This post originally appeared on Inman. See the original article here.
You know the drill in the life of a real estate agent. Your phone rings in the middle of dinner. The inspector can’t find the property. The sellers want to change the date of the open house. You have a contract to draft before your next listing appointment, and you still have to make prospecting calls.
If you’re part of the 17 percent of real estate agents that employ an assistant (Placester, 2014) you’re lucky enough to get some support for administration and organizational tasks. But what if you’re part of the vast majority of real estate agents who are constantly putting out fires, neglecting important marketing initiatives and failing to keep in touch. You are likely missing out on important leads and feeling that all-too-familiar stress of burning out.
Contact relationship management software (CRM) can act as a hub of organization and marketing. It’s a repository where you’ll store contact information, marketing materials and important documents. Maybe you’re already using a CRM but haven’t explored it to its full potential. Or perhaps you haven’t gotten started with one yet and aren’t completely sure what it has to offer you.
The following features are available in most of today’s leading real estate CRMs and can radically change the way you manage your time.
Here are seven critical things that contact management software can do for your real estate business:
1. Keep you more organized and less stressed.
As a real estate agent, you want to be spending your time seeking out new business and closing more sales. You don’t want to be needlessly wasting time trying to locate misplaced phone numbers or straining to remember past details.
Using contact management software is the first step to eliminating stress in your professional life. It will centralize your contacts, help you stay in touch and remember details on your behalf. By having these processes in place and the added benefit of automation, you’ll be able to focus on setting up more meetings and selling more homes.
2. Kick start your digital marketing.
Marketing has evolved wildly since the dawn of the Internet. These days a digital presence is a “must-have” for real estate professionals. With over 60 percent of prospects using Google to find and research potential real estate agents (Properties Online, Inc.), it’s vital for real estate agents to have an online presence in order for clients to find them.
Your contact management software can help support your online digital presence by providing you a platform for email marketing, linking readers to your social media channels and automatically capturing leads from your website. With the automated features available in today’s software, you’ll be nurturing leads more easily than ever before.
3. Centralize your contact management.
I’ve met real estate agents who have contact data in their Gmail account, in Excel spreadsheets and scribbled on post-it notes. Sound familiar? When you rely on multiple platforms to maintain your customer and prospect information, some leads are bound to fall through the cracks. What if a misplaced post-it note ultimately cost you a commission?
When you centralize all your data into one CRM system, you can finally rest assured that your data is safe and easily accessible. With cloud-based CRMs, you have the added benefit that your data is backed up and secure. Even if your computer failed, you can access your data from anywhere on another device such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet. So go ahead and leave the post-it notes in your desk drawer.
4. Put you in control.
There’s nothing quite like that sickening feeling when you realize you missed an appointment. It’s kind of like oversleeping on exam day in college. When you have too many tasks on the go, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll make a mistake. With the help of real estate software, you’ll be more on top of your daily tasks and avoid that dreadful feeling of missing out on a listing.
Functioning as your assistant, your contact management software will offer your reminders of your upcoming tasks and appointments. Calendars will often sync with your Outlook or Google calendar to keep you in control of your day-to-day tasks without falling behind. Reporting features can often even show you who you’re due to catch up with, so not only are you in control of your day, but also you’re proactive about your future.
5. Create relationships with prospects.
To build relationships, you need to get to know people. But when you meet as many individuals as a real estate agent does on a regular basis, it can be a challenge to remember the details. Where did they say they went on vacation each summer? What’s their beloved dog’s name? How many children do they have? Remembering details about your prospects and past clients will make them feel valued and important, but it’s a lot to expect you to remember everything about everybody.
Cue your contact management software. It stores the details about your past clients and prospects and makes you look like a star. You have easy access to contact profiles and history, including email correspondence, birthdays, family members, move-in anniversaries, referral history, properties, mortgage details, communications history and more. Having this information at your fingertips makes you feel more confident and puts your contact at ease. Your CRM can act as an extension of your memory to make meaningful relationships achievable.
6. Manage your listings and buyers.
When you have one listing on the go, maybe it’s easy to manage. But what about when you have several different deals in the making? You can’t be too careful with how you manage these important details. Contact management software allows you to track important property and listing details, key dates, showings information and more. You’ll receive email reminders of important tasks, manage offers and track commissions.
When used properly, your contact management software acts like your virtual transaction coordinator, keeping you organized and in control, and allowing you to handle more business more professionally than you ever thought possible.
7. Store your data safe and sound.
You know all too well that there’s a lot of paperwork involved with real estate. In addition to a safe place to store your database, your contact management software is a safe place to store transaction documents. Enjoy peace of mind knowing that your confidential and important documents are being stored in a secure, central location along with your contact’s information and your marketing materials.
Your CRM allows you to rest easy with the knowledge that computer crashes won’t impact your data. Don’t risk your business by being reckless with your information, store it in a CRM and breathe a sigh of relief.
Real estate is a demanding career that requires excellent time management skills. It’s easy for agents to get bogged down in organizational tasks and fail to maximize working hours. Leveraging contact management software can alleviate some of the time-draining tasks by helping you stay better organized and free up your time for meetings and prospecting. Research the options and choose the CRM that suits your needs by helping you build relationships, stay in touch and centralize your contact management.