In business and in life, time is money! Think of all the time you spend every day tackling tedious, menial tasks, such as emailing, scheduling, and organizing. It’s not that these tasks aren’t important — they certainly are! — but the time spent doing them takes away from time that could be spent on building relationships with clients and strategizing your long-term business plans.

This is why savvy agents are getting on board with automation. This means investing in the right tools and resources that take care of tasks for you so you can focus on the big picture stuff! For example, setting up an automated response email when new people sign up for more information on your website is much more time-efficient than responding individually to every lead.

A major benefit of automation is giving yourself more time to focus on the tasks that matter. In the book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, author Cal Newport makes the case for why “deep” work, in which you are completely focused and attentive, results in more meaningful and valuable products and business. Newport writes, “If e-mail were to move to the periphery of your workday, you’d be required to deploy a more thoughtful approach to figuring out what you should be working on and for how long. To build your working life around the experience of flow produced by deep work is a proven path to deep satisfaction.”

He presents a formula: High-Quality Work Produced = (Time Spent) x (Intensity of Focus)

With this in mind, consider automating your workflow. Determining what to automate requires a quick audit of your existing processes. To do this, make a list of every task you do each week. (This can be as high level or specific as you want!) For example:

• Respond to emails
• Call new clients
• Design a postcard
• Take clients to showings

Then, identify the tasks that you spend the most time on (bonus if these are tasks that you don’t particularly enjoy doing!). From here, select one thing that you can automate.

If automation is daunting to you, don’t fret! Here are five ways to automate your business, gain back your time, and meet your sky-high goals.

1. Seek and compile new, high-quality leads

Finding new leads, or “prospecting,” is imperative — but also time-intensive. Services like SmartZip can help expedite the early stages of this process. SmartZip uses predictive algorithms to sleuth out leads and listings in your target market. You set the parameters for who you’d like to target, and SmartZip compiles this data for you, constantly providing you with brand new leads and opportunities.

SmartZip offers an analytics platform so you can see the overall success of your pipeline. Another useful feature of SmartZip is it’s “grading” feature, which sorts your leads by the “likelihood” they are ready to buy and sell. And with SmartTargeting, you can easily find out where you can make the highest sales and gain the best clients.

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2. Keep the conversation going with automated mailers

Direct mail remains one of the most valuable tools in an agent’s toolbox, but creating lists and designing the mailers takes time. Tools like Corefact take over the entire process for you. Once you define your market and set up your profile, Corefact literally takes care of the rest: They farm the best leads, pick the most effective mailers for your goals, and send out the mailers on a regular schedule.

Elite Campaign Plan: one-time fee of $399
Elite Plus Campaign Plan: one-time fee of $899

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3. Use your CRM to manage client relationships

Not too long ago, we wrote about why a customer relationship manager (CRM) is a must-have for every agent. Automation makes CRMs truly magical. Since the goal of a CRM is to help you curate new clients and nurture existing ones, most platforms include automation tools that track and remind you of which clients need your attention. (If you’re not sure what CRM works best for you, we recommend checking out Referral Maker, RealtyJuggler, or Contactually.)

This takes a bit of work upfront, but once you have your systems in place, you can essentially use them for years. Tools like Zapier or IFTTT (which stands for “If This, Then That”) can help you connect platforms to your CRM. For instance, if you have a contact form on your website, you can create a simple funnel to push that information straight into a new record in your CRM. From there, your CRM can update the record with relevant information, such as any phone calls you’ve made with this client and any face-to-face meetings you’ve scheduled. In addition, your CRM will also alert you when a client needs some attention, so you can easily prioritize.

Basic plan: free
Premium plans: start at $20 per month

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4. Set up an automated content schedule

Spending time on social media can result in big business. But consistently writing and posting content can be a chore. While social media is certainly worth your time, you can speed up this process by using tools like Buffer to handle the posting for you. Because consistency is key to social media success, it’s important to make a regular appearance on your chosen social channels. With Buffer, you simply load up your “queue” with a bunch of content — including content you’ve created but also content by others that you think provides value to your readers — and schedule it ahead of time. Buffer also tracks engagement with your posts so you can easily refine your strategy.

Variety of plans ranging from free to $399 per month

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5. Host showings — without even having to be there

The mere suggestion of not attending showings with your clients will likely be controversial, but hear us out — this might be the way of the future. Real estate news source Inman recently covered their experience with Opendoor, a service that allows prospective buyers and sellers to work through the homebuying/selling process independently, from scheduling a showing to coordinating an inspection, and even making an offer. The biggest fear agents have is that this will replace them, but that’s not the case; nothing will ever replace the agent-client relationship. However, you can use concepts like Opendoor to your advantage. You might be an agent who loves taking your clients to showings, but would rather not have to hang around for inspections; use Opendoor to have your clients handle those on their own. Or, if you find showings with fickle clients more tedious than prosperous, let them venture out and see what’s available. Regardless, you’ll want to always be the closer and the expert who can help them navigate through the process of making or accepting an offer.

A bonus? Being an early adopter of services like Opendoor — even if you’re not 100% on board with the idea — makes you look super savvy, adaptable, and well-versed in the world of real estate.

Contact Opendoor for a trial or pricing information.

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When used smartly, automation can be an agent’s best friend! It’s the way of the future, and with an abundance of easy tools to use, automation is not the daunting endeavor it once was. While some of these programs may come with a cost, it is well worth it in the long-run. Once you start finding ways to automate, this opens up so many new opportunities for how you can improve the processes in your life, both business and personal.

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