What to Expect From a CRM Solution

To get the most out of any client relationship management system, you need workable business and marketing plans.

May 14, 2014

A CRM platform will perform well only if it complements your workflow. To that end, it’s important to organize your sphere, separating your contacts into categories: leads, warm leads, current clients, and past clients. These can feed into ranked referrer tiers. Once you have set up categories, a CRM solution’s value to your business should become clear. But above all, as you consider which system is right for you, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Here’s what a CRM system can help you with:

1. Organizing your brain. It takes time to get the hang of a CRM system, so give yourself a chance to get comfortable with it. Commit to it for at least one business cycle. Find at least one metric to show how CRM affected your business. Did you get more A-level referrers sending you business? How many of your current clients sent you business during the life of your transactional relationship? Being aware of those stats will help you organize your thinking and develop a successful marketing plan.

2. Establishing and maintaining connections before, during, and after transactions. Use your CRM system to collect warm leads from your website, open houses, and referrals. Build rapport with those folks well before they ever become clients. During transactions, use the CRM to keep your clients up-to-date as the market evolves, solidifying your position as an expert. And finally, never forget to keep up with clients after you’ve closed. That’s one area where many practitioners fall short. And look at your website and e-mail drip marketing platforms. Can those be integrated into your CRM platform?

3. Prompting action. Some of the newer CRM platforms evaluate your relationship skills and nudge you to interact with someone you may have forgotten about. When it gets busy, it’s easy for your raving fans to fall through the cracks, and sometimes that little kick in the behind helps.

4. The bottom line. View real estate sales as a marathon, not a sprint. How you set up your business and marketing plan four months ago matters today. A long-term commitment to CRM is the easiest way to find your next client. At the end of the day, real estate is a belly-to-belly business, and good CRM can help you reach your goals.

Nobu Hata is the director of digital engagement for the National Association of REALTORS®. Former REALTOR® with Edina Realty in Minnesota. Geek. Alaska and Minnesota have been home. Now I'm in Chicago or on the road meeting with REALTORS® and association executives to talk about NAR, their business, and the integration of digital technologies in our industry.