Success in commercial real estate is built on great relationships. Some of the best brokers in the field are out there making phone calls, booking lunch dates, meeting new contacts, connecting with old clients, and networking with just about everyone. But behind every warm handshake, cold call, and hot lead is something that often gets overlooked: great data.
It may not be glamorous, but data is what makes things happen. CRE is full of data sets like property specs, financial stats, ownership history, and the number of cold calls you make each day. If you’re doing data right, you see a world of connections, trends, and insights that are invisible to everyone else. If you’re doing it wrong, all you see is a bunch of numbers.
Your data can be extremely powerful if you use it right. But if you’re making any of these 5 common data mistakes, you may actually be doing more harm than good. Here’s what you should know:
1. When your data is old, you have to backtrack constantly.Imagine you’re on a call with a potential client, trying to pull up key information on a property. You open an Excel spreadsheet, but suddenly you’re second-guessing yourself. Is this the most recent file? Didn’t you just update something like it last week? You can’t quite remember, but you offer to call the prospect back once you find the newest version. Just like that, your momentum fizzles: a conversation that could have progressed easily has now stalled, and while you’re tracking down your data, your prospect is tracking down a new broker. Store your data in a CRM and you’ll always have the most up-to-date info at your fingertips, which keeps conversations and deals moving forward.
2. When your data’s wrong, you lose credibility.Every successful CRE broker will tell you how important it is to build trust with their clients. And nothing damages trust more than giving false information—even accidentally (FYI: Excel spreadsheets are often full of errors). If a client thinks, even for a second, that you’re trying to mislead them, that trust dissolves and they’re likely to take their business elsewhere. Be known for your sterling credibility: a solid CRM system helps you keep updated, relevant, and correct data that builds your reputation as a trustworthy and knowledgeable expert in your market.
3. When your data’s not easily accessible, you miss opportunities daily.Please don’t tell us you’re saving your data files on your computer’s desktop. And please don’t tell us you’re jotting anything important down on a sticky-note (read this horror story if you need any further convincing). In order to supply your prospects and clients with the information they want when they want it (which is probably right away), opt for a cloud storage system that you can access from anywhere, anytime.
4. When your data is “dumb,” you miss key insights.Data that’s just sitting in a file or written down on a piece of paper is “dumb” data—it doesn’t provide any insight beyond its face value. Any trends or insights that could make your prospecting or sales processes more efficient could be hiding right under your nose. Intelligent CRMs can identify those trends and insights in just a few clicks, and bring them to the forefront so you can act on them right away.
5. When your data doesn’t integrate, you have to do the grunt work.You’ll get the most value out of your data if you can maximize it to increase your efficiency with things like automated emails and comprehensive analytics. If your data storage tool doesn’t “talk” to any other programs, you’ll be the one stuck manually copying and pasting everything again and again. That not only wastes your time, it creates room for error. Consider using a CRM that not only stores all of your data in one place, but integrates with the software and services you use most.