A popular topic of discussion lately has been, is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software still relevant to a realtor’s business. Many would live and die by their CRMs and others whether they admit it or not, don’t use one. The purpose of a CRM is to build and manage your database of clients/leads and to keep you accountable by reminding you to touch base with your sphere of influence (SOI). Most CRMs include the following: Organization of Contacts, Automated Client Communication, Daily Reminders, Structured Campaigns, Transaction Management, and Lead Generation. Of course, these services vary depending on which CRM one chooses but for the most part, that is the traditional package.
For the most part, a CRM costs money whether it’s on a monthly or annual basis. In rare cases, real estate brokerages may offer a CRM free of cost to their agents. For example, every agent with CENTURY 21 Award gets access to MoxiWorks, a technological productivity software that helps agents sell more homes. One of the many wonderful tools provided by MoxiWorks is MoxiEngage a powerful CRM and business planner designed specifically for real estate professionals.
Of course, you can always adopt a CRM system, whether it’s free or paid but one could argue that it’s no longer needed in today’s industry. Technology has advanced quite a bit, Smart Phones continue to add more productivity features year after year and social media has become a powerhouse in its own right. To put it simply, why go through the hassle of re-entering your contacts to a CRM Cloud when you can utilize what’s already available to you? This brings us back to the question, is a CRM still relevant to a realtor's business?
To help us find the answer, I interviewed two Top Producing Agents from CENTURY 21 Award. JoAnne Krause of The Krause Group is an advocate for CRMs and will share with us how using one has benefited her business. JoAnne is based in our San Diego office and in 2021 her team (The Krause Group) closed over $62 Million in sales volume and 78 transactions. Gary Ward of Gary Ward Properties has never touched a CRM in his career and yet, that hasn’t seemed to affect his success. Gary is based in our San Clemente office and in 2021, Gary closed over $125 Million in sales volume and 69 transactions. With that being said, let’s see what the two had to share about the topic.
IH: What CRM Do You Use? Why?
JK: I use Top Producer just because I have had it for years. My transaction coordinator uses Top Producer, and she enters escrow and all parties to the transaction information. All this information syncs to my phone, which is the best part of this CRM. There may be other contact database programs out there, but they must have the sync capability to be helpful in the long run. The cost of Top Producer is less than a dinner out at a nice restaurant these days.
IH: Have You Ever Tried Using a CRM?
GW: We haven't. We have thought about it and researched a handful of them but at the end of the day we go back to a basic list we keep with all of our past clients and a whiteboard with our current buyers and sellers.
IH: How Has Your CRM Boosted Your Business?
JK: In my eyes, a CRM is like the trunk of a tree. It would be best if you had something to hold the parts of a transaction together, and you must create a system that allows you to keep in touch with past and current clients. If a past client has a question about a closed transaction, I immediately have the information at my disposal. Remember, the goal is to develop a relationship that spans years.
IH: If you’re not using a CRM, are your team members using one on your behalf?
GW: They are not. We have looked into it and it is something we want to implement on our team.
IH: What Is the Biggest Benefit of a CRM?
JK: The biggest benefit is having contact information so you can make calls, write emails, and keep track of current, pending, and past clients. I can look up all the parties in past transactions because of my CRM; all sales information, purchase information, children's names, conversation notes, etc.
IH: How do you keep in contact with your SOI?
GW: Old fashioned...letters, phone calls, old emails, a running "Christmas card" list of all of our past clients and current clients, a whiteboard with our current buyers and sellers, and transactions.
IH: Can You Share a Specific Situation When You got New Business Using Your CRM?
JK: I received a call "out of the blue" and did not recognize the name on the phone screen. I was able to quickly look up the history of that person on my Top Producer App. Within minutes I talked about his house, family members, etc. I Made an appointment to meet to discuss his family's needs. Without the CRM, I would not have been able to talk about his wife and kids. It made the conversation more authentic and caring.
IH: How do You Attract New Clients?
GW: Referrals, being consistent in the community, sending out mailers, ads in the SC times once a quarter or more, talking about to Real Estate to anyone and everyone.
IH: Why Is It Important for a Real Estate Agent to Use a CRM?
JK: Because you have to operate as a business owner. All businesses have a CRM.
IH: If You Could Start Over, What Would You Do Different?
GW: Real Estate has been one of the greatest journeys of my life. I am so grateful for every opportunity and sale and client along the way. I think we could be more organized and always have room for improvement but overall, I can't say one thing specifically that I would do differently.
There you have it, folks! Two titans in the industry provide us with valuable information. Hopefully, after reading this, you’ll implement some of these practices in your business. There is no wrong answer when it comes to CRMs, like C21 Award President & CEO, David Romero always says “The best CRM is the one you use”. Thank you all for reading and I want to give a special thank you to JoAnne Krause and Gary Ward for participating in this blog.