Real Estate CRM 101 - What Should I Look For and What Should I Avoid?

Getting into real estate is a big step and takes a lot of time, money and courage. On top of that, you are told that you need a CRM for your database, but where do you start? What should you look for and what should you avoid? We have spent years going through this with new agents and here is what we found.

What should an agent look for when selecting a CRM?

Agents are bombarded with CRM options. Each platform offers a different edge or angle but ultimately if the CRM doesn’t do the following three things first, then all the bells and whistles don’t really matter. In our opinion those three “must haves” for a CRM are:

1.    Unbelievably Simple to Use. As agents, we don’t get paid to learn a complex CRM. We get paid to do deals. This is why it is so important for any CRM that you select to be unbelievably simple to use. The last thing you want to do is take hours and hours away from your clients trying to learn and re-learn a complex software that is supposed to make life easy when in reality, it just adds stress. We believe that complex CRM’s are a big reason why so many agents don't have a database. It’s just too hard and takes too much time! Don’t succumb to SOS (Shiny Object Syndrome)!

 

2.    Amazing Client Organization. By definition, a CRM must be able to organize your clients amazingly well. For agents, this means their CRM should be able to track all client data, family data, property information, deals, client-specific notes, activities and lastly give agents the ability to contact their clients directly from the CRM. This is crucial, but we believe it’s only the first step. We believe that for a truly amazing client organization experience, it needs to be visual, you need to be able to see at a glance, who needs your attention, who you should be contacting and who is likely your next deal. If your CRM doesn’t do this, you should consider looking elsewhere. A digital whiteboard anyone?

 

3.     Streamlined Activity Management/Calendar. What good are organized clients in a database if you don’t know what you need to do with them? This is why the final required component of any CRM is the ability to streamline your activities and know what you need to do next. Some believe that this means it needs to sync with iCal or Google Calendar but we have found the opposite. Appointments are great for those applications but your client activities and “to do’s”, those should be done seamlessly through your CRM.

 

When looking for a CRM there are going to be a vast number of options and it can become overwhelming. We believe a good approach is to first consider where you are in your business and pick 2 to 3 important requirements for yourself, then narrow the options from there. You know your business best, so it is important to make sure you are making the decision that best suits your needs.

What are some common CRM mistakes agents make?

Working with agents over the years, we have seen a mistake or two along the way when it comes to their CRM's and databases. Fortunately, most are fairly simple to fix and below we have highlighted our top three most common mistakes. 

 

1.    Not having a database. This is the number one most common mistake for agents, fortunately, this is the easiest one to correct! Whether it is Microsoft Excel, Apple Contacts, Google Contacts, a Rolodex or RealOffice360™, we recommend agents pick one place and put all their client data there going forward. Your database is your business and you need to start building this from the start. 

 

2.     Having multiple databases. The second most common mistake we see is agents having a database but locating them disjointed across multiple platforms. While this is better than no database, how can you expect to keep track of your clients if you have little pieces of information all over the place? Once again this is a quick fix and all it takes is for you to commit to one platform and put all the information in one place from here on out! They say the best time to plant a tree is yesterday, the  second-best time? Today!

 

3.     Having a massive database. The final most common mistake that we see with agents and their databases is holding on for too long to all those “clients” that never actually were clients at all. The focus of your database should be on helping you build quality relationships rather than just a massive “data dump”. It is very important that agents continue to update and work their databases every day so that they can keep their focus on building relationships that really matter to provide the best return on their investment. . Why send an awesome Birthday Card to someone who doesn’t really know you? We believe in the Pareto Principle or 80-20 rule, where 80% of results come from 20% of clients. So, it’s hugely important to not get lost trying to simply grow your database but rather find out who those 20% are in your database, that will deliver 80% of your commissions!

If you take one thing away from this, pick a system early and stick with it. Your database is your business and it should be cultivated from day 0!

With ❤️, The RealOffice360™ Team

Mike McAra