In commercial real estate brokerage, the contact management system (CRM) that you choose and use will be a major factor in building your business. That being said, I see so many agents struggle with spreadsheets and primitive ways of recording contact information. Whilst the cheap alternatives are available, they can have limitations and thereby make it hard for results to be achieved.
Real CRM Facts
Here are some facts about the industry to be remembered as you consider your database or contact management processes:
- We must talk to a lot of people in an ongoing way every working day.
- It takes about 3 or 4 approaches to the same people to move the contact to a meeting.
- Given that we talk to many people, issues and comments must be tracked to give the ongoing contact process any meaning.
- There are many different categories of people such as sellers, buyers, landlords, and tenants. They must be grouped for meaningful interaction.
- Some of the people that we talk to will be VIP’s and on that basis should be treated differently.
From these five facts you can see why a spreadsheet is just too primitive for the CRM process. If you want more clients, listings, and commissions you have to do something better than a spreadsheet. So what can you do? Here are some facts to help you make better database and contact management decisions:
- There are inexpensive alternatives – If you research the available options you will find that there are plenty of inexpensive database solutions. Most of them are cloud based today which makes them really easy to access, and quite secure from a data protection perspective. For as little as $25 to $40 per calendar month you will find something to use online. A good example would be Zoho, which is professionally structured for sales professionals, and also economical in use.
- Email integration – You will be sending out plenty of emails over time. Make sure that your software system integrates with and tracks your emails. Added to that will be the capability to load attachments and store them separately for recall with the contact.
- Auto responder – You will also want an auto responder capability so that you can send out plenty of brochures and emails in an automatic way. That strategy is valuable when you have campaigns and special properties listed. As your database grows in size, the automatic capabilities of sending messages in a personalised way will be valuable.
- Meetings and conversations – When you connect with a person, record the results in your database for later reference. Small pieces of information today, can be leads in the future.
- Create a pipeline of contact – Over time you should have repeat involvement with your prospects and thereby you will need ‘staged contact processes or pipelines where your involvement moves through a series of stages and steps. That is how you create prospect conversion.
- Mobile telephone access – Ensure that you can access all of your contact detail on your smartphone. It is remarkable just how common it is to need that database information whilst you are in the car or out in your territory.
- Segment your list – Split your contacts up into groups as you enter them into your contact management system. Remember that some of those contacts will be of higher value than others so a VIP segment of your list will be useful.
Simple steps like these help you get your property contacts under control and your leads matched to opportunities. Choose the right database software and start using it in commercial real estate brokerage so that sales and leasing transactions start to flow.