Many agents still use Excel spreadsheets or a simple contact manager (like the one in Outlook or Gmail) to manage their database. They simply think of their database as a list of names and numbers. They are missing out on the power of automating the processes around developing and maintaining relationships with the people in their database.
What’s the difference between a CRM and Excel or a contact manager?
A CRM system isn’t just a list of names and contact information. It’s integrated with email, so that you can contact people directly from your CRM; a dashboard and calendar that tells you who to contact each day; and a tracking system that tells you where each person is in the sales cycle. CRM also lets you automate much of your marketing, including sending email drip campaigns.
Here are eight reasons why real estate agents should use CRM to manage their database:
1) CRM makes it easy to develop a “Daily Five” routine – Do you have a “Daily Five” routine? If not, you’re missing out on one of the most effective business growth hacks in the real estate playbook. Daily Five adds discipline to the process of contacting the people in your database. Simply call and check in with five people a day, for five minutes each, five days a week throughout the year. Each week, you’ll contact 25 people. Each day you’ll spend just 25 minutes talking to them. But by implementing your “Daily Five” religiously, by year’s end you’ll have made a whopping 1,250 calls! Assuming you have 300 names in your database, you’ll have spoken to all of them at least four times that year. And if even five percent of those calls result in a referral or business opportunity? You could be looking at 62 transaction sides in a year – think about the impact that could have on your business.
2) CRM helps you focus your follow-up efforts – According to Seattle-area real estate agent Michelle Hamshaw, “the most common reason for a referral to not turn into actual business is lack of follow up.” Referrals are the lifeblood of a thriving real estate practice; the challenge for many agents is figuring out with whom, when, and by what method to follow up. When you manage your real estate database with CRM, you’ll know as soon as you log in who is on your list, and whether to call, send an email, or touch base on social media.
3) CRM lets you automate your digital marketing – Gone are the days when real estate marketing was all about the postcards. Today, it’s about automated email and online lead generation. Whether you’re setting up a landing page to collect leads in exchange for your custom market reports, linking your listing postcards to online lead generation, or sending a monthly email newsletter to everyone in your database, CRM’s ability to drive your digital and offline marketing campaigns, and to make your marketing campaigns more trackable, makes it an important success tool for the modern agent.
4) CRM helps you stay in touch with past clients – It happens to everybody, eventually. You get so focused on today’s business, that you neglect what made you successful in the first place: your relationships with past clients. If you’re using CRM effectively, this won’t happen. Each time you close a transaction with a new client, or get a new lead, simply assign them to a follow-up plan that includes personal contact and automated marketing to ensure you stay top of mind.
5) CRM helps you develop stronger relationships – One of the most important aspects of developing strong relationships is being reliable. Yet when we get busy, it’s easy to let important calls and emails fall by the wayside. Your CRM provides accountability and tracking, so that when you tell a potential or past client you’ll call them on Monday, they’ll know they can trust you to call on Monday. It also helps you keep notes of previous conversations, so that every time you talk to a current or past client or prospect, you can always pick up right where you left off.
6) CRM lets you give, not just get referrals – Want to be the go-to person for referrals for all the people in your database? Well, it’s just as important to give as it is to get. Your CRM includes not just the names of all your past clients and current prospects – it’s also a handy database of all kinds of business owners and professionals. Got a client who needs a mortgage broker, carpet cleaner or pest control service? Tap into your CRM to get names and contact information. Send an email through your CRM to let the person you’re referring know to expect a call, and schedule a task in your CRM to follow up and see how things went.
7) CRM lets you use social media more productively – If you’re like most agents, you use social media to keep in touch with friends and family, but you might not be as effective at using it to help your business. Yet anecdotal evidence and studies show that younger generations prefer social media and text to being contacted by email or phone. By linking your social media accounts like LinkedIn and Twitter to your CRM, you can actually use social media to find reasons to keep in touch (birthdays, work anniversaries, interesting posts) with the growing number of past clients, prospects and other contacts who prefer social media. Keep track of your social media contacts in CRM, and you’ll be able to develop stronger relationships over time.
8) CRM can help you manage your sales – As your real estate practice gets busier, it gets more difficult to juggle all the activities that need to happen to bring your transactions to a successful settlement. Your CRM is a great place to keep track of all these tasks, from mortgage application deadlines to inspections and conditional commitments. Set a series of appointments for all important dates and milestones for clients and others involved in the transaction, so that you can provide automated follow-up reminders, encouragement, and referrals as needed.
There are so many ways that CRM can help you manage your database – in fact, it’s an important tool for managing your entire business. The key with getting the most out of CRM is to be disciplined about using it. Every time you speak with a contact, enter notes about what you discussed, and schedule your next contact. Every time you generate a lead, assign them to a follow-up plan. Over time, you’ll find that your relationships are stronger, your pipeline fuller, and your business growing faster than ever.