In commercial real estate sales and leasing, you need a good database to help you keep in contact with the right people and in the right way. It is your contact with people and the particulars you gather in that process that will help you thrive as an agent in brokerage.
That being said many agents don’t use a CRM system well or sometimes they do not use one at all. They forget the process, or cannot consistently get the calls logged and actioned.
To thrive in commercial real estate as a broker or agent, constant contact with other people is something that you must do, and a software program to control that is important. Spreadsheets are not good enough for the process.
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The common and big problems with the use of CRM systems are usually one or more of the following:
- The salesperson does not know how to use a computer comprehensively and is not comfortable with the process
- The CRM system is not updated regularly by the front line salespeople
- The system cannot integrate with email and brochure despatch
- List modification is hard or slow to undertake
- The system is not flexible enough to capture all the right information for the office or salesperson
- The sales team sees the CRM system as a burden and not a tool of opportunity
- The principal of the office spends a lot of money on a top system only to find that the sales team do not use it due to poor training or commitment
There is a direct link between intense CRM usage and great salespeople. These salespeople integrate the CRM into their business day and will use the CRM as a business tool of advantage.
Consistent Ongoing Contact
The basic fact of commercial real estate is that you must keep in contact with a lot of people, and you cannot do that from the back of your diary. A typical salesperson should be running a database of 1000 people, some of which will be high-end prospects. Some of those will be Key Accounts; ongoing contact is important. How do you do that now?
Before you spend a lot of money on a new CRM system for the office, it pays to sell the concept to the sales team and get their feedback on the process and their commitment to using it.
CRM systems do not have to be expensive, and in the first instance, choose something that is easy to use and migrate databank information to and from. One of the biggest frustrations with many CRM systems is their inability to merge information from another data source.
Data Collation Control
It is easy to think that companies that manufacture common CRM software are trying to protect their product by making their ‘data’ hard to move elsewhere. That can make it difficult for the typical agent or salesperson to migrate data to another system when they want to change CRM suppliers.
When in doubt, use basic list building software from a mainstream supplier until such time that you can find something that is really good to use and not a high cost to buy. Microsoft Access is a good temporary solution.
The database that you use should be something that you are comfortable with and easy to use. You will be the person using it most of the time. Ensure that you can load the information quickly and directly. Also, ensure that you can get to your data easily from remote locations. Can you load your CRM program on your mobile phone? That is a common advantage today.