The world of real estate runs on good client relationships. And any agent who’s ready to take their business to the next level uses a Customer Relationship Management system to track all of those relationships. But what does CRM mean in real estate? In this post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about CRM systems and how to use them to maximize your real estate business.
What We’ll Cover
- Get Your Database Right
- Why You Should Use a CRM System
- How to Pick the Right CRM For You
- CRM Features to Maximize Your Database
Get Your Database Right
If you’re a newer Realtor looking to scale your business, you might wonder, “What does CRM mean in real estate?” But before you consider using a CRM system, you have to take into account the size of your database. The functionality you’ll need will depend on how many names you have on your list.
If you have less than a hundred people, a CRM system might not be right for you at the moment. You can simply use an Excel spreadsheet to track your client’s information and keep your touches manual until you grow a little more.
Touches are all the points of contact you have with the people on your list. These can include phone calls, texts, in-person events, invitations to lunch or coffee, or handwritten cards and letters.
Once you reach 100 people, you can begin looking at some lower-level CRM systems. Most of them let you import your Excel spreadsheet directly into their system.
To get the most out of your CRM, organize your database into different segments before you import. For example, differentiate between your sphere of influence, internet leads, and the people likely to give you referrals.
Keep Sphere of Influence Manual
Continue working manually with your sphere of influence list, even if you get a CRM system. Developing your sphere of influence will be where you spend most of your time and money, because strengthening these relationships will ultimately bring your business the most success.
Why You Should Use a CRM System
When it comes to your database, you should constantly be managing it. People will fall in and out of your sphere of influence, and you’ll always be discovering new leads that seem more likely to give you referrals than others.
This upkeep takes a lot of manual data entry. A CRM system can help you save time and is essential to scaling your business. If you have a list of at least 100 people or more, you can start looking into a good quality CRM system. One answer to the question “What does CRM mean in real estate?” is automation. CRM systems can automate processes such as:
- Data Entry
- Generate Leads
- Find and Organize Sales Opportunities
When you’re looking at different types of CRMs, you need to keep your goals in mind so you can find the right one for your needs.
There are many CRMs out there, from inexpensive to pricier options. Some popular ones are:
- Agent Legend - $99 - $199 per month
- BoomTown - $1,000+ per month
- Commission’s Inc - $1,500+ per month
- Firepoint - $499 per month
- Follow Up Boss - $79 per month
- kvCORE - $500 to $800 per month
- LionDesk - $25 per month
- Top Producer - $45 to $85 per month
- Wise Agent - $25 per month
- Zurple - $300 per month
How To Pick the Right CRM System For You
Find a CRM system within your budget. You can find options for $20 per month on the low end, and $1,000 per month on the high end. Others are completely free. If you join a brokerage, they might offer a CRM included when you become a member. I personally use kvCORE because my brokerage provides it.
If you’re wondering, “What does CRM mean in real estate?” another aspect to consider before you buy one is your business goals. For example, if you only have 100 people in your database, you probably won’t need more advanced features such as automatic texting. And if you focus on your sphere of influence and don’t work with internet leads, you probably won’t need to pay for a separate smart number. Start with something that fits your needs and move up over time as your business scales.
Consider how easy the CRM system is for you to use. CRM systems take a little bit of time upfront to learn, and it isn’t the type of thing that you can just set and forget. You have to learn how to use the CRM system and commit to managing it daily. If this is your first time working with a CRM, choose something that isn’t too technical or advanced.
CRM Features to Maximize Your Database
Front End Website
Many CRM systems come with front-end websites in addition to a back-end database. They communicate with one another to turn your website visitors into leads. The CRM also allows you to tailor their experience to fit their needs.
For example, you can see which properties they are looking at on the front-end of your site. Then on the back end of the database, you can set them up on a saved search for their market, which will send them similar properties straight to their inbox.
The CRM systems that offer this type of functionality tend to be on the higher end of the price range, typically starting at around $500 and going up to $1500 per month.
Saved Search Emails
Saved searches are a great way to stay top of mind with your leads who are in the market for a new home. Even if they already own a home, you can set them up on a saved search anyway, so they know what’s going on in their neighborhood if they ever decide to sell their home in the future.
Set up saved searches on day one for your entire database that you can stay top of mind with them. Even if someone isn’t looking for a home themselves, they might know someone who is, and can forward your email along to them. Getting in someone’s inbox daily, weekly, or monthly will have the added effect of making you appear more professional as well.
Saved searches also present a huge opportunity to add value to your sphere of influence. For example, if you know someone is living in an apartment, you can do a bit of research to determine how much rent they pay and then send them houses where their mortgage payment would be the same amount. If you don’t know exactly what type of home they’re looking for, just do a general search for the average home in their market.
Another feature that you should look for in your CRM is an IDX connection. IDX stands for Internet Data Exchange, and it’s a method by which you can connect the MLS to your website.
It gives clients and potential lead sources the ability to visit your site and search for properties the same way they would on Realtor.com or Zillow. From there, you can send them similar properties straight to their inbox.
This is a feature that you typically find on less expensive CRM systems that don't come with a full front-end website. The IDX feature allows you to connect the CRM to your existing website using plugins or widgets (add-ons for you website). It gives you the same functionality as a full, all-in-one CRM (front end website plus back-end database) at a much lower price.
Keep Track of Your Touches in One Place
If you’re wondering what does CRM mean in real estate, organization is a key aspect to consider. Your CRM system allows you to keep track of all the times you’ve reached out to the people in your database. For example, how many emails you’ve sent to them, the text conversations you’ve had, and what properties they’re looking at on your site.
This way, you can remember the last time you contacted a lead and what you spoke about in your conversation. Then when the time comes for you to contact them again, you’ll be more prepared.
However, your CRM won’t be able to automatically track manual touches such as physical cards, letters, phone calls, social media messages, and events of yours that they’ve attended. Instead, you will have to make notes in that person’s profile of the manual methods you use to contact them.
It’s essential to track these manual touches so that you can remember the last time you sent them handwritten cards and stay on top of sending them future ones.
CRMs let you send automated texts to your database and log all of the text conversations with them. However, remember to keep texts to your sphere of influence manual.
Automatic texting isn’t a must-have unless you have hundreds of leads in your database or work with internet leads. A CRM system can give you a unique smart number that you can use to communicate with internet leads that you don’t feel comfortable sharing your actual phone number with.
Some CRM systems give you the ability to create landing pages and squeeze pages right out of the system to help you efficiently catch internet leads and get more conversions.
After a visitor has looked at a certain number of properties or spent a certain amount of time on your website, your CRM system will prompt them to fill out a lead registration form if they want to keep looking. Once they register, they will be marked as a lead and sent into your CRM database.
Final Thoughts on What Does CRM Mean in Real Estate?
So, what does CRM mean in real estate? A CRM system helps you if you get busy by automating communication processes and helping you stay organized. Investing in a good CRM system will pay itself back as your business quickly grows.
When you’re just starting, don’t be afraid to try new things with your CRM and test different functionalities. Over time as your business scales and your database grows, you can optimize a bit more and start exploring more expensive CRMs.
Which CRM system are you thinking of using? If you already use one, what has the experience been like? Let me know in the comments below, I'd love to hear from you!