Introduction to CRM
When we’re coaching realtors at our firm, we often talk about CRM. For those unfamiliar with the term, one of their first questions is what is a CRM?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, a crucial concept in all sales, and certainly crucial in real estate sales. You’ve got long-term client relationships and you need to make sure you can manage those relationships over a long-term period of time. Everything starts with a good customer relationship management and it’s certainly what we teach here at My Townhome.
Our first recommendation to realtors when it comes to developing and maintaining relationships is making sure that you have a system that’s in place. If I go way back 20 plus years in my career, this started with a legal pad or a day planner, making sure that I wrote down each one of the clients that I had, new relationships that I had developed. It’s there to track follow-up, making sure that you’re calling somebody on a timely basis so that you can be there again to serve their needs. As technology grew, we wanted to be able to harness the power of that technology.
We have an online web-based CRM platform that we use here at My Townhome which is something that enables folks to be able to log in real-time to add all those contacts in, making sure that no client is falling through the cracks. As you can imagine, as you start to get more and more clients in your database, you really do need a tool that’s easy to navigate so that you can manage those prospects. Now learning the tool, in its own right, that’s something that requires a lot of education and a lot of training and we do that here as well. We want to make sure that everybody knows how to use this tool at its maximum capacity and use every little tip and technology that we have embedded in the tool itself.
As with anything, there are some common mistakes we have seen over the years relating to customer relationship management. The biggest one is also from the beginning of my career. I had a lot of great opportunities through new construction and meeting a lot of people when I first started out in the real estate business. The biggest mistake that I saw was not developing a CRM system early enough in my career. It should be the first step that each realtor takes. We’ve talked about the fact that your whole goal is to get more customers, to have more people that are in your network. Which means it’s important that you stop and make sure that you learn how to navigate that kind of software, and learn to develop your own system so that you can have everyone accounted for and you know what the follow-up points are.
Going back and doing that retroactively is very difficult. Not to say it can’t happen, we’ve got veteran agents who come into the firm and that’s one of the things that we’re doing, we’re going back into their sphere of past clients and we’re putting them into the CRM system so that they can properly manage them from that point forward. But don’t skip that step. As salespeople, we want to go out and find every lead we possibly can, but we shouldn’t skip the step of slowing down and getting a sound foundation by developing that CRM system.
It is so important to set up the customer relationship management system early on in the process because otherwise you’re losing opportunities. You’re losing the ability to effectively and efficiently manage your client database every day that passes that you don’t have that in place. Again, these are life lessons learned. If I could do it all over again, I would lay the foundation first and have the CRM tool in place and make sure that I was capturing all that information so that I could effectively work it.
Another thing that comes out of that is a learning experience. You can figure out what you’re doing well and what you’re not doing well because it becomes very apparent. When you have somebody in a CRM system you can say, “Gosh. I missed this lifecycle event that occurred and that led to us not working together, the client broker relationship.” Or, “Gosh. My follow-up on this was not where it needed to be.” Or, “I had a referral that came in and did I properly manage that? Did I reach out to that person when I should have?” I think all of that comes from not having that system in place and being able to follow step one, two, three, and make sure that you are doing everything that you need to in order to promote your own business and service your clients.
Once you’ve laid the foundation and have a CRM in place, that’s when the fun begins. Now we’re talking about lead development. We’re going to identify the sources where we can get each one of those leads, but we don’t have enough time to go into that now. In a follow-up post, I’m going to go through developing your lead sources and how we can really start to pack that CRM full of some great opportunities.
My Maison is a skilled group of Residential Real Estate Professionals, serving the Charlotte, NC housing market. The realtors at My Maison are highly trained experts in listing and marketing single family homes for sale.