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How to Balance CRM Data with your Natural Gut Instincts

Humans have followed our gut instincts for as long as we have existed. Intuition is a key survival mechanism. According to Melody Wilding, a professor of human behavior, what we call our “gut” is really the collection of all our subconscious experiences. We may not be aware of all the insights that our gut holds, but that doesn’t mean it is not a powerful ally that deserves to be listened to.

One byproduct of the digital age is that our gut instincts seem to waste away from disuse. We rely on Google Maps to get us where we need to go, Tinder to tell us who to date, and Yelp to decide where to eat. Following our intuition has been replaced by data-driven suggestions.

While data can help us make better decisions and be more efficient, it can be a mistake to rely on data alone. Whether you are considering what movie to watch or how to best approach a potential customer in business, balancing data with natural gut instincts will yield the best results.


Go With Your Gut

Just as an algorithm processes data to yield insights, so do our brains process the things we have learned throughout our lives to yield insight into what to do. In fact, our gut instincts are actually faster and smarter decision makers than our logical minds. Intuitive decision-making can be effective up to 90 percent of the time.

“A number of recent scientific studies show that in business, the inner voice working in concert with cold, hard information could lead to better decision making,” said Lydia Dishman, in an article analyzing the neuroscience of gut instincts in Fast Company.

This is a finding that many successful business leaders have found and adopted in their own work. According to a Fortune Knowledge Group study, 62 percent of business executives rely on gut instincts for key decision making. Earlier this year, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said, “We start with the data,” Hastings said. “But the final call is always gut. It’s informed intuition.” And in his book Losing My Virginity, Virgin founder and business guru Richard Branson wrote, “I rely far more on gut instinct than researching huge amounts of statistics.”

The salient point that all this research and these successful leaders make is the need to combine data with gut instincts. Real estate is a prime example of how these two approaches to decision-making work better together.


There is no doubt that lead data is an essential part of the real estate business today. Agents need an efficient, scalable way to find, assess and validate leads. For leads that are in their pipeline, agents need data to enrich those opportunities so they can understand who the client is and what they are looking for. This enables agents to deliver the best possible service, and ultimately, close more deals.

CRM systems and data are invaluable for all those functions. They enable agents to identify likely prospects, track their activities, and build relationships based on that information. Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) technology take this a step further by helping agents predict what a lead wants and be proactive. For example, a customer may say they are looking for a three bedroom home but have search behavior that indicates they are really interested in four bedrooms. AI can bring insights like this to light.

Furthermore, AI can help agents be smarter about their communication, to send the right message to the right client at the right time. Real estate professionals can’t be mind readers, but analytics can automate communication so that it will have the desired impact. CRMs can smartly integrate and communicate your message, which can be jumpstarted with drip campaigns.

By bringing relevant information to light and automating communication, real estate professionals have more room to follow their instincts. Leveraging technology tools adds value to businesses by eliminating manual, time-consuming processes. That extra time and space allows agents to more easily follow their gut instincts about a prospect. And mental space is a key part of following your gut.

“You have to create space to listen to what your gut is saying,” Wilding said.

Take that family looking for a three bedroom home. CRM data may let you know they actually want a four bedroom, but it is intuition, and only intuition, that will reveal why they said one thing and meant another, as well as how to best address that discrepancy and find a home that is right for them.

Without having a brain clogged with mundane tasks and plagued with the need to make minute decisions, agents will be able to let their best selves get to work. Their gut instinct will have the space it needs to shine.

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Todd Hagelin has seven years of real estate experience and is a firm believer in representing his clients with their best interests in mind, which includes advocating for lead generation strategies that maximize market penetration and drive ROI. In his spare time, he geeks out about exotic sports cars.