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Contact Types are a powerful tool for helping to organize all of the contacts in your database. Think of a contact type like a category, label, or group that you assign to your contacts to help classify them in a meaningful way. You can create your own contact types and apply them to as many contacts as you like. You can also apply multiple contact types to the same contact! Using Top Producer’s search features you can quickly retrieve a list of all contacts that belong to a specific contact type, or contacts that belong to several different contact types. 

Creating a New Contact Type

You can create a new contact type when adding a new contact (in the Contacts Menu, click Add Contact), or when editing an existing Contact (open a contact, select the Contact Details tab, then click the area next to contact type).

  1. Under the Name Details section, next to Contact Type, click Select from / Modify List.
  2. Contact Type Picklist

  3. This opens the current list of available contact types. At the bottom right, click the Add link.
  4. Type the name of of your new contact type into the field, then click Save.

    Add Contact Type

  5. Your new contact type will now be available in the list.

When viewing the list of contact types, you can also delete a contact type by clicking the Delete icon Delete Icon, or edit an existing contact type by clicking the Edit icon Edit Icon.

Note: If you choose to edit an existing contact type (change its name) within this list, it will not affect the contact types already applied to your contacts. Any applied contact types are maintained separately from this list and will remain unchanged. To edit applied contact types, instead use the Mass Update feature.

Applying a Contact Type to a Contact

You can apply contact types as you add a new contact to your database, or apply contact types to any existing Contact Record.

When Adding a Contact:

  1. In the Contacts menu, click Add Contact.
  2. Under the Name Details section, next to Contact Type, click Select from / Modify List.
  3. In the list, place a check next to each Contact Type you’d like to apply to this contact.
  4. Click Done.
  5. Use the other available fields to enter in as much contact information as you have, then click Add Contact.

When Editing an Existing Contact Record:

  1. Open the existing Contact Record.
  2. Select the Contact Details tab, then click next to the Contact Type field to switch to edit mode.
  3. Under the Name Details section, next to Contact Type, click Select from / Modify List.
  4. In the list, place a check next to each contact type you’d like to apply.
  5. Click Done.
  6. At the bottom, click Save Contact Details.

Contact Type Organization

It is very important that you give careful thought to planning the contact types you want to use. Remember that how you structure your contact types (and how consistently you apply them to contacts) will determine how easy it is access these groups of contacts when performing searches. The level of detail in which you can refine your contact searches will also determine how easy it will be to target groups of contacts for a specific type of marketing mail-outs. Ultimately, you will be the best informed as to how to organize your contact types based on how you do business. To help illustrate some ideas about various uses of contacts types, below is an example using two hypothetical similar contacts:

  • John is a new client. He is looking to sell his existing home and buy a new home. He is also starting to invest in the market and will likely be looking to buy investment properties in the future.
  • Jane is a past client. She owns a home but is not looking to sell. She is an active investor and will likely be looking to buy and sell investment properties in the future.

Click the options below to see examples of how these types of contacts could be organized with contact types.

Option 1 – Poor

Available Contact Types Applied to John Applied to Jane
  • Buyer
  • Seller
  • Buyer
  • Seller
  • Buyer
  • Seller

Using this option, both John and Jane would be assigned both the “Buyer” and “Seller” contact types. When performing a search, there would be no easy way to isolate contacts that are an investor, who is a Past/New Client, or separate the Investor Buyer/Sellers from the non-investor Buyer/Sellers. Using only these two contact types in your database does not provide enough detail to effectively categorize your contacts.

Option 2 – Better

Available Contact Types Applied to John Applied to Jane
  • Buyer
  • Seller
  • Investor
  • Past Client
  • Buyer
  • Seller
  • Investor
  • Buyer
  • Seller
  • Investor
  • Past Client

The additional “Investor” and “Past Client” types allows you to include or exclude those types when performing a search. Notice that it is not necessary to have a “New Client” contact type for John, since anyone that is new simply does not have the “Past Client” type applied to them. In this example, since both John and Jane have Buyer, Seller, and Investor types, there is no easy way to differentiate between investor buyer/sellers and non-investor buyer/sellers when performing a search.

Option 3 – Good

Available Contact Types Applied to John Applied to Jane
  • Buyer
  • Buyer – Investor
  • Seller
  • Seller – Investor
  • Past Client
  • Buyer
  • Buyer – Investor
  • Seller
  • Buyer – Investor
  • Seller – Investor
  • Past Client

In this example, “Buyer” identifies a typical Buyer, while “Buyer – Investor” identifies someone looking to purchase for investment purposes. A similar division is created for Sellers. In this example, you can perform searches that will isolate each type of contact in your database. For example, performing a search for both “Buyer – Investor” and “Seller – Investor” will return a list of contacts that are Investors and exclude the non-investor contacts. 

Important Information about Contact Types

While creating, applying, and searching for contact types is easy, there are several very important points that you should remember:

  • Consistently apply all of the appropriate contact types to each and every contact you have in your database. Forgetting to apply a contact type means that those contacts will not appear in the search results when searching by that type, and you will likely miss opportunities to include them in marketing mailouts.
  • Remember to update the contact types applied to a contact should their situation change. For instance, once you have completed a transaction for a new client be sure to add the “Past Client” contact type to their record.
  • Contact types are Case Sensitive and Character Specific. That means creating and using a contact type of “Past Client”, then creating and using a second contact type of “past client” will result in two separate contact types (groups) in your database that are meant to represent the same thing. Similarly, “Past Client” is different than “Past-Client”.
  • The list of contact types (viewable after clicking Select from / Modify List), is simply a list of contact types that are available to be used. This list is maintained separately from the contact types that have actually been applied to contacts in your database. This means that it is possible to have types in the list that have not been used, and it is possible that contacts types are still in use that you have deleted from the list. When performing a search, the contact types that appear in the search choices represent those that have been applied to contacts.

Additional Resources

Below is a list of useful resources related to using contact types and the information discussed in this article.