Right now, there are about twice as many active real estate agents as there are real estate listings. As a result, the real estate industry has become more competitive than ever before. To succeed in this market, REALTORS need to implement a customer relationship management (CRM) strategy to gain a competitive advantage.
CRM is the process of using strategies and software to generate, nurture, and convert leads for your real estate business. How can a CRM approach benefit your business? What steps will you need to take to implement a CRM strategy? Here’s what you should know:
How Can CRM Benefit REALTORS?
There are a number of benefits to implementing an effective CRM strategy for your real estate business, including:
- Build and Maintain Better Relationships
- Keep Information Organized
- Automate Tasks
- Improve Response Time
- Manage Marketing Efforts
Build and Maintain Better Relationships
You can use CRM software to store “intel” on every contact, which allows you to personalize your services and establish stronger relationships.
For example, say a client mentions that they love dark green kitchen cabinets. Record this information in your CRM software. Then, if you happen to see a listing with dark green kitchen cabinets, you can reach out to this client to let them know. Your client will be impressed that you remembered such a small, insignificant detail about what they were looking for in a home.
CRM software will make it easier to stay in touch with past clients, too. Send a short and sweet email on birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates to maintain your relationships with these clients. This way, they will know to come to you if they ever need to buy or sell a home again in the future.
Keep Information Organized
Implementing a CRM strategy can make it easier to organize a ton of information. CRM software will consolidate all of your data from various sources, including direct mail campaigns, online advertisements, social media platforms, open houses, and more. You won’t have to maintain multiple databases or spend hours searching for a specific contact’s information. All of your data will be stored in the same place so you can quickly and efficiently find what you need to conduct business.
As a REALTOR, you have a lot on your plate, so you shouldn’t be wasting time performing manual, repetitive tasks. Fortunately, CRM software allows you to automate many of these time-consuming tasks.
For example, CRM software can be programmed to automatically send clients a “Happy Birthday” email every year on their special day. This way, you can maintain this relationship with your clients without having to set time aside to perform these tasks manually.
Improve Response Time
In such a competitive market, it’s crucial that REALTORS respond quickly to all online inquiries. But sometimes, you simply can’t get to a phone or computer right away.
Instead of making potential clients wait for a response, use CRM software to set up automatic replies. You can customize these replies for specific contacts or groups of contacts to make the experience more personal. In the automatic message, let the contact know when they will receive a response so they know when to expect your reply.
CRM software can also help you keep track of which inquiries you need to respond to so you don’t lose potential clients to your competitors. Without this type of tool, inquiries can easily fall through the cracks.
Manage Marketing Efforts
REALTORS typically don’t have their own marketing team. In fact, most REALTORS either handle their marketing efforts on their own or with the help of an office administrator. Marketing is time-consuming, so it can leave you with little time in your schedule to actually sell real estate. To avoid this problem, use CRM software to streamline your marketing efforts.
You can use CRM software to manage your marketing efforts across multiple channels, including social media, direct mail, email, and pay-per-click. Being able to manage all of your marketing efforts within one tool makes it easier than ever before to market your real estate business.
Tips for Implementing A CRM Strategy
At this point, you should understand how important CRM is to growing your real estate business. If you’re ready to implement a CRM strategy, follow these steps:
- Choose the Right CRM Tool
- Map Out Your Sales Cycle
- Define Your Lead Stages
- Provide Access to Data
- Create Marketing Templates
- Train Your Team
Choose the Right CRM Tool
The first step in implementing a CRM strategy is choosing the right CRM tool for your real estate business. There are countless CRM tools out there, but some are better for the real estate industry than others. This is because every industry has a unique objective that they are trying to achieve with CRM.
For instance, an online retail business may use CRM software in an effort to retain customers and increase repeat purchases. But in the real estate industry, the goal is to efficiently manage relationships with leads and customers. Make sure you choose a tool that is designed to help you meet this goal.
You should also look for a tool that is easy to use. Everyone on your team should be comfortable using your CRM tool regardless of their tech-savviness. If possible, find a CRM tool that offers live customer support so someone is always available to answer your questions.
Map Out Your Sales Cycle
Once you’ve selected a CRM tool, the next step is taking the time to map out your sales cycle. In general, this is what a real estate sales cycle looks like:
- Every new lead that is entered into the CRM system will automatically be assigned to the “pre-sale” team.
- A member of the pre-sale team will contact each new lead. During this initial conversation, the pre-sales representative will learn as much as possible about the lead. All of this information will be entered into the CRM system.
- The pre-sales representative will send each new lead the information they requested shortly after their initial conversation. For example, your team might send new listings to a lead who is looking for a new home.
- If the lead is ready to move forward in the sales process, by touring a listing, for example, they are assigned to the sales team.
- The sales team takes over from this point. Their goal is to convert the lead into a customer.
Every real estate team may have slightly different sales cycles, so you may need to adjust this outline to fit your team’s needs.
Define Your Lead Stages
After outlining your sales cycle, the next step is defining your lead stages. In the real estate industry, common lead stages include:
- Incoming: A contact becomes an incoming lead once they submit their information or are added to the system for the first time.
- Prospect: A new lead becomes a prospect once someone from your pre-sales team makes contact with them for the first time.
- Opportunity: If a listing appointment, tour, or follow-up call is scheduled, the prospect becomes an opportunity.
- Active: If the lead is looking for a new home with your help–or you are in the process of trying to sell their home–they are considered an active lead.
- Lost: If the lead chooses to work with another REALTOR, they are considered a lost lead.
- Unqualified: If the lead no longer wants to buy or sell a home, they might be marked as unqualified.
Make sure you clearly define each stage, including what action the lead must take to move to the next stage. Again, every real estate team is unique, so the lead stages you use may vary slightly.
Provide Access to Data
A lot of data is housed within your CRM software, so it’s important to protect it. Adjust the settings on your software to ensure each member of your team can only access the data they need to perform their job duties. This will keep all of your contacts’ information secure.
Create Marketing Templates
It’s best to create marketing templates that your sales team can use to contact new leads, current clients, and previous clients. Setting these templates up ensures that your marketing message remains consistent across all platforms. It also allows your sales team to immediately dive in and get to work once they are given access to your CRM system.
Train Your Team
The final step in the process of setting up a CRM strategy is training your team. It’s absolutely essential that your team understands how to use all of the CRM software’s features. Many CRM software companies host team training sessions for new customers. But if this isn’t an option, the task of training your team will fall on your shoulders.
Don’t just tell them how to use the CRM software, make sure they also understand why they should use the CRM software. Explain how using this software and taking a CRM approach can not only grow your business, but also make it easier for everyone to perform their job duties. Remember, your CRM strategy will only be effective if your entire team is on board with it.