As a real estate agent, your business is people. Even as a top producer, you’ll forget half of the important details you need to know about your clients, and most of what you should know to build stronger relationships (in fact, if you are bringing in a steady flow of leads, you shouldn’t be able to keep track on your own!). That’s why the heart of your work is your database. A database pumps life into your business, showing the results of every postcard, email, handshake, and sale over the years. You may forget some of the names and details, but with a good database, no one will ever have to know.
But your database is only what you make it. This is where a customer relationship management (CRM) database comes in. Don’t let the name fool you; it’s far more exciting than just managing your leads. A CRM is a key tool in allowing you to track, grow, and expand your market.
With the new year approaching, now is the perfect time to step up your business. Here’s how a CRM will help you.
Plant and nurture your leads with a CRM
Treat your leads like you treat your houseplants: over the years you’ve probably neglected enough of them, whether it’s overwatering or not enough sun, to understand that every plant has specific needs to learn and cater to. If you don’t nurture these needs, it will die. Leads are no different! When you know where your leads stand, you can determine where to best put your efforts: do you need to focus on establishing a deeper connection with your existing clients so they can bring you more referrals, or are you ready to branch out and expand your network? Your CRM can help you answer these questions.
Your very own personal assistant
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by a CRM, but once you start using one, you’ll never want to go back to your cluttered spreadsheet. Since Realtors® often work independently, a CRM can function as your personal assistant (especially if you get creative with your automation). It allows you to assign a status to your leads and help prioritize your efforts. On top of that, a CRM often provides tools to easily create additional marketing resources, such as eFlyers and newsletters, to send to specific groups within your database. You can stop wasting time and resources marketing to the wrong people; tailor your content to satisfy those specific needs. Both you and your leads will appreciate this more precise approach. And, if you want to look at your achievements, CRM services almost always include analytics so you can have a bird’s eye view of your progress and goals.
Finding the perfect match
There are many CRMs made with Realtors® in mind, but choosing one can be daunting.
When looking for a CRM to fit your needs, ask yourself these simple questions:
- Does it make it easy to set goals and track your progress?
- Does it help automate mundane tasks, such as emails or scheduling meetings?
- Does it store the information that’s most important to you?
We’ve done some of the research to get you started. Here are three popular CRM tools for Realtors® and the key features of each.
This is a robust tool with a multitude of features. Import your contacts and create groups of your contacts—also known as “segments”—by assigning them a “grade.” This grade is based on referrals they have brought to you so it is easy for you to see which of your contacts are worth more of your time. If you want to see how honing in on top leads can boost your real estate business, we provide an easy guide you can start implementing today.
Referral Maker has both a desktop and a mobile app, so you can check your lead status on the go. It also has a neat “Pop-By” feature: a map that updates wherever you are, locating your nearest clients, so you can easily keep in touch face-to-face.
This service also uses automation to compile reports and to-do lists for you. A unique feature is the “Priority Action Center,” which alerts you to complete specific actions (such as a phone call or a visit) with your hottest leads. Referral Maker starts at $49/month, with additional costs for more features, such as team collaboration.
RealtyJuggler is a browser-based cloud service, which means you don’t have to install any software or worry about backing up your data to your devices. It syncs with other services, such as Google Calendar and Outlook, making it easy to schedule meetings with clients. Keeping track of when you’ve last communicated with certain clients can help you prioritize your marketing and ensure none of your valuable leads fall through the cracks. RealtyJuggler costs $179/year.
Contactually is a popular choice for many agents, and with good reason: it’s packed full of useful features that help you stay on top of your goals. Every day, Contactually will remind you to take action with your leads, whether that means sending an email or mailing them a card. Regular contact with your clients is key, and it helps you stay at the top of their mind when they’re ready to buy or sell.
Contactually also includes a template library of data-driven marketing materials. This service starts at $69/month.
All three of these services offer free trials, so you might as well test them out before you take the plunge. Ultimately, your CRM can refine your marketing and lead-nurturing strategies by helping you make sense of your most valuable data. This year, plant a strong foundation to grow your business with the help of a CRM—you’ll be grateful when the leads start rolling in!