Tucson By Choice!: Fail Safe Followup System for Rainers: Simple, Sound, Safe... and Dirt Cheap!

Fail Safe Followup System for Rainers: Simple, Sound, Safe... and Dirt Cheap!

 It's simple.  You can teach it to the rawest recruit in your office. 

It's sound.  Nothing will fall through the cracks.

It's safe.  You'll never lose data unless the building burns down around you.

And (near and dear to MY heart) it's dirt cheap!

Last week's post Networking Heritage? Her Mom Was a Realtor (about super networker Lori Riegel) had a teaser:

Lori has a simple (and simply the most effective) two-book system for tracking her business contacts.  I'll share that with you in another post later this week.  (The system was a gift to Lori from Lois, her predecessor as Marketing Consultant at the Arizona Jewish Post.)

Here's the system.  It's so easy.  One, Two, Three!

 1.  Buy two inexpensive planners, Big Red and Little Black. 

Big Red is a Week at a Glance; Little Black has a two-page spread
for each day.

2.  Big Red holds a written record of

  • Appointments scheduled
  • Things to do
  • Phone calls to make

3.  Little Black is a daily log of

  • Appointments held today
  • Calls made today

The system has a set of simple rules.

  • Always keep the two books together
  • Use the "trusted bucket" concept. No little post-it notes,
    scraps of paper, etc.
  • When a Big Red item is complete, scratch a line through it.  It's done.
  • 2 X per week:  Go through Big Red.  If a call hasn't been made, schedule it forward, and put a line through it.  Ditto "to do's." 

Lori maintains electronic records--she uses a Palm Pilot and synchronizes it
with her desktop computer.  Nothing goes in the Palm Pilot first, though.  It's for backup and quick reference.

EDIT:  See Lori's comment below. The Palm Pilot gets the appointments.  MJ

The best things in life are simple and easy.  And cheap!  LOL

Mike in Tucson

Mike Jones (Tucson Mortgage Company, LLC): Loan Officer in Tucson, Pima County, Arizona

Comment balloon 31 commentsMike Jones • November 27 2007 06:56AM


Thanks for the post you are so right !!!
Posted by Charlie Ragonesi, Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros (AllMountainRealty.com) over 12 years ago
I love that system... I carry a notebook with me everywhere and do the "cross off" when I've completed an item.  Never thought about 2 different ones though, great idea!
Posted by Kris Wales, Real Estate Blog & Homes for Sale search site, Macomb County MI (Keller Williams Realty - Lakeside Market Center) over 12 years ago

I'd add two other items to the Big Red list:

Listing expiration dates and escrow closing dates.

I find it's really helpful to have the visual representation of just how close a target date is, especially an escrow closing date, so I can make sure to get all the things done that need to get done prior to closing  ... on time.

Posted by Cheryl Johnson over 12 years ago

I'm wondering how she always keeps the books together. Wouldn't she need to take something with her when she is out of the office?  Does she carry the little black book for scheduling appointments or writing notes when she is out.

I use a Yellow Pad on my desk.  It contains my to do's and notes from conversations during the day. Anything I write down, goes on the pad.  Next, I use outlook to record my appointments and to do's.  Since it syncs with my phone I always have Outlook with me.  I can see all of my schedule whereever I am.

Thanks for sharing this plan.  It is simple and quite workable.

Posted by Dan Forbes over 12 years ago
Mike, this is a great system. I don't see how anything could be overlooked with this. Thanks for sharing...you're always so giving!
Posted by Linda Scanlan (A Fan of AR) over 12 years ago


I do this but in my calendar on my computer.....works the same....I lose notebooks.......

Posted by Julie Chapman, New Homes Sales Ormond, New Smyrna, Daytona Be (DR Horton ) over 12 years ago
Excellent Idea!  I think I am going to use this next year since I know I have let a few leads fall through the cracks because of organization!  I know I need to improve on that a little more in 2008!
Posted by Mike Klijanowicz, Associate Broker @ Cummings & Co. Realtors (Cummings & Co. Realtors) over 12 years ago
Great idea. I use notebooks too. I can always carry it with me .
Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 12 years ago
great idea. i love ar because i am getting so many useful tools for my business. thanks, trevor
Posted by Trevor Ainsworth (Shoreline Homes Group at Randall Realtors of Watch Hill) over 12 years ago

Interesting idea, but I don't know if I want to keep up with 2 different planners. It does sound like it might work.

Posted by Al Maxwell, Real Estate Agent (Keller Williams) over 12 years ago

A short pencil is better than a long memory. Or in this case a dry ink pen is better than a full computer memory. Good tried and true method.

Bonner -  Real Estate WorkHosre

Posted by Bonner Thomason, CRS, ABR, GRI, e-Pro (Keller Williams Realty) over 12 years ago
Sounds sort of like mine - I have everything on my desktop, which gets synced to my Blackberry and Laptop.  Then I have a pad of yellow lined paper.  I smoked too much you know what in the '60s to rely on my memory.
Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 12 years ago

P S Yes the "trusted bucket" concept is an absolute must.  ALL scribble notes must go on a yellow pad or a spiral notebook.  Little separate scraps of paper do have a habit of disappearing.

Posted by Cheryl Johnson over 12 years ago
Mike, More sound advise. Thank you. I may give this system a try. It sounds so simple.
Posted by Mark Horan, "The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC & (Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC) over 12 years ago
Mike, my purse and briefcase is filled with little pieces of paper and business cards with notes, etc.  I'm one of those that needs to get organized and doesn't take the time.  Thanks for giving me some hope!  I'll give it a try
Posted by Peggy K., Illinois Virtual Tour Provider and Real Estate Photographer (Grand Property Virtual Tours) over 12 years ago
Mike- I use a polka dotted and a pastel striped ones, black and red , too boring. I also add ideas for posts in one of them! Katerina
Posted by Katerina Gasset, Get It Done For Me Virtual Services (Get It Done For Me Virtual Services ) over 12 years ago
Amen Mike!  This seems like an easy concept... this way, you'll have the info everywhere!  Everyone needs a fail safe!
Posted by Martinelli Caputi, & Associates, Ltd. (Martinelli Caputi & Associates, Ltd.) over 12 years ago

Thank you for the great responses!  A few things to add to the system:

I put appointments in my Palm Pilot, not the two books.

Go through your daily log of what you've done and write your follow-ups into the big book (i.e. left a message for Mike Jones, then I would write his name in a few days forward in the big book, so if I haven't heard back from him I will be prompted to call him again.

 Lori Riegel  Arizona Jewish Post  "Bringing the Jew to You"

Posted by Lori Riegel over 12 years ago
great idea - I use my computer and PDA for the same job -
Posted by Billnulls Blog Florida Realty Professional, AHWD (Charles Rutenberg Realty) over 12 years ago
whaddya mean, no post-its?? I don't know what's worse, my AR addiction or post-it note addiction.  All kidding aside, Lori sounds incredibly organized, great tips.
Posted by Lisa Ryan, Selling Princeton,West Windsor and Montgomery Town (Callaway Henderson Sotheby's International Realty) over 12 years ago
Well...I'm off to Staples!
Posted by Joan Mirantz, Realtor, GRI, CBR, SRES - Concord New Hampshire (Homequest Real Estate) over 12 years ago

Hi, Joan!  I'm so far behind the curve answering comments tonight!  But it was a profitable day; I funded a loan for one of my REALTORS, and we're both happy.

Lisa:  Nope!  No Post-its!

So is that Bill who is organized, or Barbara Jo?  LOL

Lori:  Thanks for setting me straight.  Join Active Rain!

Rich:  Hallelujah!

Polka Dot Katerina:  Take a photo, size it down, and edit it into your comment!  We want to see it.

Peggy:  There's always hope.  Our BNI breakfast group has Pam the Clutter Buster as a member.  If Lori can't help you, Pam can!

Resident Mark:  Thanks for commenting!

Cheryl:  Thanks for the P.S. and it's predecessor!  LOL  I appreciate your comments.

Pat: Thank God we don't have to rely on our memories.  What's that about the shortest pencil?

Bonner:  There it is!  A short pencil is better than a long memory!  Thanks for commenting.  Come back any time!

Al:  You'll never know until you try.

Trevor:  This is a great place, isn't it!

Gita:  Thanks for stopping by; it's always good to see you.

Michael:  If you do it for a week, come back and comment again.  Thanks for showing up!

Julie:  I've lost a computer!  (It wasn't a desktop, but it did grow feet!)

Linda: You're welcome!  It's easy with AR

Dan:  She's a woman.  She carries them in a shoulder bag.  Or purse, or something.  Lori, tell us what it is.

Cheryl:  Thanks for the two add-ons!

Kris:  Thanks for commenting.

Charlie:  Yup!

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) over 12 years ago
And give up my 5 different note pads of varying sizes, some with lines, some without, old scraps of paper and my sacred post-it notes?  I don't think so.
Posted by Fran Gatti, Managing Principal Broker - RE/MAX Integrity (RE/MAX Integrity) over 12 years ago

LOL, Fran!

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) over 12 years ago

Mike, this almost sounds TOO easy!  I may just give it a try when doing my planning for 2008!  Thanks!

Posted by Mary Warren over 12 years ago

Give it a shot, Mary!  It works flawlessly for Lori.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) over 12 years ago

Great advice Mike, I actually have two planners also, but I don't keep them together.

I have one in my office and one in my car or my portfolio (same one). I tend to put things down sometimes and not remember to pick them up.  Having one of each in two places I spend the most time insures that I will always know I can glance at one where ever I may be without having to run around looking for it. I also have two wall calendars that I jot notes on for family stuff as well as little reminders to check my "books".

Thanks for a good informative post Mike.

Posted by Karen Otto, Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes (Home Star Staging) over 12 years ago

Karen, thanks for visiting and commenting on the post.  It sounds like you're organized.  I'm not.  I need to become more like you and Lori!  LOL

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) over 12 years ago
Ok, ok...  I'm going to gather up all the pieces of paper, stickies, Palm, cards, receipts, gum wrappers, envelopes and anything else I have written on and organize it!!
Posted by Josette Skilling (Keller Williams Capital Properties) over 12 years ago

LOL, Josette!  The concept is "one trusted bucket."  Thanks for commenting!

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) over 12 years ago


Thanks for taking the time to comment; I use Oprius, and I love it!  I left you a message on your phone, and I hope it's you, 'cause the number didn't identify you.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) about 11 years ago

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