Before you buy a CRM, consider the following: Part One

The decision to buy and use a CRM worth using is a little like getting married.

You don’t go into it thinking “I’ll give it a shot and see what happens”. If you’re not committed to it, break it off. You may not get your heart broken but at least you won’t waste your time and money. Before you even start looking into buying a CRM, make sure your attitude is that you’re in it for the long haul. Understand that at first it will take longer to do things in your CRM than it did on post-its and notepads. It will be frustrating at times. You have to keep the end game in mind. You have to believe that after you get over the hump, you’ll be faster and more efficient. You’ll see that finding people and information will be faster. You’ll be able to provide information to clients and affiliated parties faster. You’ll be able to target market like you never could before. If you stick with it, you will come to realize that it is a much better way to do business. But it takes enough of a commitment to get over that hump.

And unless you get an extremely basic one, contrary to what some of the CRM developers would like you to think, it is going to be weeks or months before you get to the point where it becomes natural to you and it becomes integral to your business. In some respects you are going to be developing new habits and changing the way you operate. Change can be frustrating, so patience and commitment is a requirement.

A Popular fallacy – you have to be in front of your computer all the time to use a CRM. I was doing almost 50 transactions a year in a state that rarely uses attorneys. I did not have attorneys who did most of the post contract work for me. I only had a part time assistant and a buyer “chauffer” and I managed to make the time to use my CRM just fine. Now more than ever CRMs are far more mobile. At a minimum; contact information, to-do’s and appointments can be put into your phone which will also appear in your CRM and vice-versa.

Another popular fallacy. Using a CRM to automate your business makes your business less personal and takes away from your face time with your prospects and clients. The opposite is true. Automating the mundane repetitive detailed aspects of your business makes you far more efficient, thereby giving you more time to prospect and maintain a presence with your past clients and prospects.

If all you’re going to do is use it as a glorified Rolodex, use Outlook or Gmail. Don’t bother wasting your time or money on a CRM.

But, if you want less stress, less mistakes, better service to your clients, less staff,  more compliments, and more referrals. Outlook or Gmail or Google apps are woefully inadequate.

What kind of commitment must you make?

The first key to full adoption of a CRM is consistent daily usage. If you can block out large chunks of time to learn the CRM in the beginning, that’s the best way to do it, as long as you continue to use it every day in between those blocks. Most people cannot do that enough times to learn it well and start using it regularly. What works better for the majority of people in the beginning is to commit to an hour a day first thing in the morning, EVERY day. If you schedule those hours through the day on various days, the vast majority of agents will break those appointments with themselves and never get in the rhythm of learning it and using it regularly. Initially, using the CRM is a chore that you have to do. Then it becomes something you want to do. Eventually you will find that your business revolves around it so the daily use will not be an issue. You’ll be on it every day by default, either on your phone or on your computer. You will enjoy using it every day, and it will not be a burden. It will become second nature. You will revel at the ease and speed with which you are able to retrieve information and accomplish your daily tasks.

It’s a commitment. The more a CRM will do for you, the longer it will take to learn. If you have realized that a CRM will expand your business and make it easier and better, it’s short-sighted to get something that you can learn very quickly, but is very limited. It defeats the purpose.

Why do you want one?:

If you are like many of the people who call me who are using Outlook or Gmail and finding them inadequate, you need to define why it is inadequate. What is also helpful is to know what can be done for you by using a CRM. See below.

Make a list of needs and wants. Selecting one can be essentially categorized into four groups; very basic, middle of the road; powerful; customizable and scalable. If you want to run your business like a business, you SHOULD want at least powerful.

Part 2: What will a CRM do for you?, Be wary of other agent’s opinions, Once you choose a CRM, STOP LOOKING at others.

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