Should You Invest in a Real Estate CRM?
Jacqueline Kyo Thomas
As a new real estate agent, you need all of the support and advantages you can get. After all, you’re competing with established real estate agents who already have a network of contacts to draw from. To get on equal footing, you need to use a special software known as CRM (which is short for Customer Relationship Management). In this post, we’ll explain exactly what a real estate CRM is and how to use it to build your business and be a more productive agent.
You may not know this yet, but your real estate CRM software will be your secret weapon to greatness.
A CRM is a software that you use to store and manage your contacts, including current, former, and prospective clients. You can also add non-customers, such as fellow agents and other real estate professionals, like attorneys, lenders, or builders, into your CRM. This way, all of your important contacts are collected in one central location for easy access.
Every real estate agent will benefit from using a CRM. Not only do CRMs help you maintain relationships, but they also maximize your productivity by automating tedious tasks. This software will scale with your business, whether you’re just starting out or have been an agent for a while now.
CRMs are available at multiple price points. No matter your budget, you can definitely afford a CRM. It may not have the bells and whistles that a more expensive option offers, but even a free CRM, like HubSpot or Bitrix24, will help you dramatically improve your client management.
So, let’s discuss exactly why you need to invest your time and energy into learning how to use a CRM software.
Leads are everything.
Your CRM can automatically capture and store lead information that you can then respond to at a later time when you have the opportunity. Depending on the CRM, you can connect the software with multiple websites, including Zillow, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Realtor.com, just to name a few. This enables you to capture leads with ease—and without your direct involvement.
The same goes for leads captured through a pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaign on Google. These leads can be saved automatically to your CRM.
And if you get leads through traditional commercials, you can still use your CRM to capture leads. However, you’ll need to manually enter that information. But the good news is, the contact information will be stored in one central location so that future interactions can be automated.
Without a CRM, you have two choices: Answer a call immediately, or let it go to voicemail and call back when you can. Sometimes, you’re put in an impossible situation because you’re with a client or driving to an appointment, and you can’t answer right away. But, in the meantime, your prospect is forgetting about you and moving on to the next option.
But, if you have a CRM, you have a powerful assistant that can help you in two important ways:
First, it can notify you that you have a new lead. Imagine running a Facebook ad campaign for one of your listings. A prospect clicks on your listing to learn more. As soon as a prospect clicks for more information, your CRM can notify you so that you can call them right away. This way, you pounce on a new lead before their interest decreases and they move on to the next listing.
Second, your CRM can deliver messages on your behalf automatically. Let’s say the above scenario happens, but this time, it happens at 11 PM and you don’t see their notification because you’ve drifted off to dreamland. Instead of making a prospect wait in silence until the morning for a call back (which can feel like an eternity), your CRM can automatically send out a friendly “out of the office” message that reassures the prospect that you will get back with them in the morning. It’s those little touches that can start building trust with your prospective client.
A CRM enables you to follow up at lightning speed. You’ll get notified immediately as soon as someone initiates contact or wants to learn more about your services or your property, and will have the option to respond personally or through your CRM automatically. Some agents even use chatbots as part of their CRM to answer simple questions which help to qualify leads.
Gone are the days of endless sticky notes that end up everywhere from your desktop to your wallet to your car visor. Instead of relying on sticky notes to record information about your client or prospect, you can open up your CRM software and add important details there. This allows you to retain more information about your contacts.
Record every interaction so that you have a reference for each contact. Add every detail that you learn, including their preferences (such as what they’re looking for in a home or if they like phone versus email) and their personal information (like their birthday to send a card).
Everything you learn about your contacts can be used at a later date to provide better more personalized service.
While not every lead will turn into an immediate sale, every lead is nurture-ready right away.
Use your CRM to create and run various lead-nurture campaigns. For example, you can run your email newsletter directly from your CRM. Or you can use your CRM to remind you of an important event for your contact, such as a birthday or anniversary. You can either reach out personally or you can draft one generic message and set up your CRM to automatically send it out to your contacts. This allows you to stay in contact with your network even if you don’t have the ability to reach out to each one personally.
As long as you craft the message in a way that maintains your unique personality and charm, it can still feel friendly and personal.
Use your CRM to stay at the top of your contacts’ minds so that they’ll remember you when it’s time to buy or sell a property.
Just because you’ve completed a sale for a client, it doesn’t mean that your relationship with that client is over. Stay in contact with them. Even if they’ve moved into their forever home, they definitely know someone who will need your services one day soon. So, keep in touch with your former clients. They can be excellent sources of referrals.
But they won’t refer people if they forget about you. Don’t let them forget.
Look for opportunities to reach out to your clients at least a few times each year. You can send a “happy home closing anniversary” note. Or you can wish them happy new year. If your CRM is particularly well-oiled, you’ll know when their kids graduate and you can reach out to congratulate them.
But, let’s be honest, if you try to juggle all of this in your mind (or even on your daily calendar), you’ll likely get overwhelmed and not be able to keep up with everything. This is where a CRM shines. CRMs do the heavy lifting. You can save notes and emails for all of the common special occasions that your clients have (such as birthdays, move-in anniversaries, and closings). Then, when the day comes, your CRM can automatically send a notification to you or send out your pre-written note.
When you use a CRM, everything is stored in one place. You don’t have notes everywhere. And, because contact information is stored centrally and automatically, you reduce the risk of something falling between the cracks.
Your CRM can help you manage your client’s entire cycle, from pre-approval to closing. See where your client is on the home buyer cycle so that you know what you need to do to move them to the next step. Your CRM will save time and sanity by showing you an overview of your client’s information and progress.
As mentioned above, you can also use your CRM to automate repetitive tasks, such as sending out special notes to contacts. This frees you up to do your more important duties.
You can also use your CRM to store and easily share important real estate documents, like contracts, deeds, closing statements, and offers to purchase. And because you’re using your CRM, you won’t need to manually enter contact information. This can be automatically filled in for you, which reduces input error and saves time!
Getting a CRM is one of the best decisions you’ll make for your real estate business. It frees up your time and empowers you to be the best agent possible.