Simply put, customer relationship management (CRM) is the art of connecting with new clients, keeping in touch with those clients, and analyzing those clients’ wants and needs. You can then use that relationship and data associated with that client to close on sales, generate revenue, and provide excellent customer service along the way.
Managing clients is crucial in the real estate industry
Managing customer relationships is important in any sales environment, but it is especially critical for real estate agents. In a 2017 report, the National Association of REALTORS ® (NAR) estimated that the average Realtor earned 13% of their business from repeat clients and 18% through referrals.
That’s a sizeable chunk of business that’s directly tied to customer interactions -- but if you’ve worked in the real estate industry for any length of time you probably already know that those statistics don’t tell the whole story. In reality, how agents meet and manage clients is the deciding factor between success and failure. And this is exactly where CRM systems come into play.
How can a CRM help you?
The most basic CRM software packages will allow you to easily manage and search through your client database. Let’s say you suddenly have a new property on your hands: it’s a 3-bedroom/2-bath home with an attached in-law suite. Out of your hundreds of contacts, you can think of several who would be interested...but you have this nagging feeling that someone was really adamant about having that attached suite. If you have a CRM system, figuring out who to show your property to should be as simple as searching for “in-law suite”. You quickly and efficiently deliver exactly what your client wants and you get paid faster and with a lot less stress.
There are a ton of CRM systems on the market and most of them provide services beyond this basic customer database management. For example, Top Producer ® CRM offers multiple listing service (MLS) integration and Contactually is lauded for its excellent suite of email tools.
As two of the most popular CRM systems on the market, Top Producer ® and Contactually can demand a steep price for their software. Top Producer’s ® CRM starts at $40/user/month and Contactually’s basic plan costs $39/user/month. But it’s worth noting that many agents find these basic plans restrictive and will likely upgrade to more expensive bundles. In general, CRM systems cost between $10/user/month and $100/user/month, though premium plans can cost upwards of $200/user/month.
If you're not ready to commit money to a CRM system, start with the basics
If these prices make you wince, don’t worry: customer relationship management isn’t about buying the flashiest or most expensive software bundle out there. At its core, CRM is about organizing your clients and communications in a systematic way so that you don’t miss out on potential sales. If you really don’t want to spring for a CRM system, this could be done with something as simple as an Excel spreadsheet.
No matter your method, if you have some form of CRM system in place, you’re well on your way to increasing your sales volume, improving customer retention, and providing top-notch customer service (which will, of course, lead to stronger and more frequent referrals).
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