Ask real estate professionals how they make money, and many of them will tell you that they sell real estate. That covers both the listing and buyer side, so it covers the answer well. However, is that really HOW we make money? Rather than “selling,” we may want to closely look at our business activities that lead to a commission. Our business process includes:
- Marketing ourselves and our services.
- Networking and seeking referrals.
- Online lead generation activities.
- Nurturing leads/prospects until they become buyer customers or listings.
- Working with customers/clients through the sale/purchase and transaction process.
- Coordinating the transaction, working with all associated vendors & professionals.
Of course, doing all of those things well will result in the “sale” of a property. However, just saying we sell real estate doesn’t come close to describing the juggling of tasks and customer relationship activities that occupy our days… and nights sometimes. Not doing all of these things well can result in lost income when we lose prospects and even some customers during the journey from first contact to the closing table.
CRM, Customer Relationship Management, involves all of those activities and more. We make money through managing relationships from first contact through happy closings. There are a great many real estate professionals who have one task management system, another specifically for transaction management, and they have another system for gathering leads and converting them to business. Having multiple systems gets the job done, but how much complexity does it add or extra time does it take in moving a first contact from one system to the other during the relationship.
Some CRM software or online systems handle multiple activities, but they usually require entry of new contacts/prospects that are gathered through a website or multiple sites. The most efficient approach that will minimize time invested while maximizing business and service is one that starts at the website and advances the prospect through the entire process in one area or solution.
When calls-to-action and website forms deliver prospects, they are directed into the CRM area of the site back-end Dashboard. New prospects are ready for the nurturing process to move them to become active buyer and seller customers, then work them through to the closing table.
Jane Doe is a new seller prospect. She is thinking about selling her home, and we are nurturing the relationship to hopefully get the listing. Depending on when she makes a decision to list with us and when we sell her home and close on it, there can be months of activities involved. Virtually everything on our list above is covered with the line of icons in the blue strip in the screen shot above. The shot is of a portion of Jane’s individual contact/customer record.
Notice the map and the Client Management Area on the right. As we go through the activities below, if Jane has asked for a login, she can search and we’ll see her search activity. We can also choose to interact with Jane in the activities below. We can either email her notices or documents, or she can log in and pick them up online. Let’s look the activities in the blue strip and see how they will efficiently keep us on track.
How many times during our dealings with anyone in our business do we need to make a note so that we can remember something later or refer back to it for a future activity or conversation? This is the button for that. The note stays in Jane’s activity stream for later reference.
Now we’re into the many daily tasks and later transaction tasks. There could be dozens or even hundreds, but they’ll all be here with due dates. All tasks or tasks by category can be viewed in a stream by date. Each is linked to the contact/prospect/customer, and you can quickly see what each day requires for your actions and check them off as they’re completed.
This is an invaluable feature. How many documents do you deliver to a customer/client in the course of a relationship and a transaction? By uploading them here, you keep a copy of each attached to the customer, and you can email it to them or they can download it from their Client Management Area. Also, when you get a phone call from the customer or anyone involved in the transaction, you may need to reference a document for discussion. You can do this from the customer/client’s area.
Another approach to tasks, especially those related to dated transaction deadlines, is to enter them in the Calendar section of the customer’s screen. By entering a due date in the calendar in the customer’s area, you’re also going to see it in your personal calendar. So, all of the items you’ve entered for a specific date will show up in your calendar and be linked back to the customer/client.
In this area you can email the client and receive their emails. It brings together a record of all of your email interactions with them. It is not only efficient, it gives you the ability to verify delivery of items and discussions with all contacts should there be a need for proof later.
Drip email is a very effective way to nurture new leads to bring them to a more direct relationship, listing or showing of homes. The most effective system provides a number of pre-written drip email campaigns tailored for buyer, sellers or other specific goals. This is where you can assign a drip campaign, including custom emails and drip campaigns you build, to a contact.
The Alert button takes you to a powerful nurturing and service function for prospects and customers. You can create a custom search and have daily, weekly or monthly automated results emails sent to the prospect/customer. Not only buyers like this. Sellers like to see new listings that are competitors for their property.
The Listings area allows you to do searches and select specific listings that may be of interest to your buyer or seller. You can add a note. This is an efficient way to serve your customers better and impress them with your skills.
All Contacts & Transaction Participants
This powerful CRM system is for everyone you deal with in the course of your business and transactions. All of the vendors, title companies, inspectors, etc. should be in it. You can even associate them with your clients and transactions. Everything on our list above is covered, and it’s most efficient if all of it is done in one login and system. That’s efficiency!