Making the time to learn it!
Note the use of the word making as opposed to getting the time. It is so very important to understand that this one point can make all the difference in the world. You can be someone who implements the CRM and reaps the benefits, or someone who eventually simply regrets spending the money, and blames it on the CRM. Maybe you have heard the time management axiom that a meeting takes as long as the time you allot to it. The same goes for your real estate day. You can't keep putting off learning your CRM until the time that you need to spend with it presents itself. For many of us, that time just does not come. When you put one hour into learning your new CRM first thing in the morning, before you answer any calls or e-mails, you get it done! Then, you somehow miraculously manage to get everything else you need to get done that day, done! Of course if you can devote larger blocks of time up front to get comfortable with it, all the better.
DO NOT BUY A CRM…
unless you are committed to learning to use it as more than just a glorified Rolodex. If that is all you are going to use it for, stick with Google or Outlook or some other contact manager.
As a real estate licensee, we wear many hats. No one likes them all, and learning software is one that many distinctly dislike. There are those who will tell you that the reason most agents do not use a CRM is because they are too complex and they need to be easier. An entire generation of real estate specific CRM’s was born in 2006. There was a theme emerging and that was to make them easier to learn. What it turned out to be in some cases though, was that CRM’s were being dumbed down to the point where they were no longer CRM’s. They were contact managers. An overly basic CRM is essentially a contact manager. A CRM is far more robust than a contact manager, so regardless of how well it is presented, or how intuitive it is, you still need to take a good bit of time to learn it. You learned how to use Google or Outlook, MS Word, and maybe MS Publisher or MS Excel too. You spent hour after hour playing with them with no support and no training, until you got a handle on them, and never complained because you had no choice. What is so different about learning a CRM? If you want to profit by what a good powerful CRM does, then you need to invest the time to learn it.
You do not have to like the time you invest into becoming proficient with a good CRM.
But if you want to grow your business, while having more of a life, with less stress, with less mistakes, with better service, with less staff, with more compliments, with more referrals, then you need it.
Make that determination right here and now. In order to accomplish the above, you must make a commitment to investing the time to learn how to use a CRM. You then must either create, or purchase and tweak pre-written e-mails and letters, fliers, post cards, prospect follow-up campaigns, etc. This does not have to be done all at once! It’s an elephant. Eat it one bite at a time!
Note that at no point so far has the financial investment been mentioned. That was done purposefully to illustrate just how inconsequential the dollar investment is, in contrast to the investment of time. It is easy for the person not spending the money to say, but none-the-less it is very true.
To address cost, they are all over the board.
You can get very basic desktop CRM’s that are actually closer to contact mangers than they are CRM’s, for free, For true real estate CRMs, they start for as little as $179/yr. or as much as hundreds of dollars per month for SAAS products for teams. The most important thing that can be said of cost is to bear in mind that you should never start with a less expensive one, planning to move to a more expensive one later. You will lose the difference in cost many times over. The time wasted on a new learning curve alone makes it a bad choice. Another significant loss is the data itself. When moving from one real estate CRM to another, you will very rarely be able to move anything but your contact data. All the other information such as transaction history, email templates, fliers and the like don't transfer. There are very few real estate CRMs that export that information. Then the issue is that very few real estate CRMs are capable of importing those things. Try to get the right one the first time! It's a heck of a lot better in the long run.
I can tell you which ones import and export which data. If you have questions, I have answers!