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If you ask Jay Sheridan, a real estate agent with Summit Sotheby’s International Realty, he’ll tell you that he’s “just the same as everyone else.” That’s why he thinks other agents might learn something from his experience.
There are those people that are masters of their database—it’s their personality type, the way they do business,” says Jay. “And then there’s the vast majority of people that I think are quite a lot like me—the ones that have a list, not a database.”
Today, Jay’s a customer relationship management (CRM) convert. In just a few months of using the Cloze CRM app, he can point to multiple deals that he knows he wouldn’t have gotten without Cloze. He feels so strongly about it that he even runs a monthly training session for his office.
But don’t think his journey is full of fancy bells and whistles. Jay knows that Cloze could do a lot more than what he asks of it today, but for now, he’s keeping it simple. And it’s working.
Here’s his journey.
The opportunity for a stronger network
A 15-year veteran of the mortgage business, Jay has spent the past 11 years selling real estate in the high-value Park City, UT area and doing pretty well building his clientele. During the pandemic, “pretty well” was good indeed as the Park City real estate market was booming. “During COVID, you could meet someone new at Starbucks and end up selling a house,” recalls Jay.
In the past, Jay had his list, and over the years, he felt great about the referrals he got. But as Park City’s real estate market starts to normalize post-pandemic, he realized about five months ago that he could be doing something more to cultivate and capitalize on his network.
“I sat down with Summit’s president, Bridgette Osguthorpe, to talk about how to grow my business,” says Jay. “Honestly, I was just thinking about things like sending out annual Christmas cards, which I really wasn’t doing. After chatting with her, she just kind of looked at me and said, ‘You know what you have to do; you’re just asking me to be the one to tell you.’ And she was right.”
Jay realized that despite this “list” he had built up over 26 years in the broader real estate market, he wasn’t really doing anything to keep that list active and engaged. Aside from an occasional untargeted or semi-targeted marketing blast, he was only keeping close relationships with about 5-10 people in his sphere, and those were mostly friends.
Getting started on the CRM journey
While his brokerage has offered Cloze CRM to its agents for years, Jay never felt the need to use it. Bridgette helped Jay understand that Cloze could help simplify the process of keeping in touch without a lot of additional effort. She set him up for training to get the basics down and get him started.
Jay’s initial goal was simple: just get addresses so he could send out an annual Christmas card. “I knew I needed to do something that was more than what I was currently doing. So while I was nervous about it, I just started using Cloze to reach out to people to reconnect. I’d ask how they were doing and let them know I was updating my database and asked them to send me their latest contact details.”
With every reach-out, Cloze was able to capture more information, updating contact info, or enabling Jay to tag contacts into different segments. In less than a month, Jay had reached out to 450 people, just a few every day, to connect. Jay was surprised to find out that no matter how much time had passed—whether it be six months or six years—people were glad to hear from him.
I realized that, especially for folks I had bought or sold for, I had earned the right to call them. I provided a valuable service and built a relationship that I could have been cultivating and making stronger. I went from having maybe 1% of current, accurate addresses in my database, to only missing two, simply because I took the time to ask.”
Jay describes Cloze as his “magic system”:
If I don’t have to think about it every day. There is some magic system that’s telling me to do it that’s even better.
As he started to use Cloze and connect it with not just his email and calendar, but also to his phone, the CRM system got even smarter, reminding him of action items and due dates, as well as recommendations for who to reach out to “just connect” each day.
Building relationships, no pressure needed
As he worked through his contacts, Jay started coming up with his own simple tagging system, with just a handful of tags, to help him segment and tag his database. While Cloze automatically provides smart segmentation (past clients, for example, or active leads), many agents find it useful to come up with their own tags, based on neighborhood, interests, family characteristics, etc.
Jay quickly figured out that he had about 450 people in his sphere that weren’t other agents or real estate professionals (now appropriately tagged), and of those, 160 were past clients. He set up his preferred outreach cadence for each segment—45 days in his case—and Cloze quickly began to incorporate daily reach outs into Jay’s day.
Every morning, all I have to do is open my laptop and look at Cloze. In this business, you know you should be reaching out and maintaining connections. But it’s hard to keep track and remember to do them on a daily basis. Cloze manages it all for me, and that takes a lot of the pressure and guilt away. I get up. I open Cloze. I go through my hot list. I go through my warm list. I go through my agenda. And then I see the handful of people I should be calling or texting just because it’s been a while since I did it. And then I do it.”
In the past, Jay’s seen past clients go to other agents not because they had a bad relationship but simply because Jay didn’t keep in touch, “and I’d kick myself. It wouldn’t have been that hard to give them a call every couple of months to stay top of mind, and I probably would have gotten those sales. But with Cloze, that’s not going to happen again.”
Once-dormant connections turn into referrals
In the five months since he started using it, Jay can point to several deals that have already come from his outreach. One in particular stands out. 18 months ago, Jay had worked with a potential client for six months to potentially buy some property. The client ended up canceling the search because he bought property in another city.
More than a year has passed since the last communication, and the contact is recommended as part of Jay’s daily agenda.
“Here’s a guy that I’ve never sold anything to. In fact, he’s actively told me that he’s not buying anything right now. But I call him anyway, and I ask him how his other transaction went. We end up talking for half an hour. Literally the next day, the guy refers me to a friend of his that’s coming into town that weekend. That deal’s going to be worth somewhere between 6-14 million dollars. And I don’t think he would have thought to recommend me if I hadn’t reached out that day.”
And that story isn’t unusual. In just the five months he’s been using Cloze, Jay can point to at least three or four other new referrals that came from past clients within 72 hours of Jay reaching out.
Jay says he regrets not connecting Cloze long ago.
“Cloze has changed the entire dynamic of how I operate my day. It’s just such a relief. I don’t have the guilt that I’m not doing the right things anymore. I don’t have the stress that something’s fallen through the cracks. It’s all right there. Literally, all I have to do is just log in.”