When you first started entertaining the idea of a career in real estate, you may not have known about the horde of acronyms that would rule your life: MLS, IDX, NAR, etc. Each one is extremely important for running an effective real estate business. Another acronym that’s often underrated but is actually one of the most important is CRM. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and it’s the system that helps you turn a lead into a client and a client into a referral source.

Where to Get a CRM

Although there’s no shortage of CRM providers to choose from, you can get a free CRM from Homes.com. Just set up a free account or subscribe to any of Homes.com’s services to access your CRM. The Homes.com CRM comes with an email marketing center packed with pre-written drip email campaigns and a monthly newsletter with fresh content for your clients.

Setting Up a CRM

Setting up a CRM is easiest if you commit from your very first lead, but it’s never too late to begin using one. Start by adding your current and past contacts into your chosen CRM. Most (including Homes.com’s free CRM) allow you to import your clients via spreadsheet or to input each client individually.

Labels: A CRM is only as effective as your implementation. There’s not much benefit to be gained from sending the same email to a first time buyer you met last week and the couple you’ve already helped through several cycles of buying and selling. That’s where labels come into play. A label is a category used to arrange different groups of contacts into relevant, targeted contact lists. Think about the actual people you serve to come up with labels that make sense for your business. Don’t be afraid to add a person to more than one relevant label.

Buyer Profiles: Another important function of a good CRM is the ability to make buyer profiles that alert buyers when a listing that matches their search criteria hits the market. To make this functionality work properly, find out what each of your contacts is searching for: location, property type, features, price range, etc. Once you know that, decide how often you want your CRM to email updates to your contact. Active buyers or people who are planning to move in the next three months may benefit from daily email updates. Buyers who are still six months or a year out would probably prefer a weekly or monthly listing update instead.

Managing Your CRM

Setting up a CRM isn’t a “do and done” task. You have to set aside time at least once a week to update and manage your CRM. If you want the best results from your contact list, maintain up-to-date records and lists.

Client Intake Forms: Creating and using a client intake form can help you standardize the information you receive, ensuring you get the same, complete set of information from each new client you work with. This will also help you keep your CRM up to date more easily. Items on your client intake forms might include the person’s name, contact information, current address, what they’re looking for (beds, baths, price, area, schools, etc.), and/or moving plans.

Centralization: It’s good practice to have at least 3-4 different lead sources fueling your business. That means 3-4 different ways leads are funneled into your business. Make sure each of those contacts ends up in your CRM so future revenue opportunities can’t fall through the cracks. This  is where a lead aggregator comes into play. A lead aggregator, like the Lead Gator that’s included in the free Homes.com CRM, allows you to set up automatic lead imports so your leads all end up in one place, no matter where they come from, allowing you to manage them more easily.

Monetizing Your CRM

Once you have your contacts loaded and labeled in your CRM, you can start nurturing them to get them ready to buy, sell, or refer. Create email and phone call campaigns for small, targeted groups such as residents of a particular neighborhood or single parents. Targeting small groups like these allows you to address specific problems, rather than lumping everyone into “buyer” or “seller” categories.

Fill your campaigns with plenty of valuable, relevant, entertaining information to build trust and connect with your contacts. That way, once they or someone they know is ready to buy or sell their home, they won’t go searching for an agent. They’ll come straight to you.

If you aren’t currently using a CRM or you aren’t happy with your CRM, try out the free CRM from Homes.com. We’re invested in your success, and providing this tool is just one of the ways we hope to help. To learn how a paid Homes.com partnership can grow your business, contact us today.