The Useful versus the Detailed Real Estate CRM

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3 Jan 2018

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, so real estate CRM certainly applies, as real estate is a relationship business.  So, the more detailed your real estate CRM records the better, right?  Wrong is the answer in most cases.

Taking a step back to look at the big picture, what is involved in a real estate customer relationship?  It’s keeping in touch, answering questions, helping with property buying and selling, and managing transactions.  Notice that all of those activities involve actual interaction with the customer.

Problem: Real Estate CRM Glut

Now let’s think about your real estate CRM, Customer Relationship Management system and process.  Let’s go to the extreme to work backward to the efficient.  There are real estate professionals tracking information in their CRM database including:

  • Prospect’s name
  • Prospect’s family members’ names
  • Address
  • Phone numbers
  • Business information, address, etc.
  • Job function
  • Social site profiles
  • Birthdays for prospect & family members
  • Hobbies and interests of prospect & family members
  • Childrens’ grades in school
  • Married couples’ anniversary & years married
  • Favorite foods
  • Favorite vacation destinations
  • Type & brand of car(s)
  • Religious affiliation
  • Clubs & organizations

There are more, but you’re getting the idea.  It’s micro-management of data about prospects to the point of making the data gathering, input, and management more important than actually spending time in direct contact with the prospects.

Solution: Think About What They Wanted

NO, your system works you say.  You’re in contact because you’re sending them emailed birthday cards, anniversary congratulations, interesting links related to their hobbies, and more.  Those emails are arriving in inboxes that can easily have dozens to hundreds of emails in them, and you have no clue as to whether they’re being read or if the prospect even cares.

No criticism is intended if you really want to keep up with all of this information, but it’s time-consuming, and that takes time away from directly communicating with your prospects and past clients.  Let’s take a moment to think about how you came to know these prospects in the first place, and how you came to know them better by helping them to buy or sell real estate.

Whether offline or online, at some point you generated a lead and contact that brought these people to you seeking real estate information and ultimately help in buying, selling and transaction management.  Nowhere in there did they ask you about birthdays, hobbies, automobiles, anniversaries, etc.  Sure, if you really want to keep up with all of that, then do so, but it’s taking time away from making contact and providing the services that brought them to you in the first place.

Problem: Not Making the Right Followup Contact

Sure, their birthdays and anniversaries are important to them, but that’s not what made you important enough to them to get you that commission.  You’re following up with email or other contacts that are totally unrelated to what brought them to you in the first place.  Yes, keeping them as “friends” may get their repeat business and maybe even referrals.  However, over time the reasons they came to you and the great service you provided take a back seat to those “friendly” followups.

Solution: Think Real Estate Relevance

Start thinking about how you can make a followup connection that’s related to what you did for them in the first place.  Perhaps they were a buyer who you helped to find and purchase a home.  Maybe you listed their home and got it sold quickly for a great price.  Put data fields in your real estate CRM that record the type of transaction.  What type of information might they find interesting or valuable now that is related to their previous business with you, even if that business didn’t result in a transaction?

Problem:  So, What Is Relevant & Valuable?

Sure, you know that you helped a particular past client to buy a home, but what is of value later that would make a relevant followup?  What can you do with your real estate CRM system to help you to identify followup contact that would be interesting to each prospect or past client?

Solution: Record the Right Details

The single biggest data item missing from the list above is a record of past communications, emails, meetings, and phone calls.  If your system doesn’t make it easy to record a note about each of these interactions and have it permanently connected to the prospect or past client, you need to make it happen.

Let’s say that you want to make a follow-up contact with a past prospect or client who was searching for homes or requesting information about home prices.  If your real estate CRM system allows you to view under the contact information every dated note for past communications, there will be something you can send them of interest.

Maybe they actually bought a home through you.  It is a great followup to send them a current neighborhood market report about home sales and price appreciation.  They’ll appreciate that more than a birthday greeting for their teenager.  Perhaps in a previous email a prospect asked about home sales when considering listing, but decided to stay put.  That wasn’t a permanent decision, so send them an updated report.  They may decide it’s time to take action.

The point is to make your real estate CRM system relevant to the services you provide and the questions and communications specific to the prospect or client.  If you still want to do the birthdays and anniversaries, go ahead, but you may find you don’t have the time because your new approach is generating too much business.