Public records databases are a part of skip tracing. For some, databases are all they rely on. For others, databases are just one tool in the toolbox.
No matter how you see it one thing is true, no database has everything. If one did, there wouldn’t be competition amongst data providers. Something else that’s true is this — new regulations and privacy concerns means the database information business is only going to become more fragmented.
What You Need Most
I’m always asked about the quality of our skip tracing database information. Here’s the 3 questions I’m asked the most:
- How good is your cell phone data?
- Do you have data no one else has?
- Can I compare your data to what I’m using now?
Customers ask these questions because they’re looking to switch to something better. They’re a bit like cats—always checking out the neighbors house, looking for better cat food. They’re chasing an idea that one database can give them everything. Or in other words, they’re looking for a product that doesn’t exist.
Every database has gaps. And, some people just can’t be found in a database. That’s just how it goes in skip tracing and finding people.
So instead of looking for the best database, a product that doesn’t exist, how about this? Find a database you hate the least.
The Myth of the Magic Button
Some think that somewhere on the internet is a database so good, that all they have to do is enter one search, click find, and everything they need to know about will appear. There is no magic button database. Stopping looking for it, don’t believe it if someone tells you they have it.
If there was a magic button, a whiz bang database where all you had to do was click a button and voila, there’s your subject or target, your client would have that database. And if they had it, eh, why would they need you?
Skip tracing takes work and finding people isn’t always easy, no matter what database you use. That’s why your clients need you.
Buy What You Search the Most
For most skip traces and find people searches the most important information to find is a current address and current phone number. That’s what BellesLink aims to do.
If you’re in real estate and property records are important to you, find a database that has the best phone numbers — realizing of course that there is no “best”. We’re a mobile society, VoIP numbers are becoming more popular. Be comfortable with the fact that maybe the best you’re going to do is 30%.
Find a database you hate the least. Build your skip tracing and finding around the key information that you need the most. Don’t waste your time combing through a sea of unnecessary data.
Whether you’re finding people or skip tracing, you need to get the difference between skip guessing and skip tracing. If all you do is look through databases, you’re what my friend Alex Price calls a skip guesser. If you get that the phone is still the best tool available, then Alex will let you call yourself a skip tracer.
Alex says it like this,
If all you do is search databases, you’re skip guessing — not skip tracing.”
Cats, Dogs and Data
I’m going to go out on a limb and speak for database providers. If they’re like me, they know that some customers are like cats and some are like dogs. Cats are always looking for better kibble somewhere else. Cat customers switch database providers, looking for that magic button database, a product that doesn’t exist. Dogs are loyal and wait until their bowl is full. Dog customers stick around, they help a data provider improve their service by giving them feedback. Guess which type of customers data providers prefer?
Good database providers invest in, and understand their customers’ business. They get that innovation is required to deliver a great product. But the trade is that they need customers to invest in them, too, by sticking around. Customers who are constantly switching, looking for a product that doesn’t exist, are cats. They make it really tough to understand and meet their database needs.
Finding a Database You Hate the Least Saves You Time
Skip tracers, and anyone doing find people searches, need public record databases. But constantly looking around, or relying on databases too much, though, adds up to wasted time by skip guessing — instead of saving time by skip tracing.
Anyone in the business of finding people needs to let go of the magic button myth. They need to stop looking for a product that doesn’t exist. They need to be skip tracers, not skip guessers. They need to find a database they hate the least and stick with it.
So find a database you hate the least. And make sure your database provider here’s you bark.