Thursday, August 22, 2013

Superior Database Strategies in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

computer keyboard
Start your database in commercial real estate brokerage.

In commercial real estate brokerage, a database will be critical to your progress in building market share.  That being said, there are some rules to the process.

Recently I had the opportunity to examine the computers and database activity two agents that had recently left a brokerage.  They left the business because they were reasonably unsuccessful; their cost was becoming a problem to the business.  So what was wrong with what they were doing?  What was not ‘working’?  After 6 months in the industry they had converted few listings and closed only smaller deals.

When I examined their computers and database records it was easy to see that they had negligible systems to help them with progressing in the industry and with listings.  On investigation I found around 6 spread sheets each with only 5 or so entries.  It was easy to see that those agents were not building momentum in any way.  Each day was a ‘random’ process for them of waiting to see if the telephone would ring.  The sad fact is that they only worked in the industry for 6 months and the pressures of ‘no income’ then took over.

So the key fact here to understand is that the industry can be very difficult for those that do not prospect daily and systemise their business.  I now go back to the point that a database is critical to make all of this happen.

Here are some tips to building a superior database in commercial real estate brokerage:

  1. You do not need to purchase something that is expensive as a database software program.  Simplicity is sometimes better in the long run.  Choose a program that you can understand, use, and keep up to date.
  2. How long does it take to load a new person into your database?  If it is longer than 2 minutes, consider if you really want to have that ‘slow’ process holding you back in data entry and updating.
  3. Make sure you can import and export to and from the database.  Normally that will be in a common file format such as a ‘csv’ file (comma separated values) or a spread sheet.  Note that some software manufacturers make it hard for you to do this so you cannot easily move to another supplier of software. 
  4. If you load your data into an existing software system that exists in your brokerage, ask the questions about just who will own the data when loaded.  Can you get at your data when you want and can you take it with you if you leave the business?
  5. Make sure you can load a new person quickly and easily to the software program. At the end of every day you will be loading a number of new ones and upgrading others with fresh information.  Will all of that be easy to do?
  6. Ensure that you can back up your data.  Keep plenty of copies of the data so you have something to fall back on if some computer ‘goes down’.

I am a great believer that the requirement of entering data and loading client updates each day is a person process.  I say this because personal involvement will keep you committed to the system of shaping and building your business.

So many agents and brokers never connect with their database and it quickly becomes stale and inaccurate; that is then a waste of time and effort for all concerned.   A good database in commercial real estate brokerage will take you to the top of your market faster than any other method.