We need to deepen the thinking on what a CRM is and why it's is the most important software for real estate agents... It's important to our growth and and our lives.
Realvolve is a CRM. But that acronym can draw forth some misunderstanding. The last thing our industry needs is another address book, method to send mass email, or a task list. A good (and true) CRM has been elusive in Real Estate.
What I mean by ‘good’ is something that solves what is the biggest problem in our industry - the infrastructure for agents to build a strong and sustainable business. This goes beyond just thoughtful design and features, but a deep understanding of how (and more importantly, WHY) real estate agents work.
A CRM, is the single most important software an agent can have - it’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity. It's more important than their website, transaction management, lead generation and all the apps combined on their phones. An agent without a CRM is like a ship without a rudder.
Its an evolving repository of the foundation of your business - people and their lives.
Let's step back and think about the scaling of herding cats.
If I have one cat I can care for it myself. Maybe I could take care of 5 cats. But if I have 50 cats I'm going to need record keeping about the care of individual cats and a system to tell me what to do and when for each cat. If I have 500 cats and have others in addition to me to care for them, I need the general info, record keeping, care schedules set up to my principles and views into the care of all the cats. This way each time we get a new cat it is cared for based on everything we've learned and are doing fir the care of cats.
Agents don’t want or need more software. What they want/need is the help/support in building an actual business - so they have the time and space to live life (chasing tech, leads, fads, isn’t sustainable and is a sure road to burnout). To truly help agents requires innovation in infrastructure and behavior.
We (Realvolve) expanded our thinking on contact management databases when we were able to represent data differently, as crafted collections of information. We called these object oriented databases or repositories.
How we represent our customers and their activities in the housing market, their personal lives, and what we do for them is what we should be capturing in our CRM.
Our brains naturally link this information so that when we have an image of something -- eg the family cat -- we also have information about the cat, what the cat does for us and what we do for the cat.
But most people don't have brains that can expand to store and link this information about more than a few things in life. So we make checklists, keep files, and structure habits that make our little worlds progress with some semblance of order.
A CRM should be the place where we store records, in an organized fashion, about each client that can be used for both clarity and action.
A CRM is the place where we learn about who we most successfully work with. An individual agent might eke out a living, or even do very well, by taking all business as it comes. But when the organization can learn from the recording of the tasks and activities associated with doing business, then we can make intentional, conscious choices about everything we do.
A CRM should give us visibility into our collective efforts so that we can counsel and create a business of happy clients.
A CRM should:
(1) explicitly reflect the methodology -- best practices -- of how we do business
(2) enable the execution of tasks and activities in an organized fashion, which is nothing more than action-driven project management
(3) capture the information about the client and what we've done for them.
That's why we should think of a CRM as a repository -- it's the capturing of information to make it useful -- that extends it past a simple task manager.
Most real estate CRMs are nothing more than task managers, easily replaced by the next cool task manager to come along.
It's much deeper than that.