Things that will take time:
Start with the contacts. Make sure all of them have a first and last name and at least an e-mail address or phone number. Optimally each contact with whom you have done or hope to do business with should have a source (Homes and Living, not ad call; a referral name if applicable, a company name (use the pick list/drop down); a physical address; a note that will jog your memory about who this person is and what you talked about, keeping in mind to use key words that you will be able to search on later. I.e.; ”… we will not be thinking about moving until Suzy graduates in June” and he mentioned that she is hoping to get a soccer scholarship.
Setting up a set of contact categories – learn how to minimize the number of categories by using one word and then doing saved searches. Buyer, prospect, investor, land, commercial – not buyer prospect, etc. For more detail about creating categories, click here.
Tweaking the drip campaign and transaction management e-mails/letters to fit your personality and market. The value is in the subject matter and organization/timing. Pick a plan that you will use for a hot buyer prospect. Launch it. Each day, commit to modifying at least one e-mail as it goes out rather than trying to make a block of time to modify an entire plan at once.
Creating and or modifying follow-up listing and closing transaction management plans. The listing and closing plans have to be all finished and ready to go before you start using any of them. Build them anticipating that you will have an assistant, even if you don’t plan on ever having one. Every single thing you do should be in the plan. Send an e-mail one to two weeks prior to closing summing up everything that should have been done to that point and is necessary for closing, to include what they should wear to closing.
Choosing a CRM:
Make a list of your wants and needs. The first question is whether you actually know what features are available. If you don’t, how can you know what you want? It’s like buying a house in Arizona without knowing what air conditioning is. You move in, discover it’s very hot, and then someone tells you about this amazing thing called air conditioning which you do not have. To understand what features are available, you may want to consider my book – Choosing and Using a Contact Manager
Understand that depending upon how much you want, you may not get all of it, or you may need to accept that the one that does everything you want also does some things that you do not need. It’s like saying you want a Mercedes but do not want cruise control. If you want the better overall package but do not want certain features that it also offers, simply do not use them.
Realize that Googling “Real Estate CRM” is not going to show you all of them. Some of them simply have horrible SEO and do not come up. There are a fair number of them on my site that I would not know about if they had not approached me. Over the years it has gotten to the point that when a new CRM is about to come out, they contact me directly to seek affiliation and the exposure that my site gains them. http://GaryDavidHall.com has almost 40 of them, and a list of the ones that have gone out of business. There are almost 50 in all, but I have opted not to affiliate with some of them for various reasons such as too many complaints, or simply a poor product. That is not to say there aren’t some good products out there with which I have not yet affiliated, but they are far and few between, and so new that it is unlikely that I would recommend them anyway. Unfortunately with a Real Estate CRM, brand new is almost always not a good way to go. There are a couple I recommend that are very new, but there are mitigating circumstances such that I believe they will continue to grow and survive.
As stated above, be wary of others opinions.
When visiting a vendor’s site and speaking with them, remember that they are biased towards their product. It may very well be the best one for you, but most of them will sell you on it regardless. It’s no different than any other single product sales scenario. Other than http://GaryDavidHall.com there are no sites on the internet that offer a selection of CRMs and have someone with whom you can speak who is knowledgeable about all of them, can tell you if it has the features you want, and can compare them. If you find someone else please let me know. I haven’t found one yet and I’ve been doing this for 14 years.
With regards to pricing, different CRMs operate differently. Due to my long time reputation and the fact that I offer and sell more CRMs than any individual, most have allowed me to offer either a better price and/or a longer trial period than anyone else, often including the vendor themselves. Some vendors mandate that all resellers charge exactly the same as they do so I am restricted to that as well. The bottom line is that literally no one can do better in price or terms or any other consideration. The only differences between buying through me vs. buying direct are:
If you have a problem with the CRM company itself, I have a great deal of influence with the majority of them due to our long term affiliations.
My unbiased help in selecting the one that suits your needs, not the one that suits the vendor’s needs.
I hope this helps you to decide whether you should have a CRM, and if so, how to find and learn one. In either case – good luck in your business!