It has come to my attention that people are looking to my new book to help them pick which contact manager to use. The book does not help you pick one specific CRM by itself, for two reasons.
1) Real Estate Contact Managers/CRMs are constantly changing
2) The Comparison Matrix is regularly updated by the vendors
So why read the book?
All you have to do to get a sense of how little you know about what is involved in purchasing a CRM, is to think about how much bad information is out there about Real Estate agents and the industry in general. In all likelihood, you are as under informed and misinformed about CRMs, as the public is about Real Estate.
So although the Matrix compares all the CRMs, the book explains what features are available, how to use the features, what realistic expectations are, how to understand the comparisons between the products, and much much more.
I have spoken with at least several agents each day for the last couple years about CRM. They tell me what they have used, what they want and why they want it. When I ask them to explain their needs and preferences, virtually without exception they are making those decisions without understanding the facts and concepts behind them.
In my experience, most agents put more time into researching a cell phone purchase than they do in selecting their Contact Manager/CRM. This is one of the causes for people spending a great deal of time and money unneccesarily because every year or three, they switch to another CRM.
If you do your research about CRMs on the Internet or by talking to other people, you are gathering a great deal of biased opinion, but very little well rounded and comprehensive fact. Some examples:
- People are almost always mistaken about the upsides and downsides to having your data online in a Web based CRM, versus offline on a desktop solution. The whole concept of Web based solutions "holding your data hostage" is almost completely misunderstood, as very few people know to consider that regardless of what data is exported from one CRM, at least as important is the issue of what data can be imported into the next. So don't you want to know exactly what data you can export, and then import?
- The concept of your data being always readily available and not having to be backed up on a Web based product is only a partial picture when you take into account that if you accidentally delete 500 contacts from your database, that you can easily recover from that mistake with a Web based CRM. This is simply not true in many cases. So how do you compensate for that potential issue?
- Additionally, there is a great deal of outright disinformation about products that is stated by disgruntled users who are angry with a provider, whose sole purpose in posting is to simply cost them business. An examination of why they are upset often reveals the fact that the user is simply ignorant, had unrealistic expectations about the product, or that they decided midway through a contract that they wanted out, and the vendor would not let them. These issues are not the vendors fault, yet the disinformation gets posted in the guise of valid criticism. So how do you sift through it all?
- Another false assumption by many is that e-mail and contact management have to be accomplished on two different programs. That is probably the single biggest inefficiency in which agents regularly engage. So what should be done instead?
These are only four examples of many about which people make decisions based on incomplete, biased, or false information.
How can you know what features you want in your CRM, when you don't know what it is that is available, or even have a correct understanding of what the features truly mean to you? You can't.
So before you decide against buying the book because it does not help you choose between specific contact managers, consider that it is virtually impossible to make a well informed, wise choice without reading it first. That is, after all, why I wrote it!