The Real Estate Business Is Tough. Realtors® are overworked, and there are never enough hours in the day for them to get their work done.
Okay, not exactly a secret that nobody knows, right? But it is a true statement. So the question becomes, “What do you do about this?”.
There are three obvious solutions to this problem:
1) Ignore it and let things slip through the cracks- Unacceptable
2) Knuckle down and work harder- More in the right direction, but not my personal favorite approach. After all, we are more than just our professions, right? We have families, loved ones and things we want to do in life besides work.
3) Figure Out A Way To Work Smarter- I don’t know about you, but this is MUCH more my speed. Why work hard, when you can achieve the same results, simply by working smart? If I were a betting man (and I am), I would be there is nobody that would disagree with me here.
So now that we have the answer to the question, how exactly should we use this knowledge? There are plenty of areas in your Real Estate practice in which you can work “smarter” and not “harder”, freeing up time and making you more successful. Today I thought I would address a few of the overlooked ones, relating to your CRM system. Working your CRM system in a “smarter” fashion will make you more effective in the cultivation of new leads, keeping in touch with your current clients, and managing your active listings. These things of course will add to your bottom line, and the success of your Real Estate Practice.
Customized Automated Work Flow Is Your Answer
Automated workflow is something that should be in EVERY CRM Solution. If your current CRM solution doesn’t have automated workflow processes for your marketing and listing management, GET RID OF IT. It is not doing you justice.
I’ll go one more, before I get off my soap box as well. That is that your CRM solution shouldn’t just have Automated Workflow, but “Customized” Automated Workflow.
What do I mean by this? I mean that your CRM system should be able to be customized and adjusted to work the way YOU work and the way YOU conduct your business.
I can’t tell you how many Realtors® call us every week for a demonstration of our Leading Agent Real Estate CRM System, and are stunned by the fact that we actually customize and tweak our system to work in the fashion in which the Realtor® is accustomed to working. I find this very interesting. In my humble opinion, it would be very arrogant of us to assume that the way we have set up our CRM solution is the ONLY way an agent should work. I happen to think that our base system, right out of the box works very well, BUT mark my words, every single agent we come across is going to want to adjust it and tweak it to their liking.
A tool is only as useful as the use you can get out of it. If your CRM solution is totally locked down and forces you to do things you otherwise wouldn’t do, you are going to stop using it. That means you are wasting your valuable operating budget and nobody wins.
3 Great Workflow Automaton Ideas To Make You More Effective
There are hundreds of ways that one can automate the workflow in a CRM solution that allows for custom set up. Here are a couple great ones that we always suggest for our clients, right out of the gate:
1) Automate Your Listing Management
Every agent we have ever come across has a checklist of things they perform, each time they get a new listing. We’ve seen lists with as few as 15 items, and lists with as many as 60 items. No matter how small or large your list is, this is one of the most important things you can automate.
Automating the tasks that take place during the life of your listing is critical because it keeps anything from slipping through the cracks. What if you are handling six listings at the same time? What if you have many personal or family challenges going on, during one of your listings? What if buyers are monopolizing your time and you are stretched thin?
Automating these tasks make sure that none of these potential pitfalls will jeopardize that listing and the potential for it to fall apart.
Your automation process doesn’t even have to start out very elaborate. Perhaps you start by just making it so tasks are automatically generated and assigned to you, and the people on your team, when a new listing is generated in the system. As time goes on, you can of course refine this workflow to include extremely elaborate sets of rules.
For instance, we have one client that wanted us to set up their listing management workflow in the following fashion:
-Some tasks are sequential and not on a timed basis- This basically means before task 2 can be done, task 1 needs to be finished.
-They wished for some of the listing management tasks to be on a strict timed basis- There were a few tasks they have, related to their listings that always have a hard, fast time frame, no matter what. Because of that, they wanted these tasks to be assigned a hard date and time for the due date.
-Some tasks they wished to fire, based on information that was put into the listing information, in their CRM- This is especially helpful if you enter a listing into your system, but it’s not quire “ready for prime time”. Using the date fields in the listing object, allows for future tasks and due dates to be fluid, and flexible, based on what is entered into the listing info.
-At specific milestones they wanted an automated email to go out to their client to give them an update as to how things are going- This email wasn’t fancy, or full of graphics. It was simply a typed email that looked as if the agent had taken the time to sit down and update their client. This not only is a great way to keep your clients in the loop, but a fantastic way to save time for some of the more “basic” keep in touch things.
-Lastly, oversight was the KEY necessity- This particular agent happened to work with an entire team. To those ends, she was fearful that if she gave up control of all these things, she would be unable to ensure that everything was getting done in the appropriate amount of time.
We set up a series of follow up triggers that ensure everyone was on task, and that our client ultimately had 100% oversight over every single aspect of her business. After meeting with her, we decided that we would handle oversight with a two step process:
1) First, for any task that was 24 hours over due, the person the task was assigned to would receive a task and email alerting them that they have a task that is past due. It would instruct them to either get the task done, ask for help, or if there was some reason that the particular task couldn’t be handled at that moment (perhaps a delay with the listing), to reassign the due date and alert their boss (our client), of the change.
2) If the person assigned the task did not do any of the items in #1, and the task went unfinished for another 24 hours, our client would be sent an urgent email and task and text message, alerting them of the situation, so they could handle it accordingly.
So as you can see, you can easily have many moving parts, with many different types of triggers, and vehicles for alerts (email, tasks, text messages, etc.). Truly, the only limitation is your imagination.
2) Don’t lose out on leads. Automate the handling of incoming leads
This is another one that always makes me scratch my head. I get that you are busy, but you have worked so hard to get leads coming into you. Why not have some safety measures in place, to make sure that you are working these leads in the most efficient manner possible?
Last week for instance, an agent called, inquiring about our Leading Agent CRM System
When I asked them about their existing solution, and if it had custom workflow automation, the agent immediately replied “yes it does”. I asked him how it was working, and he said “it’s not”. Intrigued, I dug a bit deeper and asked for a single example of how it isn’t working.
The agent went on to explain that his system allows him to set up web to lead capture forms on his website that will automatically put the lead information into his CRM. The thing is though from there, other than a single alert that he has a lead, nothing else happens. He is a very busy guy, and he is not maximizing his potential and closing these leads.
What this particular agent got confused is that his example is not really workflow automation. That’s simply a web to lead form, with a basic alert.
Happily, we are able to fix his problems by giving him the ability to give us a list of items he wants to happen, when a new lead comes in. Additionally, we are working with him on a series of fail safes, to ensure that nobody ever slips through the cracks. With very little effort, he is going to be more effective, and capture business from more of these leads than ever before.
As I mentioned before, these are just two of literally hundreds of ways you can set your CRM to work “For You”, allowing you to work smarter, not harder, and grow your business to levels you never imagined possible.
Do you need help with your CRM solution? Would you like us to review your current solution and give you some free advice as to how you might maximize it’s potential? Contact me anytime and I would be more than happy to help you in any way I can.
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