Editor's Note: This piece is an update of a post written in 2016 by Kendyl Young. You can find the original post, filled with best-practices on how a real estate CRM can improve your business, here.
Many agents and brokers continue to try to run their real estate business without a client relationship management (CRM) tool or database to manage their contacts and relationships.
Outlook, Excel, a spreadsheet, a Word document, and even paper notepads are not CRM systems. And although I am a big fan of sticky notes, they still aren't going to cut it when it comes to managing your leads and prospects. You need a legitimate database that’s there to manage your contacts and improve your relationships when you're out and about. Let’s look at five reasons why a real estate CRM is needed for your business.
1) Better Lead Management
The real estate market is being changed by technology. As recently as five years ago, a potential buyer who wanted to look at homes for sale was likely to rely on a listings book, drive around the neighborhood searching for “For Sale” signs, call an agent, or pick up a newspaper to see available listings. Today, that same potential buyer is far more likely to begin his search online... potentially looking at YOUR website. 90% of home buyers look for properties online when they’re beginning their home search, and they're probably landing on one of your listings and filling out a lead form for you to follow up.
So, how are you managing these "inbound leads?"
If you’re generating leads online (or in any sort of high-volume capacity) and you don’t have a CRM, it will be nearly impossible to manage all of your new inbound contacts, tasks, listings, transactions, and money. Without a CRM, you’re bound to miss some steps and, subsequently, miss out on opportunities to connect with potential clients.
2) Better Data For A Pulse On Your Relationships
The good news about generating inbound leads is that it can help you attract high volumes of potential buyers and sellers. The challenge then becomes: how do you separate the good, quality prospects from the people who are just starting to look around for decorating ideas or tips on how to stage their home? That’s where lead management, and specifically, better data about your contact sources comes in. With a CRM, particularly one like Realvolve, the software can keep a pulse on your relationships...telling you when you're losing touch or when it's time to ask for a referral.
Realvolve analyzes all sorts of things about your contacts. It can tell you which relationships need love and which are growing stronger. In addition, this smart CRM uses specific data that can tell you how many potential deals are in your database and how much money could be made...nothing a paper-based system could ever do!
A good CRM will guide you in nurturing your contacts so you can deepen relationships, measure the quality of your database, and predict revenue.
3) Automation Beyond Email
A solid real estate CRM software platform will actually help you beyond sending email messages and listing updates.
As you know, context is important when fostering any sort of relationship. But let’s be honest, you get busy and the idea of following up and the “who do I send an email to?” and “what calls do I need to make...and is this the first or second call?” and “what flyers need to go out tomorrow?” gets exhausting just thinking about it. It makes you consider hiring an assistant.
The more of these things you have to remember, the less of it you will actually accomplish.
The best CRMs provide automation that allows real estate agents to focus on what's most important—that is, nurturing prospects with highly personalized contact points to convert prospects into clients, and clients into delighted referrals. This type of automation (that which goes beyond email) typically generates significant new revenue for agencies and provides an excellent return on the investment required. Automating your tasks or repetitive actions will keep you top of mind with the people you want to serve.
4) Consistency = Simplicity
In the real estate industry today, one of the challenges that comes up often is getting prospects to answer the phone and respond to communications. The biggest mistake that agents and brokers make is assuming that your prospects and clients see your texts, read your emails, listen to your voicemails, and keep a rolling tally in their heads each time you reach out. Everyone is busy, just like you.
A CRM with pre-built templates (scripts) that helps you reach out on a consistent basis will create simplicity for your business and build better communication between you and your prospective buyers or sellers. Don't struggle with trying to recreate something...your CRM should be able to create consistency in your day!
5) Ability To Scale With Referrals
You're reaching a plateau with your real estate business and it's time to scale. One of the best ways to set this course of action is to have a rock-solid CRM or database of clients to call upon. After all, most agents will tell you that 95% of their business comes from past clients or referrals.
But if these contacts are on paper (or on a sticky note attached to your computer), you have no foundation to scale.
A CRM allows you to connect with your clients on a deeper level. Long after you've helped your clients find and sell their homes, your CRM will assist you in continuing to nurture those relationships. Better yet, your CRM will enable YOU to identify those promoters who are more likely to give you referrals, so you can start to scale your business in the most efficient way possible.
So, why should you invest in a real estate CRM? Because life is more complicated, you are connected to more people, and the industry is no longer part-time or transitional. Professional people need professional tools. Professionals don't need a better form of old tools. They need a digital assistant.
How are you using your real estate CRM? What other reasons might you have to use one for your business? If you’d like to share, please comment below!