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Sales - 7 min READ

Huge Real Estate Contact List? Here’s How to Deal With It

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Author photo: Brent Barnhart

Brent Barnhart


Does “bigger” necessarily mean “better” when it comes to your contact list?

While most realtors are chomping at the bit for new clients, there’s no denying the stress of trying to manage a massive list of contacts.

Because real estate leads come in so many shapes and sizes, don’t they?

Referrals with big budgets, ready to buy.

First-time buyers who need some serious hand-holding.

Friends and family who are “just looking.”

And that’s just for starters.

When you’re juggling dozens of contacts on a day-to-day basis, managing your clients’ preferences and follow-ups can be a total time-suck.

That’s why effective organization is key for figuring out how to allocate your precious time among your real estate contacts.

Don’t let your ever-growing list feel like a burden. Instead, adopt a more tactical approach to categorizing and scoring your contacts. In this guide, we’ll break down how realtors can do exactly that with current clients and new contacts alike.

Realtors need to organize their contact lists ASAP.

Reality check: while you might see your inbox as your digital Rolodex, there are definitely better ways to manage your list. Realtors are among the busiest professionals on the planet when it comes to client communication. The more you’re able to organize and streamline that communication, the more you can step up your earning potential.

If you’re still stuck to your inbox or don’t have a concrete strategy for categorizing clients, consider these benefits of doing so.

More meaningful client relationships

As a realtor, client relationships are your bread and butter.

Some clients require around-the-clock communication while others need to be consistently pushed to take action. In other words, there’s no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” relationship.

But perhaps most importantly, your clients need somebody they can trust.

Navigating the process of buying or selling a home can be incredibly daunting, especially for a first-timer. Documenting each individual clients’ concerns and quirks allows you to personalize your approach to nurturing and establish that much-needed sense of trust.

Less stress, more time saved

Sifting through email chain after email chain isn’t just inefficient: it’s downright stressful. Centralizing your clients and contacts into a succinct, segmented list doesn’t require you to rack your brain for every little client detail at a moment’s notice.

Also bear in mind that confining your contacts to your inbox makes it much more difficult to collaborate with others if you’re working as part of a team.

Understand your best (and worst) opportunities

Again, no two clients are the same.

Prioritizing contacts with the highest levels of interest (think: biting to buy, desperate to sell) or a bigger budget makes more sense than focusing on no-shows who are just dragging their feet. The ability to identify and spot your most lucrative relationships is crucial to getting the most out of your contacts.

But until you organize your list, making the distinction between those opportunities is like a guessing game.

7 Tips for Wrangling Your Massive Real Estate Contact List

Now that you have a better idea of why organization is so important, you’re probably wondering how exactly to make it happen, right?

Here are seven tips that’ll help wrangle your contact list once and for all. Whether you’re already using a real estate CRM or not, these principles are all fair game.

1. Start by segmenting your contacts.

This is the big one.

Rather than stare blankly at a list of names, your first order of business is to segment your contacts.

Highlighting the differences between each contact and client is essential for figuring out your top priorities and also timing your communication (think: follow-up calls and emails).

There is no “right” way to segment your contact list in a spreadsheet or CRM. That said, here are some parameters that will help you make distinctions between your contacts:

The trick here is to differentiate your contacts at a glance without overwhelming yourself.

Putting these items together in a Google Sheet might seem daunting, but it’s totally worthwhile in the long-run. The big-picture goal is to use these parameters to automate your client communication and put your nurturing on autopilot.

Because nurturing your contacts via email or SMS based on their specific needs is key to winning them over.

And if you’re working with a CRM such as Copper, you can import your list directly—granted you aren’t already gathering leads there in the first place.

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Learn more about how the best brokerages and real estate agents are using CRM.

2. Gather more information from the start.

Whether you’re capturing information via a landing page or Google Form, make sure that you’re asking your contacts to fill in as much as possible (making certain fields required, for example).

This results in a more comprehensive lead profile, signaling exactly who your most relevant, eager contacts are. Gathering this information via these forms also keeps you from having to do as much manual entry.

On a related note, Copper can sync with whatever system you’re using to capture leads (Google Forms, MailChimp, and so on), creating a central hub of new and existing contacts.

3. Point your leads to the same contact form.

For the sake of consistency, having the same amount of information on each contact is ideal.

If someone reaches out to you via email, prepare an email template or autoresponder that points them to your form or landing page. You should similarly point any in-person leads to the same page (bringing a laptop or tablet along to make the process easier).

Again, this avoids the need for manual entry and cuts out unnecessary back-and-forth between you and your contacts.

4. Sync up your client communication.

Speaking of less back-and-forth, using technology is a huge time-saver to keep you from bouncing between platforms.

Let’s say you’re already glued to your Gmail inbox and Google Calendar. Copper actually syncs with Gmail so that all of your client details are front and center as you communicate. This enables you to spend less time digging for information and more time setting up calls and meetings.

5. Keep track of your client touch-points.

Remember: relationships are about more than just quantitative data.

Did you have a productive meeting or call with a contact? Do you have a client expressing concerns? Is there a time-sensitive follow-up that you just can’t miss?

Although there’s a ton that modern technology can do to help you save time with contacts, you still need to practice some good old-fashioned note-taking.

To avoid losing any essential information, don’t risk keeping your client touch-points solely in your head. Digital client notes and reminders can save you some major headaches and miscommunication.

As an added bonus, a CRM can make it easy to input client notes and reminders to sync with the rest of your data. This helps you form better personal relationships with clients without missing a beat.

6. Highlight your most important metrics.

Your contact list is a potential treasure trove of data (assuming you’re actually analyzing it).

For example, do you know which clients are communicating with you the most?

Or which opportunities are the most likely to result in a sale?

Oh, and who on your list has the biggest budget?

The answers to these questions can point you toward your most pressing to-dos in terms of your clients and who needs a follow-up ASAP.

One of the biggest benefits of a CRM is that all of this data can be visualized via reporting. Running regular reports is standard practice for all businesses today and it’s no different for realtors.

7. Automate and streamline your follow-ups

Follow-ups are among the most important tasks for realtors looking to retain and warm up their leads.

However, it’s also one of the most time-consuming tasks on your plate.

This is yet another area where a CRM can be a total game-changer.

Think about your current follow-up process. Let’s say you typically send cold leads a reactivation message every four months after their initial contact.

Or maybe you try to make it a habit of following up with new contacts after 24 hours, but sometimes get too tied up to make it happen.

With the help of your CRM, you can set up a system that does both—and then some.

For example, Copper can automate communication with your list based on parameters and timing that you set up. Sent from your Gmail and personalized through custom templates you whip up yourself, client follow-ups don’t have to eat up half of your day anymore.

With the help of Zapier, you can link Copper to the likes of Gmail or any other platform you use to stay in touch with your leads. These sorts of seamless integrations mean less bouncing between apps.

Translation? More people stay in your sales funnel as you get to spend more time building those ever-so-important client relationships.

How are you handling your real estate contact list?

If you’re a realtor, getting down to business means engaging with your clients.

And how much time you’re able to spend connecting with clients ultimately boils down to how you manage your list.

Technology has evolved to make managing your real estate clients so much easier. Take advantage of it.

Rather than stress about data entry, losing leads or missing out on opportunities, try to create a system that puts your most tedious tasks on autopilot.

Organizing your list, especially with the help of a CRM, is a great starting point for making it happen.

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