As a real estate agent, you engage in customer relationship management (CRM) every day, even if you don’t have a specific system put in place yet. Without such a system, however, your leads will almost always make decisions that have nothing to do with the sales process as you need it, and everything to do with sheer circumstance, where you’re forgotten and left out of sight. How can you reverse the situation to make sure your leads are staying with you?
Having the right CRM for real estate incorporated into your marketing and sales is the No.1 step to take. But what is really going to make all the difference is how you’re actually using that CRM system and which shortcuts help you make the most of it.
Would you believe that as much as 80 per cent of leads are either lost, not having proper documentation created for them, or simply never followed up? These are stats that Yankee Group, a global research and technology consultancy, announced recently.
With a real estate CRM, that will never happen for at least one good reason: all info about each lead is carefully saved within one central customer database and you can find it at a moment’s notice. Using a variety of CRM features, you’ve got so many ways to stay on top of people’s minds, sending them valuable home-buying information, latest properties and market offers to consider and much more. In other words, you prove that your knowledge and expertise don’t exist in a bubble.
Why a CRM for real estate agents is a must, always
Why do people buy homes from a particular agent? Why are some real estate agents more successful than others for that matter?
You can come up with at least a dozen suggestions right away. Nice home designs, good customer service, better neighborhoods, affordable prices, etc. – and all of these are right ones.
However, here’s yet another factor which you probably won’t calculate with any metric – how people feel about your service. You can offer beautiful houses in gorgeous neighborhoods at great prices, only to find yourself totally stuck with sales. What’s wrong, then?
As CRMguru.com founder Bob Thompson explains in his “Successful CRM: Turning Customer Loyalty into Profitability” white paper, it’s the way your customer actually feels about your service that can make or break a deal.
And this is where a CRM system comes in. It won’t help you sell better houses, condos or villas. They’ll be pretty much the same as your competition has, as well as the sales methods everyone’s using. In other words, just properties and prices won’t give you a long-term advantage over other agents and won’t bring you a flood of referrals and reviews you need in order to sell.
What a CRM for real estate really does for you is helping you get seen as a true differentiator – as a real estate agent who offers an incredibly higher level of service and differs from the rest of the agents in your area. Homebuyers will never leave this unnoticed. With a CRM, you put your clients in the center and communicate the right info at the right time. Then you analyze what works best and repeat it. It’s as simple as that.
As you can imagine, this makes your customers happier with buying from you. That’ll bring you much more valuable – and long-term – connections with your current customers and a whole new pool of referrals you’d otherwise put years to gain.
So what you need to do is create a strong positive feeling about your agency and stay on top of people’s minds. A CRM for real estate agents is probably one of the most powerful and effective tools to advance this end.
Here are 5 highly relevant and proven formulas to help you follow up and nurture your leads, and create a constant positive buzz around your agency that helps you totally stand out from the competition.
#1. Automate, but stay personal
As an agent using a CRM, you’ll always encounter this struggle between automation and personalization. As you grow your customer database, it’s easy to lose that personal touch you had when communicating to people. As a result, your follow up can sometimes sound robotic and lag behind. Surely, that’s not what you need.
So how to reach a perfect balance?
Formula: with new leads, use automatic messaging. Carefully track how they’re progressing within your sales funnel and, over time, send them personalized messages based on their preferences (which your CRM system will always show you).
With older leads, focus on automating the reminder to follow them up, not the follow up message itself. This message must be fresh and personal, as these leads are much closer to conversion. You’d want to make sure they won’t be forgotten, but get the kind of purchasing info that will finally convert them into paying customers.
#2. Follow up every day
Consistency is one of the things that makes a total difference between a successful and under-performing agents. It goes well beyond occasionally sending a few emails and cross the lead out of your list when no response.
Consistency demands daily work. Every day, you should follow up. This way not only you catch up with your leads permanently, you also simplify your work and stay productive.
Formula: break down things into doable pieces. Make sure to do 5 follow ups a day, whether it’s calls, emails or social messages, carefully saving the outcome of each conversation in your CRM for future records. After all, what would you like to do more: 5 follow ups a day, or 150 at the end of a month?
You can always scale how many follow ups you should do depending on your customer database. Sometimes you may need more or less that 5 touchpoints.
#3. Become an expert in at least 2 lead generation techniques
Obviously, the more lead generation techniques you have mastered, the better. But not all of them will work for you. In fact, just a certain fraction of all those ways will actually bring you leads.
The key is to figure out what works for you and do it like crazy. Whether it’s getting more active on social media, blogging, writing new neighborhood pages, or collecting more real estate agent reviews, make sure you repeat these activities all the time. Your CRM system will show you exactly what’s the best thing to focus on.
Not only this will save you a great deal of time and frustration, but you’ll also quickly notice how much easier it became for you to understand what people really like and what makes them tick.
Formula: find out 2 most successful lead generation tactics and maximize the time spent on them.
If that’s a blog – consider publishing more content like the one that resonated with your audience most of all. If that’s any particular follow up email you’ve been sending out that got you huge response rates – make sure to use it with the other leads, where appropriate. You definitely grasped the point.
#4. Refine your messages and make them meaningful
Oftentimes, this is the most daunting part for most real estate agents. What should I write about? What questions should I ask? Is there anything else I can ask to make them respond finally?
Truth is the content of your email builds you a reputation. People will either see you as a knowledgeable agent with a warm and helpful approach, or will mark your emails as annoying and will make a mental note to stop opening them.
The key is for your emails to have a little personality and offer valuable information that people will appreciate. Here are a few tips on how to improve your messaging instantly:
- avoid phrases like “just checking in’, or “it’s been a while since we last talked”. It usually takes at least 7+ contacts to close the deal and if you use these phrases for your every email, people can end up wondering if their agent knows some other words apart from “just checking in”;
- always focus your email on the benefits for your leads, especially in a subject line and at the beginning. People want to instantly see the reason why they should read your email. If it explains their benefits, they will check it out top to bottom;
- share news. Whether it’s a market update, a drop in prices, latest properties on the market, or local event that everyone’s got excited about – send the news over to your clients;
- educate. If you just made a new homebuyer’s guide, or published some interesting piece of content on your blog, make sure it’s part of your messaging. This info is valuable for people, and you’ll never find yourself unsure what to write about ever again;
- don’t be afraid to show you’re following up. If you haven’t heard from that lead for months, and this condo can as well be sold within a few weeks, the best way is to ask directly if that person is still interested. And yes, it’s perfectly ok to use the phrase “following up” in the email.
Formula: focus on the key things that your clients might find interesting and make them the core of your follow up emails. By avoiding cliches like “just checking in”, and providing some valuable information, you’ll get a much higher response rate.
#5. Try and test the frequency of touchpoints
Funny enough, one of the golden rules of follow up is to “follow up”. Remember those stats we mentioned at the beginning of this post? 80 per cent of leads are simply not followed up. So good news is merely responding with at least something gets you far ahead in the game.
How often should you follow up? No single and proven stats here, sorry. Instead, remember about this most important tip: persistence is the key. An average lead does not get that much attention, judging from the numbers we’ve talked about. Moreover, some stats show that a salesperson involves with the lead only 1.3 times on average.
Just by increasing the number of follow ups to 7, you end up with 70 per cent higher probability of securing that lead and selling your properties. Surely, that’s an opportunity not to be missed, right?
Formula: always make at least 7 attempts to outreach to your leads, be it via email, phone, or social media. Carefully save the outcomes of all conversations into the database of your CRM to analyze them and scale what works.
#6. Don’t miss a single lead, even if they’re ignoring you for months
Low prospects. People who never respond to your follow ups, no matter what you write. If you’ve been a bit disappointed with this, don’t worry: every agent, and every salesperson, has quite a few of such leads in their databases.
Surely, you won’t like the idea of letting those leads go completely, even if you haven’t been chatting with them much. After all, they came to you somehow, and it takes a lot to get new leads, right? And who knows what they decide to do in a few months…
Formula: use your CRM for real estate to automate follow up messages to these leads. It’s usually best of all if the content of your emails is purely educational: local news, market updates, price updates, new listings, etc. This way you still stay connected, but don’t spend a minute of your time on people who are currently just not interested in what you have to offer. And guess who they’ll most likely call, once they’re ready for the next big purchase? That’s right, you 🙂
Simple metrics, powerful insights
Such straightforward metrics like the number of messages sent to the lead before closing the deal, the open rate, the response rate, cost per lead, etc. are incredibly important to your entire marketing and sales process. They do nothing less than point you the right direction to move in. It’s true that without a CRM for real estate, you’d be lost whatsoever.
With the insights from the CRM for real estate, you can always scale what works. Over time, you’ll know exactly how many messages it usually takes you to close the deal on average and what resonates with your clients best of all. In fact, the power of the CRM hinges on the fact that following up with existing leads is always easier than spending a fortune on trying to get the new ones. Your marketing efforts are maximized and you sell more.
By now you have a good understanding of how to master the follow up via your CRM for real estate. The tips from above are easy to apply and you can give them a try right away.
Successful agents all have one remarkable quality: they managed to leverage the power of their database in every facet of their business. That’s what you should focus on next too.
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