CRM, that's Customer Relationship Management, is a valuable tool that's underutilized by many real estate professionals. Actually, it's far more than a tool; it's an approach to doing business that builds and improves business. Let's look at it from a straight nomenclature point of view.
You notice this isn't "prospect," "lead," or "site visitor." It's customer. So, we should immediately start out with the knowledge that this isn't a tool or process directed solely at someone we're trying to gain as a customer or client. It's much more broad, a process that will assure that we reach not only people who aren't yet using our services, but those who are already.
It's not "us against them," or "us marketing to them," or "our process and their buying-in." It's about building a relationship with virtually everyone in our sphere of contact. Though we may end up grouping them into "prospects," "clients," "support personnel," etc., they're all a potential source of business. Our relationship with each individual will be built upon their needs more so than ours.
Though we will be responding to our database and contacts in ways that meet their needs and solve their problems, we must manage that process. We not only manage the process but the data and information that helps us to accomplish our mission. We're never managing the people, only the data and our interactions with them.
So, if we consider CRM to be a business plan and process that is involved in every phase of our business, we can build a better CRM system and use it to build a larger and better business. It involves:
- Follow-up prospect communications
- Working sellers for listings
- Working with buyers for sales
- Solving problems for customers and getting them to closings
- Communicating with past clients for referrals and follow-up service
- Communicating with real estate support vendors to better serve our customers
- Managing large amounts of data and retaining files for transactions
In one respect, everyone, no matter how they get into our CRM database is a customer of sorts. We serve the title company with information, the appraiser, the surveyor, and virtually every vendor involved in the process through our coordination skills and transaction management. We're also the customer of many of these vendors as well. It's a relationship, and we're going to consider everyone as a current or potential customer, and we'll manage our relationship with them for maximum positive results.
Marketing & Lead Generation
If we're considering everyone we deal with in any way as a part of our CRM database, then just about everything we do in our business will be involved in managing it. Our advertising and marketing, whether in print, on the Internet or in other media, integrates with several important facets of CRM. Using the Web as an example, we have websites and blogs, as well as using social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to prospect and communicate.
Prospect & Customer Communication
Communication with those in our database is crucial, and the more efficient, the better. So, when we're doing direct mail, and especially the much more popular email communications, they should integrate with our website, blog and social networking to make the process more efficient, as well as to accumulate data and a record of our communications in one place for easy and efficient access when we need it.
Task & Transaction Management
This involves extensive communication, document creation, control and filing, as well as a huge number of tasks to keep complex real estate transactions on track through closing. There are notes, contracts, meetings and tasks, and they are all related to one or more of those contacts in our CRM database.
It only stands to reason that CRM is far more than just working leads and prospects. Since that's the case, having a single system that's integrated from the first marketing approach through the closing and subsequent customer follow-up is just going to improve the way we do business and help us to grow. Here's how RealtySoft
provides their real estate professional users with an end-to-end real estate CRM
system that accomplishes their goals.
There's nothing like organization and complete integration when you're in your CRM system. The Internet is changing the way in which we communicate, and we need to get on top of Customer Relationship Management as an integrated business process.