1. What outcomes am I tracking today?
Most Real Estate companies track deals through their entire lifecycle. From initial contact to showing, proposals to closing. This is an easy place to start and helps you get into a strategic mindset. If you are a real estate professional, there is not much outside of your deal pipeline that you need to track. In an industry where you are only as good as the last deal you closed, clarity on exactly what you are tracking is paramount! You should also ask what the main annoyances you come across in your day-to-day work. Where are your opportunities of improvement that will help you track your deals more clearly without creating gridlock or resistance among your sales people. Where do you find yourself running out of time? CRM Software features that address these questions will become your ‘must-haves’.
2. What works well today, and what could be improved in my current system?
Most Real Estate Companies are smaller operations, and they still rely on spreadsheets and general email updates to manage deals, sales pipeline, and general customer communication and task management. This is no coincidence. The real estate industry is based on interpersonal communication, relationship building, and spending time with the customer. Unfortunately, most software applications come with bells and whistles that deliver little value in terms of the time spent implementing the software, learning how to use the software, data entry, and other annoyances related to perception of complexity.
Furthermore, most CRM software add-on features that salespeople will never use in their daily work lives. It’s not uncommon to call the technical support line with a question and end up being sold a new feature that solves one problem while creating 3 new problems. Simplicity is important when it comes to software. While aesthetics is important, this tends to be distracting and creates more questions than it solves problems. Make note of what helps you accomplish trackable goals, and add them to your CRM ‘must-haves’.
3. What is our number one business goal this year?
Once you have a sense of what your day-to-day CRM and tracking needs are, take a step back and look at the big picture. One step at a time, that’s how problems are solved. Don’t take a gun ship to a fist fight (and old saying, we don’t advocate violence), don’t attempt to implement large software applications with many features that the software sales person says you will need down the road. When selling for growth, most software companies will tap into your growth projections and sell you future features that you don’t need right now. The hidden secret is this: If you don’t need it now, you will likely never need it. What is your number one business goal as a real estate company this year, and in 2 – 5 years? With this in mind – what can you digitize, automate, or focus on to help you achieve this? One piece at a time.
For example, if your goal is to increase your number of closed deals, then implementing a really simple CRM tool to help you manage each opportunity, Lead, and sales activity is sufficient. This gives you insight into each stage from Initial Contact, Needs Analysis, Proposal, and Negotiation, and the timeline to completing each activity. You also gain insight into your top performing brokers, and those who might need help with a simple dashboard that shows you your entire company’s sales snapshot. In addition to tracking your opportunities and leads, this means you’ll want to ensure that whatever real estate CRM you choose, it should be simple enough that your staff does not see it as another data entry exercise and a waste of time. Real estate professionals would rather work on their deals in the field than sit behind a desk doing data entry. This is the bane of most CRM systems.
4. What is my approach to work – everything all at once, or really focusing on the task at hand?
Similar to the previous point, a popular trend in real estate CRMs are large all-in-one solutions that go beyond simple customer relationship management to perform every aspect of your business within a single system. Most real estate companies are simply not calibrated or interested in this level of complexity. While this may work for larger firms, 96% of real estate companies are smaller firms.
Organize by New Leads and/or Opportunities
Your real estate database should have a lead capture component where new contact profiles are created as individuals sign up on your website using your “Contact Us” page. Prioritize your contacts by “new” so you can contact leads as soon as you can. After all, a majority of buyers and sellers use the first real estate agent they contact, so time is of the essence.
Organize by Task Due Date
With each contact, you want to set tasks and assign them due dates. This way, if you call a lead and can’t get hold of them today, they’re at the top of your list to call tomorrow. At the beginning of each day, you need to see everyone you want to reach out to.
While most real estate management software will allow you to sync your client appointments with your pre-existing calendar app, this doesn’t necessarily help you when you also want to see your non-appointment tasks. Incidentally, this is why we love the daily routines and Tasks section of our planner so much.
5. Ease of Use
When you first log in, how intuitive does this system feel to you? You should be able to start using the system within 30 seconds or less! Are you able to get up and running with a few clicks, or are you lost in the details? Regardless of whether there is a steep learning curve or not, you want to make sure that at the very least, you’re able to get working on the basics very quickly.