There are so many systems for real estate agents — lead generation, lead management, transaction management, business intelligence — to name a few.
As real estate agents, our lives are filled with technology systems. Statistics say the average agent uses between three and nine systems just to juggle their daily activities. I’d say statistics are severely lowballing that number.
It seems like a house cleaning is in order. Whether you’re a solo agent or part of a big team, it’s time to evaluate what types of tools you’ll really need to be successful in the next five years.
Start with your CRM
In creating a system for your systems, you of course need to start with your CRM. This is your personal Rolodex, the place where you store:
- Escrow and closing companies
- Local and out-of-area agents
- Past clients
- Your sphere
Your CRM is more than an organizer or an assistant. It is your base of operations which will directly generate income.
That brings us to the question: What CRM should you use?
This is the part where I answer a simple question with a series of complicated questions.
The first and most important question to ask when shopping for a CRM is the same thing you should repeatedly ask yourself when shopping at Whole Foods: “Am I actually going to use that?” It could have all the best features and be the most advanced system in the world, but if it’s not making your life easier, then it’s not doing you any favors.
Other questions you need to ask are:
- What is my budget? These systems range from $150/per year to thousands of dollars a month.
- Do I need a stand-alone system or one that includes a lead-generating website?
- What is my two-year growth plan? Should I buy for the team I want or the team I have?
- Does my broker offer one? If so, would it be possible to export my data if I changed brokerages?
Once you go through each of those bullet points and narrow down your options, it’s a matter of demoing some systems to determine which you like best. This brings us back to that first question. “Am I actually going to use this?” It’s so important that you enjoy using your CRM, because then you actually will.
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Manager, so clearly, they help you to manage your relationships. But what about direct sales?
In 2022, most all CRMs are multi-dimensional systems that include a lead management system. These will help you to route leads to other agents on your team and follow up with leads through text, email, calls, and video, directly from within the program or app. They handle automated tasks (reminders, to-dos), online marketing, lead generation, and the best ones even offer artificial intelligence (AI) and dynamic registration.
Going back to the question of which CRM you should choose, check if they are automatically integrated with a lead management system. It’s all about finding what’s right for you.
Here is a list of systems I recommend:
- Boomtown ROI (website and CRM combined)
- Ylopo (stand-alone lead generating website that can be paired with several CRM backend systems)
- Follow Up Boss (Stand-alone CRM that integrates with many front-facing website products)
- Realty Juggler
So, you have your CRM, you have your lead management system. Now, how does your administration staff communicate with buyers and sellers under contract?
The 30-to-60 days in which a client is buying or selling a home are some of the most stressful and confusing days, and sadly this is often the time when an agent will set it and forget it!
The real estate industry needs to do a better job of communicating during this critical transaction time. Ask yourself, where are your transaction task lists stored? On paper? Manila folders? Nowhere?
If that’s you, then it’s time to step into 2022.
Automating task lists within a tech system overseen by a human will take your customer experience to the next level. Why? Because systems don’t let things fall through the cracks like our memories do!
When asked, “What is your transaction management system?” many agents will reply with what their broker uses.
Your broker’s system is primarily for broker compliance. If you, as an agent in the brokerage, cannot create your own personal task lists within the system, then this is not your system. I highly recommend that you use something that your assistant can customize to give you consistency in every transaction.
I recommend these options:
You should choose a system that “plays in the sandbox with others.” In other words, it has API or integration ability to communicate with other systems. Why? Because there is no one single system that will allow an agent to manage all aspects of their business. Remember how many systems the average agent uses daily?
Customize your tech stack
Customizing your tech stack is critical to the success and scalability of your business. If you are a solo agent, start here. If you have a team or are in the process of growing a team, start by doing an audit of what you already have to find the gaps and pain points.
Lastly, while you need to choose wisely, I advise you not to be tied to the outcome. Products will change. Some of these companies will get bought out and disappear. Some will cease to innovate and become dinosaurs. Be open to change. As long as you back up your data, it can be exported onto any other system you decide to move to.
Yvonne Arnold is a business coach and national speaker with Ferry International.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of RealTrends’ editorial department and its owners.
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