Building, maintaining and growing relationships are the most important things in real estate. Business relationships are like plants. You have to plant the seed, nurture them, make sure they have everything they need to flourish and grow into something that bears fruit.
(Money shaped fruit, preferably.)
To help you manage and nurture these relationships, it’s a good idea to use a customer relationship management (CRM) system for your business. Before you choose a CRM, though, you’ll want to evaluate it and make sure it serves your purposes.
And that’s where this blog post comes in.
Here are eight things to keep in mind when evaluating a CRM system for your real estate business:
1. Can I import/export contacts and data from the system?
If the system has no way of importing contacts or exporting data into a useable file, you might as well just forget about it. Most businesses have at least hundreds of potential and current customers to keep track of and if you can’t import/export data easily, it’s not even worth getting started with a CRM system.
2. If it has content for automated emails, is the content current?
Markets change and technology is basically in a constant state of flux, so the references made within the content need to stay current or the automated marketing pieces may do more harm than good.
You don’t want your customers thinking you’re out of touch with outdated references. That’s why even if the automated emails are current, it’s still a good idea to review them every few months to tweak them when necessary (because nothing stays current for long anymore).
3. Does it tie to social media?
For example, can you import contacts from social media platforms? View a contact’s social media updates from within the CRM system?
If not, you may be missing out on key data that could make your next interaction with your contact richer. People love to share nowadays and it’s easy to get a sense of familiarity with a customer by seeing what they’re sharing.
4. Can you customize automated content?
It would be nice if you could truly automate everything, but you have to put in some personalization to make it seem like you wrote the emails or social media posts that you’re sending out.
Does the system support customization? If not, don’t bother. Automation is nice (for example, all our blog posts are written with the automated blog writing program HackWrite), but you need to be able to put your own personal touches on it or the convenience of automation will be undone by the flatness of the content.
5. Does it support email, print, web, Craigslist and other forms of marketing?
This is by no means an all-inclusive list, but if you can’t at least use your CRM to market yourself and your listings through these and similar channels, it’s likely too limited of a system to be useful to you. The more marketing channels you can run through your CRM, the easier it will make your marketing efforts.
6. What forms of training and support are available?
Print materials? Email? Phone support? Training videos? Is it free or paid?
Familiarizing yourself with a CRM system can be challenging, especially if you have no one to call when you get stuck. The more robust the support system, the better for you, obviously. Make sure the support matches how you prefer to learn, too. If you’re a reader, make sure it has written material. If you’re more of a video watcher, make sure it has comprehensive training videos. If you have a lot of people to train at once on the CRM, it’s a good idea to make sure the CRM company can accommodate that with a webinar.
7. Is there a free trial period?
You’ll want to take the CRM for a test run before you commit to it and any legitimate company will have no problem letting you do this. If you’re working solo or you are part of a small team, it’s fairly easy to test out a CRM.
If you are deciding on a CRM for a large real estate firm with lots of brokers, choose a test team. The team should be diverse in age and computer savviness to make sure everyone can learn and use the system easily.
8. Is the system worth the price?
CRM services can be expensive when purchased by individual agents or small teams. However, if they’re used correctly and if they are designed well, they are still worth the investment. Costs will likely drop dramatically for large brokerages or franchises with hundreds of employees, but the same principles for choosing a CRM still apply and, in fact, are even more important. When you’re deciding on a CRM for a large company, you better choose wisely, because finding out it’s not a good fit after you’ve implemented it is going to be a huge headache.
CRMs are wonderful tools for real estate firms, but choosing the right one can be daunting with such a crowded market. Take your time, do your research, whittle your short list down to three and take each one for a test spin for a week.
Once you find the one that works for you, you’ll be thankful you did.
One other thing that any real estate agent can use is a fantastic business video. Click here to schedule an appointment with WizMotions to see how we can help you make the perfect business video.