Whether you have a current real estate or small business Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system or are considering an investment in one, or maybe you are just switching from your old one to a new one, there are a few tips for CRM set up that you should know.
Why do you need to know the tips for CRM set up?
A CRM will make your life easier and better for your business. It’s a system that can help you keep track of every step of your customer’s journey.
Are you worried because you don’t know anything about IT? And modern, user-friendly real estate CRM set up should be easy enough to build out strategically, without the help of a dedicated database expert. However, we know that this is not normally in our agent wheelhouse, nor did we learn this stuff in real estate school… right?
These CRM set up tips will get you started on setting up your system so that it’s easy to use, standardizes your workflow, gives your and/or your sales team the freedom to succeed, and strengthens your relationships with your customers. Remember, the whole goal of having a CRM is to make a sale. That sale begins with the follow-up in our business. On top of that, without the tools and understanding of how to track and identify your hottest business in your database, your CRM becomes a heavy weight instead of a helpful too. If you are not sure why you need a CRM for your business, check out my blog article on the Reasons You Need CRM Software.
1. Determine the Landscape of your CRM
If you have already used a CRM or haven’t gotten used to it, you’ll want to spend a bit of time getting familiar with your CRM dashboard. It will help you understand what information you need to access most often. Some settings are pretty self-explanatory. Your first step is to look at all the different features it has to offer. By now, you have probably chosen this CRM based on it’s features, so this part you should already know. From there, you should be able to find the necessary points to set you in the right direction for making entries, browsing contacts, and viewing reports.
You may not have used navigational terms before, but here are a few terms that you need to know before really getting started:
Leads: A lead is someone who might become a prospect or customer for your business. I consider a lead someone I have not yet actually had any two-way communication with yet. For example, they have not responded to my email, texts or phone calls. When considering ways to increase your sales, one of the most effective options is to add new qualified leads to your CRM. But, it is ideal do add your leads automatically whenever possible via your CRM integration or Zapier for real estate lead sources. In this instance, you should also be able to instantly communicate via your engaging real estate drip campaign. You can also automate the delivery of leads to your sales team, if you have one.
Prospects: A prospect is someone you have been speaking with but has not yet committed. I usually like to label a prospect as a prospect when they have written me or called me to tell me their story, but also not tell me to get lost.
Active Contacts: Most CRMs will have a designated way of sorting contacts. This is generally used for people, partners, and vendors you already do, or will be doing, business with soon.
Closed Contacts: This is pretty obvious. You completed a successful real estate transaction. Why do you want to designate your contacts a closed? So you can be sure to stay top-of-mind to check in, wish them well on holidays and anniversary of their closing, and most of all get future business from them and ask for referrals. These closed contacts are your best future sales, so do not ignore them! It’s also important in our business to note if they were past buyers or sellers as you should be sending your closed buyers market updates monthly too. You may also consider doing the same for your sellers, even if they move away because they too would like to track their past real estate market for fun (or pain).
Everyone who wants to work remotely should use CRM software to track leads and customers and manage their teams, and then put their time where their skills are most valuable: in front of their screens. Remember… the money is in the follow-up… not lead generation. You real estate CRM is the most important tool in your toolbelt to help you convert your expensive leads to sales.
2. Determine your leads and contacts
When you have your own real estate CRM, you’re working with a database of contacts. Before we get started, let’s first cover how to classify someone of interest to you.
These are just a few basic rules of thumb:
You want to know whether your marketing and promotional efforts are working, then tracking your leads will help. For this reason, I never delete leads that tell me to stop, because once they are gone I have no idea how to determine if my lead source was productive and making me money. You should be able to easily change a status of the lead and get them out of your site within daily searches. If your CRM allows you to add your favorite searches to your home screen with a click, this is highly recommended. Take time to set this up so you are viewing only those prospects with the best potential to do business with you.
When you qualify prospective customers/opportunities, you’ll avoid wasting your time and theirs. Let’s show you how to qualify potential customers/opportunities for the right reasons – before moving them through your sales process.
Many prospective customers come your way at any given time.
This is a good idea for your business. You could skip leads, just keep them as contacts for your business and store them as “stale leads” if they don’t sell. But stale leads can also be revived with a productive re-engagement campaign. I have seen it over and over… so don’t waive goodbye too soon to those old leads. In our business, it could take years before a lead turns into a sale. Just because they are not communicating with you at this momen, doesn’t mean they are not reading and clicking links within your emails and hope to buy or sell some day… so keep up the communication until they tell you to stop, and that includes sending property listings or market updates on a very regular basis. Hopefully your CRM will tell you when your emails have been open and your links have been clicked because these are hot buying signs!!! Need a CRM that does this? Check out my favorite EngageMore CRM.
Start your sales process by getting to know the prospect. This means reviewing the information you received when you got the lead (sign-up form or registration), listening to them, understanding their problems and desires, then following up as needed to ensure that you have all the information you need to close the sale.
You should add all your qualified leads to your CRM system as contacts. Each qualified lead has an opportunity to become a qualified sale. Add the details and notes that you want to associate with each lead, such as who they are, the reason they are qualified, and more. You can then move these leads into your CRM contacts as they qualify. AGAIN, STRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF AUTOMATING THIS PROCESS (if you can).
My tip: Get your own CRM and try to avoid using your brokerage CRM if you can. Not that you will ever want to leave your brokerage, but s$%t happens. You may get an offer you cannot refuse and now where is your database? You don’t have it any longer. Or you stuck moving to another CRM and that sucks! Same thing goes for your website (an subject for another blog some day).
2. Create Your Sales Funnel
There are different ways to go about setting up your real estate sales funnel, depending on your offer (aka lead magnet) to get the lead and how you are advertising. Your lead source matters within your crm set up plan. Be sure you have added your real estate sources to your settings so you can track the good and the bad ones.
Your follow-up funnel (aka drip campaign) must be used to not only start on auto-pilot, but ideally must match your lead magnet offer. Don’t use the generic campaigns pre-built in your CRM. Your prospects may end turning a blind-eye to the boring and un-engaging content. Be sure you have a separate campaign for each type of lead you get and/or for each ad you place on Facebook or Google, for example.
One of the biggest mistakes most agents make is not delivering the offer. Nothing will turn your lead/prospect off faster than begging for their contact info and then not sending what they signed up to get from you. By the way, your lead source providers or marketers probably won’t talk to you about this. They will tell you to get a CRM so you have somewhere to house your leads. But, they probably won’t provide you the content templates or drip campaign to follow-up which is sad, because remember… the money is in the follow-up!
One of the most effective tools for a sales funnel is the drip campaign. This is where I got started by the way. As I myself worked tens of thousands of real estate leads in my top-producing business, there would have been no way I could have closed thousands of sales between me and my team without a CRM I understood and my productive and education drip campaigns. You can’t do this business without these very important tools. Just trust me! You need this!
To quickly establish basic contacts, your CRM should have default fields set up that prompt you to include basic contact information as you add people or companies. In EngageMore CRM, we have 30 custom fields we can personalize for the information about the contact that we want to track and keep handy. If your CRM allows you to create your own custom fields, take advantage of that option. It’s not just for quick views, but all your fields are also searchable too. If you bury important info in the notes, it’s hard to search in many CRMs out there. Keep them handy in custom fields.
As I mentioned earlier, you should also set up the stages of the sale transaction that makes sense for you, as well as adding in contact types and sources so you can track and search your contacts of all types and statuses. Having this set up helps you to “mine your database for the gold” when you have 30 minutes to do some prospecting tomorrow morning.
Merge fields can be used in most CRM software and it’s these fields that are used in our system and many others that allow you to personalize your drip campaign templates. A fields such as %%firstname%% will pull the first name of a client into an email or text without having to manually do it. This saves hours and also personalizes your communication so it makes it appear you really sat down to type your contact a special letter or text meant just for them. Merge fields can be used for many different fields, such as area of interest and price range to name just a couple.
Now it’s time to personalize the entire funnel, you need your drip campaigns to match your leads. Your funnel begins with the lead capture. From there your leads must automatically be added so a long-term (at least 12 months) drip campaign runs that delivers your offer, send them them listings/market updates, educates, instills trust and finally asks for the appointment. If you don’t have this set up BEFORE you start running your expensive ads, you might as well be throwing money (and time) out of the window!
4. Importing your Data.
You’ve figured out how to get your leads and people automatically through automation. But with the right approach, you’ll find your customer relationships management (CRM) software is much easier to use than you’d think, and when you’re done, you’ll be able to use it more easily and efficiently than ever before.
Since almost all of the CRM software you’re looking at offers you the option to import your existing data, you should be able to import that data into your CRM in no time. And just about every CRM system will have a slightly different process for importing the custom fields, but they all have something in common:
You should clean up your data before it’s imported into your CRM. No one wants to hunt and peck to clean up after the fact. Do it within your spreadsheet before the import and if you know the shortcuts to get all your names from all caps to first initial cap you will save yourself hours of pain and agony. Trust me… myself and my agent clients have lived it!
5. Follow-up, Check-in and Look Forward.
Now that your CRM set up is complete, you are now ready to start your sales process. Make the data from your business accessible to all of your team if you have one. This helps you manage your work flow and processes and streamline your team’s tasks. Most importantly, make sure you and your team know how to use your CRM tools. Be sure you have gone through all the training provided. A real estate CRM is only as good as you use it. A software full of names with no action is a waste of money, in my opinion. Put your CRM to work for you and not the other way around.
Be sure you do set aside time to prospect every day! Your business depends on it. Keep your notes updates, edit the stages as your buyers and sellers go through the statuses I talked about earlier. Make notes of conversation and reminders to follow-up. Change drip campaigns when necessary. Stay top of mind with your closed clients with monthly newsletters, holiday campaigns and phone calls. All of this will get your pipeline growing fast and when you automate as much as you can, it allows you to be in two places at once!
And on a Final Note…
CRMs and follow-up is my passion. Take my advice and get it set up and running and the time and money you spend on your CRM will totally be worth it. Consider how many MORE sales you can close because you have your CRM, instead of what a waste of money it is to you because you aren’t using it the way it was built to be used.
Don’t reinvent the wheel. What would an amazing CRM prebuilt with everything I just discussed above mean to your income at the end of the year? Add it up! Need help? I got you covered!!!
• Contributing Editor – Andrea Hendrix