Why not hire someone to build your own CRM?

This an excerpt from my book – Choosing and Using a CRM.

If you are an experienced agent, when you start working with a buyer you probably tell them in so many words to be aware that there is no perfect house for them. You will get as close as you can you tell them, but even if it seems perfect when you move in, you will always find things you wish it had or did not have.

Some tech savvy agents and brokers have gone through the very considerable expense of time and money to have their own perfect CRM built. After the large initial outlay of both, and the subsequent ongoing bleeding months or years later, the majority end up purchasing an out-of-the-box real estate specific CRM solution. Why? Because once you create it, you need it to continue to evolve and improve. Yes you create it. Think about that for a moment. You may hire someone to code the program, but you are the one who has to tell them in great detail what it is that you want. The programmer writes the code, but you design it to do what you want. It is you who are responsible to tell them in painstaking detail what you need, then correct the misunderstandings, beta test it, and then continue to improve it. That takes an inordinate amount of time. It is a never-ending lowest and worst use of significant blocks of your time.

You also most likely will eventually lose the person who coded/wrote it in the first place, and then you have to find someone who will continue making your changes for you. Consider that software design is as much if not more of an art than it is a science, and each artist has his or her own style. This often results in giving it different feels in different sections of the program, making it less intuitive or easy to learn, and typically more cumbersome than need be.

If you buy one out of the box, the software vendor takes on the job of improving it. It may not be everything you want it to be, but if you find the right one it can be most of what you need it to be. It is also their job to continue to add to it, based on user suggestions and industry changes and needs, as opposed to frequently spending your time doing it. Moreover, when there is a large user base making suggestions, there will be improvements made that may never have occurred to you.

There has been an interesting trend in the RE CRM industry for the last five to seven years. There are actually a significant number of RE CRM developers who were Real Estate agents, albeit for a short time.They originally decided to create their own CRM because they were agents looking for a CRM solution, and were not happy with what was available. At that time there were only a small handful of CRMs available. Something they did not realize though was that there were some others available but they were almost impossible to find in the search engines. Sadly, it is still difficult to find some. One of the best ones on the market cannot be found on Google by searching on real estate CRM software! They are just clueless about Web site SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

So these new agents who had a software background decided they could do a better job. Few of these CRMs have been out more than three or four years, so they have not had enough time to prove themselves yet. It remains to be seen if they were right about being able to do it better, and if they will last. The point is that it is such an overwhelming job, that they chose to make building a CRM their career, as opposed to selling Real Estate.

So if you’re considering having a CRM built for you remember that one of the primary decisions is what you want to be when you grow up – a software developer or a real estate sales person.

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