Yes, we are all in databases, likely hundreds of them. Every single time we call an organization, buy something or ask a vendor a question, we go in a database. Companies and salespeople do not set up costly structures, go through licensing and training, and spend money on products and services, in the hopes that you will call, and call again, and remember to call in the future. Quite frankly, humans do not remember, we forget. We cannot remember all our favorite service providers and products. We need to be reminded. This is why Facebook exists, it is a convenient database of our friends, and reminds us of birthdays, to check in with friends far and wide, it automatically shows us news on friends lives, and forces us to stay in touch with more people than we ever could without it. Sales is no different. Salespeople organize clients and potential clients in a database. Why does this matter to you?
If we had good memories and were more organized, sales would be a completely different experience in my opinion. Consumers call salespeople for information, and may or may not get back to them to buy the product or service discussed. So salespeople and companies will make sure to keep as much of your information in a database as possible. That way they can follow up and try and earn some revenue from all of the expenses they have incurred to get you to call in the first place. If consumers always followed back up with service providers, they would not get called, spammed and advertised nearly as much as we all do now.
So now we know when you speak to a salesperson you are likely going into a database. But this is a good thing if they use the data for good instead of evil. What do I mean? My database does the below:
1. I use my database to tell people when they can refinance and save money after doing a purchase loan for them.
2. I use my database to tell people when they can drop their PMI in the future after closing their loan.
3. My client database is secure. My password is 24 characters made up of numbers, symbols; lower case letters and upper case letters. I also use encryption technology, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol, firewalls, and password protect sensitive documents that I may email you. Do others do all this? A mortgage firm I used to work for that kept a database for all of their loan officers (except for me, I used my own) used the word ‘password’ as their password to secure their database of tens of thousands of clients and their sensitive data. And they routinely sent documents with clients social security numbers via email with no password protection. I kid you not.
4. I use “Safe Unsubscribe” to allow people to opt out of marketing e-mailers.
5. I retain important documents for you. I have had clients ask me for a copy of their appraisal or settlement sheet years after a loan, for tax purposes, and I always have what they need.
6. I delete all personal documents after settlement, such as tax returns, bank statements, etc.
As spammy as this database stuff may sound, it happens. Period. People are putting you in databases all the time. So at least make sure you deal with someone that treats your data securely, uses it to help you, and gives you opt outs. After all a mortgage lender will have social security numbers, bank account numbers, credit card account numbers, and other sensitive data. Ask your next lender how they protect your data in their database, how they intend to use it in the future, and if they allow you to opt out. I’d be surprised if they even know the answers.