How to Make Your Real Estate CRM Actually Work for You

For many real estate professionals, CRM’s are a completely boring and uninteresting topic. Nothing takes the wind out of the sails faster than contemplating getting behind the computer and doing all the boring, mundane data entry and records upkeep that comes with managing a CRM. Real Estate professionals are social creatures – motivated by human connections and seeking (and capitalizing) on the next opportunities; and most CRM’s are a hassle that get in the way of the fun stuff, akin to eating your vegetables or visiting the Dentist.

Why is a CRM Important?

However, for a business where the real estate professional is essentially turning their time and contacts into money, few tools can be as effective as a properly implemented, highly efficient CRM system. A good CRM does just what the name implies – Contact Management System – making it possible to manage more people, and vastly increase the likelihood that they’ll be converted into clients. Without a CRM, most real estate professionals can only juggle a small number of prospects before things get unwieldy, and all too often prospects that could become clients end up slipping between the cracks.

Why do most CRM’s suck?

The problem with most CRM’s is they ask for too much minutiae, they take too much time, and real estate professionals don’t really know how to use them effectively. Real Estate professionals need quick, simple, and easy in and out, and most CRM’s are the opposite of that.

Most recently I was setting up a CRM at Homestead Title, and the CRM company’s onboarding team was constantly surprised because I was asking to take functionality and extra steps out of the system, instead of adding more bells and whistles. I knew full well that if we brought some overwrought, complicated contraption to the team, we’d have essentially zero chance for uptake. Instead, we implemented a streamlined system that minimized time required in the system and provided the least hassle possible; and it became a system the sales team actually utilized – not because they had to, but because they saw the benefits and it was relatively easy to use.

How to Make Your CRM Work for You

A good CRM only needs to do three things, and possibly a fourth as a bonus:

1.  Capture the prospect’s contact information (cell phone, email, address)
2.  Record time-stamped notes
3.  Schedule tasks
4.  Any automated drip-campaigns or property alerts that can be sent to the prospect on a “set-it-and-forget basis” (bonus)

And there are only two functions required for getting actual results and ensuring that your CRM is effective in supporting your sales effort:

1.  Adding new contacts to the system. This means:
•  Entering new prospects’ contact information, after meeting them or first connecting
•  Adding a note – as in where you met them, what their needs might be, and when they might be ready to buy or sell
•  Scheduling a task (phone call, email, text message, etc.) for when you plan to next follow up with the prospect *this is key!

2.  Checking and executing your Task List daily (or at least most days). This means:
•  Making your call, text or sending that email
•  Updating the time-stamped notes (for example: “left a message”; or “had a great conversation, planning to start their home search in a couple weeks. Want to meet with me on Friday to go over they buyer consultation”)
•  Scheduling your next task (for example, schedule the next call attempt if you left a message, or schedule that buyer consultation for Friday)

Keys to Success with your CRM

The key to success is, as long as you always have the next task scheduled, and you’re consistently checking and working your task list, no prospect will ever slip between the cracks. Plus, every time you reach out, you’ll know exactly why you’re calling and what you’re discussing because you’ll have that information handy in the notes you’ve been keeping. Or, if you’re leaving messages, you’ll have a good track record of how many attempts you’ve made so far, and how far to space out the next attempt or when it’s time to give up on a prospect or push them further down the road.

So, whichever CRM system you are utilizing, make it simple, simple, simple, and easy, easy, easy. Just use the core functionality mentioned above, with the emphasis on populating and working your task list. As we all know, success in sales comes from consistency and persistence of effort, and utilizing your CRM in this simple way gives you the best chance to get into the system regularly and have the quality of data entry needed for it to be effective.

With proper CRM usage, before too long you’ll see you’ve upped the volume of people you’re working and increased the conversion rate per prospect, all of which translates to more clients and more commissions; and that’s how a good CRM pays you back.

– Philip Kranefuss, VP of Sales @ Homestead Title and Escrow