Scott Newman is broker-owner of Newman Realty, a family-run brokerage in Chicago focusing on short sales, foreclosures, and buyer representation. He has been a top-producing real estate agent in Chicago since 2008, is vice chair of the education sub-committee for the Chicago Association of REALTORS®, and is an original member of the Chicago Young Professionals Network. For more information, visit www.newmanknowschicago.com or follow him on Twitter at @newmanrealty and @newmanknowschi.
3 Tech Tools for Fostering Business
Looking for smart ways to grow your brokerage this year? Start using these three methods right now.
January 22, 2015
Real estate price points in many markets throughout the country have climbed back to levels last seen prior to the crash — a strong signal that the recovery of our industry is in full swing. I’m sure you’ve noticed the positive news, and maybe your brokerage sales figures have increased over the past year.
So now that the worst is behind us, what can you do to maximize efficiency and profits this year? I have three simple suggestions that could make an immediate impact on your bottom line.
The easiest thing brokers can do to free up time for more important tasks — and to get back some sanity – is to get a cloud-based storage solution.
Cloud storage is the simple idea of making a folder for all your digital stuff — documents, photos, spreadsheets, and so on — that you can access on your mobile, laptop, and desktop devices from anywhere on the globe with an Internet connection.
How many times have you realized you need a preapproval letter to submit an offer, but it’s on your computer at work and you have to drive 30 minutes there and back to get it? You — or your agents — risk looking disorganized in front of the client by having to bug the lender to resend it.
Think of the possibilities for your brokerage. Files and client information can be shared instantly and across multiple platforms so everyone on your team can access it. It will save hours of work and provide a better, more seamless experience for your clients.
New cloud products and apps seem to come out daily with limitless advancements in functionality. This is absolutely something you should be integrating into your business plan if you haven’t already.
Once you’ve established your brokerage and become known as a professional resource by working your network, it’s time to think about expanding your reach. That means getting Web savvy sooner rather than later.
Don’t be afraid to spend a few dollars on your website for greater exposure and SEO benefits. Yes, there are companies out there that will toss up a canned site for a few hundred dollars, but the SEO benefit is minimal and the lack of visual and aesthetic appeal will undoubtedly work against you when consumers show up to get a feel for who you are.
Do your homework and connect with a reputable company or freelance Web developer who has specific experience in the real estate industry. Don’t be afraid to lean on your local association for advice and guidance on how to best put together or improve your company site.
It may cost some money, but having a good website and Web developer in your corner is a major key to your continued success. Invest in your future now and reap the benefits down the road when your site becomes a major portal for online leads.
A customer relationship management system is software that allows you to better manage your network of clients, prospects, and leads. There are dozens of reputable companies that provide CRM software, and many are highly customizable and very affordable.
Some brokers let sales associates choose their own contact management solution, but there are advantages for standardizing across your office, especially if your brokerage has a property management division. Many CRM systems will allow groups to share information about properties and tenants, regulate lease processes, and compile various levels of data.
Do your research and invest in an established CRM solution with customization options so you can expand down the road as your business grows. Make a commitment to follow up with clients 100 percent of the time, on time, and watch your business grow by leaps and bounds in 2015. Every time you or your agents forget to follow up with someone who was promised a call, or fail to get back in touch with a referral, it hurts your business’s good name. Your commitment will also influence your agents by helping to build a strong customer-focused office culture.
The top brokers around the country are making more money in less time by choosing high-tech solutions that simplify their daily lives and result in better ROI for their time. Think about implementing some, or all, of these technologies into your business plan for 2015, and count on happier clients and more sales as a result.