There are three key elements to a successful CRM initiative: people, process, and technology. The article below by Gary Hall discusses the differences between generic and real specific CRM and how to use it in your Real Estate Business.
Why are Real Estate specific CRMs promoted as opposed to Outlook or other generic CRMs? Is it really worth having one? What real benefits are there? The best way to answer these questions is to see an example of what they can do for you in a real life setting, so let's do that.
We will now walk through a scenario made possible by using a CRM solution to its maximum potential. It is important to note that there are several CRMs available today that will do the vast majority of what follows. This is no futuristic pie in the sky dream. Agents organized with an existing CRM who look far too calm to be doing as much business as they do, do this every day. The author was doing most of this as far back as the early 1990’s closing 40 – 50 transactions per year with one part time assistant and a buyer agent. The only major difference was paper versus e-mail.
There are many misconceptions people have of what it takes to run your business with a CRM. Two are:
You have to live in front of your computer for this to become a reality. If that were the case, then how do others do it? How do agents with no assistant do 30 or 40 or more transactions a year and still manage to accomplish the following scenario? The reason they can is that doing the following actually gives them more time to get everything done. And with the increasing capabilities of phones and tablets, much of the necessary interaction can be done on the road during downtime.
Having to put information into a computer rather than just writing it down somewhere takes much more time. The reality is that you are simply re-learning where and when you record information. And if there is extra time required to input information, the retrieval of that information ends up becoming far more efficient, negating any additional time required for the former. Add to that the fact that you can service your clients far better because once the information is put into the CRM, generating detailed reports for the client, and providing other services you have not been doing to date, all automatically, becomes possible. Yet another benefit becomes immediately clear when you have a team that requires communication of the status of prospects and transactions.
Ask anyone who has internalized and uses a CRM to run their business and they will tell you that it is infinitely superior to paper in countless ways.
Let’s start it with an open house on Sunday. You meet a prospect, Suzy Stickler at the open house and determine that you want to follow up with her, especially because her home is in your geographic farm. A good idea by the way, is to hand your open house visitors a clipboard with one visitor form on it. It turns out that people are significantly more likely to complete it when they have the clipboard and pen in their hand, and have to return it to you. So while you are at the open house, you put her contact information into the CRM. You then launch your Open house medium buyer follow-up activity plan. In the plan you set Day Zero in the plan as Sunday, the day you met her.
Open House Medium Buyer Plan - Day 1 – You open your CRM on Monday morning and on your To-Do Today screen there is a button next to where it says 37 e-mails due out today. You click on that button that says Process all, and those template e-mails are all sent out to the various individuals in the many plans you have running. One of them was to Suzy Stickler. It was a pre-selected e-mail from your activity plan that is individually addressed To: SuzyStickler@ISP.net. The e-mail starts out with Dear Ms. Stickler, It was a pleasure meeting you at my open house at 37 Maple Avenue yesterday, etc., etc. Note that it was not necessary to key in her e-mail address or the open house address into that e-mail. It automatically filled that information in, because it merged it automatically because you keyed it into her contact record on Sunday. You will never have to key it anywhere again in any of the correspondence you have with her, to include e-mails, letters, envelopes, fliers, post cards, or contract forms.
Day 3 – You open your CRM and part of your To-Do Today screen says 16 Phone Calls. One of them has Suzy Stickler’s name, and a description that says OH Medium Buyer - First Follow-up call. You click on Suzy’s name in that phone call reminder and it opens her contact record, and you see that she got the e-mail you sent, and she opened it. If you had a partner or assistant and you had decided to allow it, they would be able to read that e-mail in Suzy’s contact record on their computer as well. No CC'ing back and forth would be necessary any more. So you click on her phone number, it opens Skype, dials her phone number, and pops open a box that says Phone Log on it. It has the time and date already keyed in. You speak with Suzy, this call being to see if you can help her, or to simply re-enforce her memory of you. You then key the important parts of your conversation into thatnotes box that popped up. That becomes a permanent part of her record that anyone on your team with permission can readily see from his or her computer. It is no longer necessary to be running around the office looking for the file to get that information. If the information were in the file at all, it would likely be on a sticky note – somewhere in that mess.
Day 4 – You open your CRM and part of your To-Do today screen says 12 Letters Due out today. You click on that, and on an option that says Process all, and those letters are printed out, followed by the envelopes. One of them was to Suzy Stickler. It was a pre-selected letter that is addressed specifically to her and starts out with Dear Ms. Stickler, It was a pleasure speaking with you. Just a reminder, we met at my open house on 37 Maple Avenue on Sunday the 14th. I am writing to make sure you have my contact information. Enclosed please find a business card magnet with my info on it. I realize your search is several months out, so I’ll give you some time now, and follow-up in the future if that’s OK. etc., etc.
Day 20 - You open your CRM and part of your To-Do today screen says 9 Phone Calls. One of them has Suzy Stickler’s name and a description that says OH Medium Buyer - Second Follow-up call. You click on Suzy’s name and it opens her contact record and you look at her history. You see the e-mails and letters that she received from you and you open her phone log and refresh your memory about your conversations with her. You click on her phone number, it opens Skype, dials her phone number, and pops open a box that says Phone Log on it. It has the time and date already keyed in. You speak with Suzy and key in the important parts of your conversation. This conversation takes an unexpected but happy turn. She wants to list her house with you because she is so impressed with your personalized follow-up.
You schedule an appointment with Suzy for three nights from now, and you cancel the existing Open house medium buyer follow-up plan. The tasks you accomplished while that plan was running, remain a part of the history of that contact. The rest are deleted automatically all at once.
3 days later, you open your CRM in the morning and on your calendar appears that appointment you scheduled. If you had a partner or assistant and you had decided to allow it, they would be able to see what you have scheduled for that day as well, because they can see their calendar, your calendar, or both combined in one view. That completed appointment automatically becomes part of Suzy’s history because it is linked to her contact record.
To prepare for the listing appointment, you need to print out the listing contract and addenda. Since there is an API (software relationship) for your Contract Forms software with your CRM, all the information that you have already keyed into the CRM will automatically populate into your Contract Forms software, saving you the time of having to find and re-key their name address, phone, etc.
At the listing appointment, you show the seller your Activity Plans for the listing process, and the closing process. Others may show them a generic list, but it will be generic and unimpressive compared to yours. The sellers had no idea how complex this process really is. The reality is that they still do not but they have a better idea now. The sellers are impressed as you explain to them that you learned years ago that there are far too many details involved in these transactions to try to remember everything without a system to help. You have invested your time and money into a system that insures that nothing falls through the cracks, and that they are kept up to date consistently with everything that is going on. Not surprisingly, they list with you.
Residential Listing Plan – Day 1
This article is too long for e-mail so it is continued on my site at http://garydavidhall.com/UsingCRM.htm .