As real estate professionals, our foundation is built on the people we serve. At my practice in St. Louis, MO, we are quite literally ingrained in the local community, having sold and leased numerous office buildings in the area.
To say our customers are the lifeblood of our operations would be an understatement. With so much riding on our database of customers, it’s equally as important for us to nurture and grow our relationships with every contact to ensure their experience is worthy of continued engagement and referrals.
However, real estate agents are oftentimes expected to be in two places at once—both onsite with clients and online with clients—and I’ve experienced firsthand how stressful that can be. Maintaining marketing emails, calls, and in-person meetings can be a daunting task for agents to organize—especially those like me who run small operations and don’t have the resources to keep track of it all. When I started my business more than 20 years ago, I was managing my contacts on a Rolodex and quickly realized this process would not work for me. When I discovered customer relationship management (CRM) software, it became my saving grace for organizing operations, adjusting to market changes and growing my business.
I feel that every agent should have a CRM tool, so here’s how mine became my lifeline:
Work smarter, not Harder for my clients
When I was juggling so many clients on a Rolodex, it was easy to get people confused, forget important details about a client and blank on my last conversation with them.
When I began using CRM software, I was able to connect with clients on a much deeper level because all the information I needed was at the tip of my fingers within the platform. For example, reminding a client of a conversation we had ten years ago makes them think I’m smarter than the average bear when I’ve invested in a tool with a database to arm me with that knowledge.
Realtors know that every day is different—some days, we are onsite with clients, while others, we are working from our desks. Having a CRM platform has helped me easily meet and connect with contacts anywhere and at any time, as if I’m in two places at once, because it’s accessible via my computer or mobile device.
Gain flexibility to adapt to market changes
With the real estate market constantly changing, we all know that being able to react and respond quickly is the name of the game. When the financial crisis hit in 2007 and 2008, I had to reinvent my business. Fortunately, my CRM enabled me to tap into new global markets, and I was able to connect with investors overseas.
This flexibility enabled me to be agile and reach new clients in different parts of the world during a time when the economy was presenting challenges for my business.
Not only does a CRM platform help me remain agile as the market changes, but it also enables my schedule and calendar to be flexible. With the click of a button, I can have access to contact and task calendars, activities and contact history. This makes scheduling tours and closings a seamless, automatic process without the hassle.
Achieve optimal efficiency to fuel growth
This technology has also allowed me to streamline tasks, like automating customer communications. Now, I receive alerts when clients are in need of a follow-up. Further, I can digitally track properties and stay on the pulse when it comes to property availability and contractual needs to ensure I’m ready for any and all growth opportunities.
With CRM software, I’m also able to effectively manage my growth. Today, my database has grown to more than 15,000 contacts, all of which I am able to proactively nurture because of the tools I have in place—something I could have never done on my Rolodex.
Take it from me—there’s no way I could have grown my business and managed to be in two places at once had I not converted from a Rolodex to a CRM platform. I firmly believe it’s not only the right move for all agents, but the best first step to take is to take the time to research the right CRM platform for your business because not every CRM platform will meet all of your needs.
If you’re in the market for a CRM platform, the best place to start is by taking a full audit of your business. In doing so, you can reflect on how your business is currently operating and performing and use that to inform your decision about the type of platform to invest in. Start by auditing your current practices. For example, I use Act! CRM.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What data do you currently have as paper records?
- What activities does your team currently perform?
- What is collected for data?
- What processes are currently automated?
From there, you will be able to identify what core processes can be supported by a CRM solution, informing your search for the perfect technology match. There are many different CRM platforms to choose from, but finding a platform that can help real estate agents work smarter, more efficiently and within budget, all while remaining flexible, can be the difference between good and great customer experiences.
Hal is the CEO/President of Cardinal Realty Group. He’s the brains and the expert behind the whole operation. Having been active in St. Louis commercial real estate since 1982, he has seen various clients from different parts of the country and the globe make successful real estate transactions. During his 34 years in the industry, Hal has established a reputation as a trusted and renowned expert in leasing retail spaces in St. Louis Metro. Aside from having a keen eye on the best commercial properties in the area, Hal is also noted for being a highly analytical real estate professional. Past clients have applauded his ability to perform “sensitivity” and “what if” analyses so he can help clients make wise financial decisions.