Vilfredo Pareto, a prolific Italian economist from the late 1800s, said that 20% of events cause 80% of the effects. Don’t let the math turn you away; it’s an easy formula that applies to every type of business, activity, and industry.

For real estate, this has a simple translation: if you were to break down your income by client, odds are, you’d find that roughly 20% of your clients produce 80% of your income. That’s why it’s important for Realtors® to capture those “holy grail” clients that result in big sales and meaningful, long-term relationships.

20% of your clients generate 80% of your income. Make sure you’re focusing on the leads that will yield the highest return.

20% of your clients generate 80% of your income. Make sure you’re focusing on the leads that will yield the highest return.

But how do you know which clients have the potential to be your top-producing clients? One powerful way to organize and identify your “top 20%’ers” is by using a CRM (customer relationship management) platform.

Need a refresher on CRMs? We offer a quick guide covering the basics to help you pick your perfect system. Once you’ve picked your ideal CRM, here’s how to set it up so you can organize your client information, identify the hottest leads, and refine your communication efforts based on real data.

1. Create a “dream client” avatar

Before you even touch your CRM, you’ll need to determine who you envision as your “dream client.” Braid Creative refers to dream clients as the ideal customers for your business, the clients that excite you the most. For Realtors®, this means clients who are eager to act and prepared to buy or sell.

Creating an “avatar” (or a profile) of your dream client will help define your rating system. Think of your avatar as a snapshot of the 20%’ers you want to work with the most—the clients who will make up 80% of your sales.


For a full worksheet to help you create your dream client, download our Advanced Producer app!



Consider including the following metrics in your dream client profile:

  • Age: When you think of your dream client (consider client profiles that have performed well in the past), is there an age group that comes to mind? For example, are your dream clients young newlyweds in their 20s and 30s or retirees in their 60s and 70s?
  • Location: Does your dream client live in a specific city or neighborhood?
  • Income: What is your dream client’s income range? Consider how this fits into your 20%-80% sales goal: what is your dream income, and how many clients would you need to meet that goal?
  • Buying history: Is your dream client a first-time homebuyer? Or is it an established buyer looking for investment opportunities?

Having a clearer picture of your dream client is a serious tool to refine your goals and prioritize your efforts, but don’t forget to have a little fun with it! You really want to dig into the mind of your dream client so that every flyer, post, and conversation considers their interests and needs. It only takes a minute to imagine a conversation with them. How do they act? What are their hobbies? Where do they spend time? Let this help you determine not only who to spend more time on but also how to spend your time with them.

2. Create your rating system

Your rating system assigns a status to each of your clients so you can easily identify the 20%’ers who will earn you the most money. This should be built using your dream client profile and your existing client data. Whether you use a numeric, alpha, or any other type of rank or grade, the rating system you choose is entirely up to you.

Here’s a very simple sample ranking:
0 – Cold Lead
1 – Newsletter Signup/Social Media Follower
2 – Expressed Interest in Buying/Selling
3 – Previous Client
4 – Fits Dream Client Profile

You can also create a ranking based off behavior:
0 – Have not heard from them in more than a year
1 – Signed up for newsletter
2 – Responded to email
3 – Called me and/or responded to phone call
4 – Met in person
5 – Recently worked with me

3. Update your contacts with your rating system

If you haven’t already imported your existing client information into your CRM, this is the time to do it. Most CRMs allow you to import a spreadsheet, which makes it convenient if you’ve been tracking your clients in Excel or another program that allows data to be exported to spreadsheet format. Ideally, your spreadsheet should include each client’s full name, email address, home address, and phone number. You can either add a column to the spreadsheet with client ratings before you import the list, or you can wait to assign ratings after the data has been imported by your CRM.

Once you’ve imported your contacts, remember to use ONLY your CRM to store client data from this point forward. Be sure to keep the database current by updating the CRM with new leads as they come in, assigning each one a rating as you enter them into the system. Keeping a clean and updated CRM will allow you to quickly identify your top clients, or dump leads that are wasting your energy. This will always keep your business up to date and pushing forward.

You’ll likely have to update each client’s rating manually to start, however, you may consider automating this process in the future. For example, if you want every person who signs up for your newsletter to be assigned the same status (such as “potential client”), you can use built-in CRM automation or other automation services such as Zapier.

4. Sort your clients by rating

This is where the fun really begins! Once your client data has been updated, use your CRM to sort by rating. This will give you a bird’s-eye view of where your leads stand and what you should do next. Regardless of their status, regular communication should always be your #1 priority. (Find out how a good communication strategy can help you retain 78% more clients in this post!)

How and when to reach out to leads will likely depend on their rating. For someone labeled a “high-quality lead,” you’ll want to make a phone call or extend an invitation to meet in person, whereas, for a “past client,” an email sent every few months should suffice as a reminder that you’re there when they’re ready to buy or sell again.

It’s no exaggeration when we say an updated and clean CRM is the #1 secret to growing your market and creating long-term relationships with the 20%’ers who will bring you the most business. Don’t waste the new year; now is the perfect time to take stock of your clients and use your CRM to crush it in 2020!


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