Re: Tracking prospects
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2018 08:10:51 -0800 (PST)
> Regarding tracking prospects, we have a comprehensive spreadsheet of anyone 
> who’s contacted us.

Sometimes the word “spreadsheet” frightens people. A spreadsheet is just a list 
with columns, like a table. There are rows, one for each person, and a column 
for each bit of information. The advantage of using a spreadsheet instead of a 
Word table or a written list is that data on a spreadsheet can be sorted and 
formulas can be used to do numerical calculations. 

This may seem like overkill but a year in, you will be glad you have it. Don’t 
expect the prospects to provide this information accurately or at all. Obtain 
it through conversation.

I’m working on a website for Bay State — they are one of the most organized and 
committed groups I’ve worked with. I recommend their list. The only thing I 
would add is that you might need more than one person to be buddies to new 
people. It’s helpful to match personalities — detail people with detail people, 
social with social. The difference is the kind of questions the prospect will 
ask. It’s frustrating to want financial details and get a response about how 
much fun potlucks are.

>  If someone comes to two meetings, or knows someone in the group and is 
> clearly serious, we designate them an “active prospective,” and assign them 
> an associate or equity member as a “buddy.”   The job of the buddy, from our 
> most recent meeting minutes, is
> ● Point person for questions
> ● Become an advocate for any special needs for that prospective (remote 
> access, Malden
> meetings, affordability, baby-sitting)
> ● Helping those with no concept of cohousing to get to square one, which can 
> be pointing
> people to websites or talking
> ● Judging how quickly or slowly people are likely to move and helping them at 
> that speed,
> also communicating that speed to the membership committee
> ● Helping people with their application (e.g. don’t sweat it, it’s 
> substantially there to help
> applicants think)
> ● Explaining timing: urgency, timeline for buying. But also, where we are in 
> the process for
> context (e.g. this is a busy time)
> ● A marketing role, to some extent: accelerating people toward an associate 
> application
> ● Just plain keeping track of people, making sure they don’t drift off
> ● Reporting back to the group if people decide to leave, and why. For that 
> matter, if they
> are going to the “back burner.”
> Hope that’s not more than you wanted to hear.
> Marcia Zuckerman
> Bay State Commons Cohousing, Malden, MA [in permitting process]

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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