If you’ve ever taken a marketing course or listened to a marketing talk, chances are you’ve come across the term “Customer Relationship Management” or “CRM.” Whether in real estate or another business specialty, customer relationships are at the crux of a successful marketing strategy. Perhaps the most important piece of CRM is client communication. You should be able to listen to—and clearly understand—your clients’ wishes, fears, concerns, and requests.
Don’t Hesitate to Communicate
Communication is key, both in business and in life. In the fast-paced world of real estate, clients expect their real estate agents to be ready and willing to take a phone call, respond to an email, or edit a contract at a moment’s notice. If you want to know how to be a successful real estate agent, the answer lies in being available for your clients consistently, responding to every inquiry in a timely manner. Failure to do so will mean unhappy clients, unfavorable reviews, and a damaged professional reputation.
Let’s be honest: we have all had that one client (or in some cases, more than one client) who calls, emails, and texts long after our office hours, or the client who questions every step of the process at length. Even worse, there’s the client who refuses to communicate at all, and despite repeated attempts to get that disclosure signed, you still can’t seem to make contact. Sigh.
Communication is important; both an excess of communication or the complete lack thereof can make the simplest real estate transaction feel like a marathon. In a career field that often demands so much of our time and attention, it can feel like we are constantly on the go.
How can we communicate with clients effectively while still maintaining our sanity, cultivating our larger business goals, and taking care to avoid burnout?
Yes, it’s true that clients expect you to respond in a timely manner. And yes, there will always be someone, somewhere, with an “emergency” they need you to fix “right this second.” But if you spend your entire life frantically fighting everyone else’s fires, you’re going to burn out quickly.
A recent article in Forbes Magazine puts it this way: “To be incredibly productive and build a scalable business, you have to be able to see what’s beyond your immediate surroundings. You have to set time aside to rise above the day-to-day and see what’s going on in the market, your community and the larger world around us. It’s the only way that you’ll be able to identify threats or opportunities ahead of time so you’ll be able to manage them.”
In other words, yes, the details matter, but so is taking the time to step back and view the larger picture. If you want to find some down time in your day to examine your overall goals, you’re going to have to get creative with time management.
Time Management Tools for the Busy Realtor
You have a lot on your plate. You’re juggling buyers, sellers, phone calls with other agents, keeping current on continuing education, and closings. You are also constantly worried about your marketing strategy, connecting with past clients, asking for referrals, updating your social media pages, and keeping your professional circle informed about your business. Customer Relationship Management – CRM – can feel like a full-time job in and of itself.
Using a good CRM is one way you can take back hours in your day. There are many great CRM Software programs that allow you to update your contacts, merge your social media profiles, and sync your social and professional calendars all in one location to keep everything organized. One of the leading products, Nimble, allows users to update social media sites (and even create and schedule future posts), see data analytics, and create sales forecasts. Nimble can even research clients’ profiles for you, creating a clearer picture of each customer. The software even makes notes of each phone call, meeting, or other interaction you’ve had with each client.
CRM Software programs are just one way you can use your time more effectively. You might consider hiring out some of your office tasks if you haven’t already, taking administrative duties off your list. Maybe it’s time to hire someone to take over your social media posting, blog posts, marketing, or other tasks so you can spend more time focusing on client communication and CRM.
Being a successful real estate agent requires a delicate balance of time management, client communication, client management, and delegation. Using the tools and technology available to you, it’s possible to offer clients superb service while carving out time for yourself and your family during your day.
Finding this balance will ensure you continued success as a realtor for years to come.