Do you use the transaction section in your CRM?

Do you use your CRM for just contact related things, or do you also use the Property/Transaction section? There are many benefits to it so if you don’t already, you should consider using it.

It always amazes me how few people do. And far less use transaction management plans.  Most people think of these types of plans as being comprised of tasks that their office transaction coordinator or attorney, or title company or you name it, does. But what I mean by these plans encompass all of those tasks that they do, but then all the rest of the things you do as well. You may have different people taking care of a good many things for you, but they certainly don’t do everything. If they did, you would literally have nothing to do after the contract was signed. That said, although they are a major part of the Property/Transaction sections, we’re not going to talk about Transaction Management activity plans. I did that not too long ago. Check out Trans-Plans.

You have a tab or section in your CRM with a screen or screens where you track all your contact information, but what about the section that helps you keep track of your listings and closings? Do you use it? Should you be using it? The better CRMs have a section in the Property/Transaction section that helps you track the Parties to the transaction. This is the place where you are able to select a contact record of the person and add them as a party to a transaction. This is one of the great things about this section.

If you have any of the following CRMs, they all have a Parties section. Top Producer, IXACTContact, WiseAgent, TribusCRM, AllClients, MyRealEstateTools, MyRedTools, and RealFutureCRM to name a few.

As a matter of practice, aside from your past clients, prospects, sphere of influence, etc., you should also have parties affiliated with your past transactions in your CRM. That would include the loan originator/mortgage company, attorney, buyer, seller, home inspector, homeowners insurance company, termite inspector, appraiser, etc. Over the years you’ll end up with a comprehensive database for your area comprised of a significant percentage of those kinds of people and companies. The longer you do it, the less often you’ll have to key in a new one with each new transaction, and the faster and easier it will be to find their phone numbers, e-mail addresses, web sites, etc. Another benefit of having them in your database is that you will be able to see what transactions they participated in and what you thought about them at the time. Did they help, or were they a pain to work with? You should have that in your notes. If you were smart you would have made a note saying they needed to be contacted frequently or they might drop the ball. Or you might have which people were better to deal with in the company and why, or for what aspects of the deal.

The normal routine for most agents when they are working on a closing file is to bring out the paper file and look around in the file until they find the affiliated party’s information that they need, if it is even there.  Even if it only takes one minute, it’s much longer than having them in the CRMs property/transaction record. And you know full well that sometimes it takes far more than a minute. And you typically have to contact most of them more than once, which means going back to the file and finding them each time.

Once you add them as a party to a transaction, they are all right there in one place, just one or two clicks away from calling them or e-mailing them, or getting to their web site. You will save many minutes on each transaction just by having all the different information quickly available in one spot. You can’t imagine how much more you can get done in a shorter period of time when that’s the case.

That’s one advantage. Another is that when they are added to the parties tab, they become a permanent part of the record, and in some cases they can be sent out to your client for reference in a report.

You can also e-mail all or selected parties all at once, and include documents if necessary.

If you’re currently using a CRM, you know how much more quickly you can retrieve information about contacts then you could before.  So this is just an extension of that same wonderful efficiency. Check it out!

Workflows and Assistants

If you have an assistant, how long did it take to train them? How many hours did you lose in productive listing and selling time? Your production went down did it not? And now if that assistant quits next month you have to start all over again. One way to minimize the time it takes to train a new assistant is to have an Operations Manual. The problem is that If you have ever written an Operations Manual you know that the day after you get it done and printed up, it is already on its way to becoming obsolete.

A much better way is to have activity plans in place in your CRM. The new assistant’s time to transition into their new job and the learning curve will be a very small percentage of what you just went through, which means you save a great deal of time and money.

Some CRMs enable you to have Notes in each task in the activity plan which you can use to describe click-by-click, how to accomplish that task. It can tell how to edit the letter/e-mail for that activity; how to print the report in that activity; what that activity is telling the assistant to do, why they are doing that activity, and so on. The notes section of the activity can be used as a Dynamic Operations Manual. This eliminates a tremendous amount of training time, and eliminates the need for a traditional operations manual for that set of tasks.

The difference is that with a paper operations manual in a small overworked team, it inevitably becomes useless, because it is not kept current. Using the activity plans, and the notes in the activities, means you can edit/change/update that particular activity on the fly, and it is automatically incorporated into any future launch of that plan. It is extremely easy and takes very little time, and therefore it is more likely that the plans will be kept up to date.

Also keep in mind when you are building your activity plans for listings and closings, that they should be extremely comprehensive. The goal is to prevent the outgoing assistant from having anything in their head, that is not in the activity plan. Any task they do regularly for any listing or closing should be a part of the plan. If it’s not set up that way, things will inevitably fall through the cracks because that person is not there to remember to do it. You wind up having to closely supervise the process again until you finally build the plans correctly – comprehensively.

To put it in perspective, the Buyer Closing Plan in my Trans-Plans has 117 tasks in it. So you can expect one that you build to have at least 60 to 80 tasks and probably more. The point is not that it’s a contest to see how many you can cram in there. It’s just that that is how many things you do almost each and every time you close with a buyer. If you do it, it goes in the plan.

via Activity Plans and Assistants.