Every real estate organization has seen a Marc Roberts.
Not in a literal sense, that would be weird. I mean that every team has a highly motivated, energetic individual with endless potential and exceptional people skills. Great teams are full of people who match this description. But to me, Marc Roberts is a cautionary tale about the need for organization skills to match such traits.
I knew Marc in college. We graduated together and got into the real estate industry around the same time – the economic downturn of 2008.
Yes, as you can imagine times were hard to start. While we strove to overcome the grim reality of the housing market, we had to get creative with our efforts. We began marketing in new ways, expanding our networks with diligence, and taking on larger workloads.
While Marc got an “A” for charm and for effort, his organizational skills were lacking. As his rolodex expanded and responsibilities mounted, maintaining his connections grew more difficult. He began to forget meetings, lapse in his communication with the home office, and overlook key customer information.
The stress of trying to close deals, combined with the new and increased workload, was too much. The next time I ran into Marc, it was 2010. He’d given up real estate out of frustration – just as the economy was pulling through.
Why tell you about Marc Roberts?
Because he perfectly illustrates why a real estate CRM is more relevant than ever. With access to the boundless capacity of customer relationship software, my old buddy would likely be a top broker (and top earner) for whichever company was lucky enough to call him an employee.
Today we’re going to cover the five crucial ways to put your real estate CRM to work for you and your real estate team. I’m not saying that there’s a Marc Roberts in your midst right now, only that organization doesn’t come standard. And missed opportunities are costly.
Whether you use a CRM or not, we all benefit from a helping hand when it comes to reaching more people, improving team collaboration, and maximizing every lead.
What is a Real Estate CRM?
Customer relationship management, known as CRM, refers to software technology that helps companies track, manage, and analyze interactions with their contacts. Whether prospective or current customers, CRM allows users to compile information across all communication and marketing channels in order to gain insights and better perform their business. For example, real estate agents can track their prospects, leads, properties, comps and more.
As early as 1995, CRMs were improving customer relations and company organization. Beyond streamlining communications and tracking leads, customer relationship management is a strategy used by leading firms for developing stronger relationships with their incoming and best customers.
Nucleus Research reports that CRM software application deliver high an average ROI of $8.71 per dollar spent. How can we understand this? When workflows become more efficient and customer relations become more effective, ROI increases. As datasets grow in size, the internet of things expands, and new communication channels (social media, anyone?) evolves, we can expect the ROI for CRM to increase as well.
Now, here’s the 5 ways to max out that ROI.
#1 Continuously Add to Your Sales Funnel
As you can imagine, a CRM excels at managing existing contacts and keeping track of day-to-day activity agents needs to close deals.
But what about bringing in new business?
Well-managed CRM databases are indispensable for bringing in a steady stream of prospects. In the words of Ercan Ersan from Ray White Realty:
“My database is the single most important tool I have for prospecting and looking after my clients. In terms of my commissions earned, 80% were through my database.”
Managing existing relations is only half the process, as adding prospects to the top of the sales funnel is essential for business success. Whenever you can input new contacts into your database, take the opportunity. Ercan reveals that open houses as his favorite place to meet and add to his list of prospective buyers:
“It always starts with the open homes. As soon as I meet someone who is an owner or potential seller, I’ll add them to my database.
I then update them regularly with new listings in their area, and also sales results — as they happen — to keep them informed of what their home may be worth.”
It’s important to remember: only add qualified prospects to your database. Unqualified leads are a dead weight in your system and will dilute your marketing efforts, wasting valuable time later.
#2 Segment Your Leads
In the real estate industry, we develop interpersonal relations with customers.
How we interact with customers throughout their buyer’s journey makes all the difference in the quality and outcome of the relationship. Because prospects arrive through varied channels – such as referrals, social media platforms, direct mail, cold calling, and spheres of influence – it’s key to segment your customers.
So you can communicate them via their preferred channel in a language they respond to. Because communication capabilities are increased, segmented customer lists translate into better targeting and more effective marketing messaging.
Managing and sending such diverse lead information without a CRM is a nightmare. But a cloud-based database can be updated from any mobile device allows brokers to input prospect and customer information on the fly and access it from anywhere, anytime.
Brokers may segment contacts in their database according to select criteria, browse through centrally managed listings, create, publish, and syndicate listings, and automate activities such as email outreach, meeting follow-ups, and events.
For example, say you’re hosting an open house for a ranch home in the low 500,000s. It only makes sense to invite the leads you have within a certain geographic area, age range, financial range, and who’ve shown interest in ranch style homes. Every other lead who receives a message from you about such an open house will annoyed. If you’re reaching them through email and this happens enough, they may even unsubscribe from your emails.
How to segment your leads? Aside from basic demographic information, try this:
- Buyers — These people are in the market and doing research, but haven’t found the right property yet and haven’t made it to a buying position yet.
- ‘A’ Buyers — These people are currently making offers, going to auctions, and taking out contracts.
- Owners — Home owners who could benefit from future services as clients. May be able to refer customers if solicited.
- Sellers — Home owners who intend to make a move and sell property within a designated window, say the next three months.
#3 Pinpoint Lead Sources
If you’ve worked in the real estate industry for awhile, you know that leads come from various sources. Some arrive via Facebook, others from word of mouth, and some are attracted by print advertising. Heck, some are walk-ins. My point is, you talk to leads differently depending upon the lead source.
Use your real estate CRM to track the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Of course, certain channels will perform better. Having everything documented in one place and accessible to brokers makes data input and tracking easy. All you need to do is pop into the reports section and see which efforts are performing best.
Once you’ve pinpointed your best marketing channels, you can invest more heavily in those mediums while refining your overall marketing strategy. This is how you maximize marketing efforts and get the best ROI from your CRM.
#4 Personalize Your Marketing Messaging
This chart displays the most successful social media channels for capturing leads, as researched by ReThink.
These days, consumers expect to be treated as unique and individual.
AgilOne Marketing reports that 79% of customers expect a personalized buying experience. And what could be more personal than buying a home? In real estate especially, companies are finding that communications that create one-of-a-kind relations with prospects net more purchases.
For example, everyone loves to see their own name, right? Use your real estate CRM system to send automated emails with subject lines and body copy that greets leads by their first name. Readers prioritize marketing messages that give them a boost from seeing their name print.
You can get even more creative by using demographic information to reach the right customers at the right time. Selling to those urban 30 somethings – the millennials? Bring these customers into your sphere of influence with social media. Share neighborhoods features, such as you grabbing a latte at that awesome coffee shop nearby, or you in the beautiful park around the corner. These posts will create interest and relevance for younger buyers. Try aggregating such content via email newsletters that link to your Instagram, a Facebook page, or Twitter.
Blasting a single message out doesn’t work anymore. Marketing today is about more personalized, one-to-one relationships with your chosen audience. CRMs allow you to segment your customers and then perfect a personalized language for pinpoint targeting.
#5 Enhance Productivity
Your real estate company’s revenues depend upon sales, sure, but also upon the work that leads to closing a deal. Productivity – how effectively and efficiently this work is completed – hinges upon proper planning. This is where Marc Roberts fell short. And with mobile usership up, the need for on-the-go productivity is higher than ever.
“Realtors spent 44% of their time corresponding with and doing work for their clients on mobile.”
—Chris Smith, Curaytor.com
A good real estate CRM helps you manage company time by planning for days, weeks, months and years to come. It’s the ultimate planning and coordinating tool. Cloud-based software makes it easy for team members to input and store customer information from anywhere, collaborate together, and stay on track with all responsibilities.
Yearly — Schedule in employee vacation time, potential dates for client parties or other events you’ve planned.
Monthly — Input personal and business commitments such as events and activities.
- Transactions expected to close this month
- Seminars, vacations, open houses
- Goals to meet
- Seasonal gifts
Weekly — Structure around essential activities, coordinate the calls you need to make, and get into the nitty gritty such as:
- Check in with ‘A’ buyers at least twice a week
- Creating more brochures
- Creating, publishing, syndicating listings
- Review reports
- Check in on marketing efforts
Daily — Prioritize tasks and begin with what’s most important.
- Signatures to get
- Emails to send
- Calls to make
- Properties to show
Ultimately, having your brokers on the same page every calendar day means a more efficient office staff and more effective sales team. As a paperless solution, a real estate CRM increases your ability to get and keep documents, signatures, and share materials between teammates.
Third-party apps and plugins are easily integrated as well, so you can automate emails, capture phone calls, complete online mapping, and utilize leading marketing software with ease. Expect your task completion time to decrease and tasks completed to increase as everyone knows what’s required of them.
Closing the Deal
If you’ve reached this point, you’ll never suffer the disorganized fate of Marc Roberts.
When starting out with a real estate CRM, you’re looking to close more deals, to reach more prospects, and to improve company workflows. Naturally, it takes time to get used to having these capabilities within reach. And organization is only the tip of the iceberg.
First off, you’ve noticed that being able to centrally manage your listings is powerful, both for lead management and team productivity. But delving deeper into your CRM, you find that marketing will become more streamlined, reports are available to review your efforts, documents are more easily managed, and processes generally become easier. Faster too.
Until next time, onwards and upwards!