Yet I do wish I had taken greater steps to apply their wisdom.

The number-one CRM problem most Brokers have is failing to get a CRM system in place from day one. And down the road the amount of time involved in going back and entering all past client data makes the task nearly impossible.

The first client with whom you worked may end up abandoned and forgotten. She won’t be on your email newsletter. She won’t be on your blog update list. She will not be connected with you on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and so on. You won’t be contacting her in advance of her renewal, as there will be no reminders set to trigger an alert six months from the renewal date.

The core problem is a lack of habit. To build the habit you first have to adopt some kind of tracking system or software.

Be organized from day one

Start a proper Client Relationship Management (CRM) system now. Don’t wait. Even if you’ve got only one client, don’t hesitate to build out a robust (but not overly complicated) CRM system.

There are several fantastic systems, many offered free through the brokerage you sign up to work under. I myself am not a great poster boy for any one CRM solution at all. I have used an Excel spreadsheet from day one and failed to progress into something more robust.

I was lucky enough that I had only completed about five transactions when I took that Broker’s advice to heart. I clicked on Excel for nearly the first time ever in my life and created some headings and formulas, along with some colour coding, to track a number of key metrics, which has grown to include the following:

• Client Name (hyperlinked to their email address)

• Condition Removal Date

• Notes

• Refinance Purc hase

• Renewal/Switch

• Insured Y/N

• Mortgage Insurance Ref #

• Assistant Y/N

• Submitted

• Committed

• Commitment File #

• Signed

• File Complete

• Interest Rate

• Term

• Amortization

• Commission

• Name of Lender (hyperlink to Underwriter’s email)

• Closing Date

• MPP Life insurance

• MPP Disability Insurance

• CFP Referr al

• Assistant Com pensation

• Appraisal Cost

• Legal Fee Cost

• Referral Source (name of)

• Housecleaning

• Referral Comp

• Net Commission

• Running Commission Total

• Running Volume Total

Some of these categories are not a Y/N; instead I use a 1 or a 0 (in the purchase, refinance and renewal columns, for instance), keeping a running total at the bottom of each month and year. This way I know the total number of files that were purchases, the total that were insured, the total that took the disability insurance and so on.

All of these metrics seem unimportant in your early days, but I assure you that you will value the aggregate data years from now. So start collecting, tracking and totalling it on day one.

Build the vital habit of inputting key metrics.

Don’t spend hours, days, weeks or months (or years, as some Brokers do) seeking out the perfect CRM system. At the very least, take a night class or an online course in Excel, and build a basic repository of client data on a simple Excel sheet. Start tracking the basics with your first caller. I don’t care how you do it, just do it. Have a system of some kind that is scalable and reliable.