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By Brian Wildermuth

RISMEDIA, Feb. 9, 2008-When surveyed, seven out of 10 consumers said they would use the same real estate agent again when they bought or sold their next home. Only four actually did. Why? Because the consumers couldn’t remember the name of the agent with which they had worked.

Staying top-of-mind with clients is an ongoing challenge for most agents. Why? Many get hung up because they don’t have a plan. These agents take a reactive approach to marketing. Others simply aren’t creative. They don’t possess the ideas or ability to design, write, and produce professional marketing pieces on their own. But the majority of agents miss the opportunity to consistently communicate with their sphere, because they lack the time it takes to develop an effective marketing campaign.

One way to free up time and to position oneself for marketing success is to implement an effective electronic contact management system. Here are six benefits to using an electronic contact management system:

1. Maintain critical information related to your clients’ needs. This could be as simple as storing information about your client that you might otherwise forget (i.e. the names and ages of their children or pets). Take it a step further, and keep information about their preferred method of communication – E-mail, direct mail, phone, or personal visits.

2. Quickly recall any of the stored information without having to sort through sticky notes or old day timer sheets. A good contact management system enables you to recall information about a contact with a click of the mouse.

3. Stay on top of your schedule 24/7. Schedule important dates in the calendar for quick retrieval. This includes the ability to set recurring dates like birthdays, purchase anniversary dates, or check up phone calls. Your contact manager should allow you to set auto-reminders for things you might otherwise forget.

4. Manage your contacts more effectively. Assign contacts to groups (i.e. past buyers, move-up clients, 1st time buyer, etc). Grouping your contacts makes target marketing easier and ensures that your message is relevant.

5. Track correspondence and marketing histories. You should select a contact manager that gives you the ability to store notes about each client and one that keeps track of all activities that are connected to those clients.

6. Plan and execute automated marketing campaigns. The cream of the crop systems enable you to set up annual marketing campaigns for hands-free communication with your clients.

Today’s consumer wants immediate results. They demand information that is relevant to their needs, and they want it delivered quickly and accurately. The single professional as well as the two-income household is pressed for time, and making a home purchasing decision is a matter that they weigh carefully and thoroughly. Effective contact management is a necessity. Scraps of paper with scrawled notes or dog-eared index cards can’t keep pace with the demands of delivering specific information quickly.

©2008 SharperAgent

Brian Wildermuth is the co-founder and president of SharperAgent, and a national speaker in the field of real estate marketing.

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