Most agents do not feel that they need a CRM. It can be difficult to see the value in it until you have used one in at least a fairly comprehensive way and gotten over the learning curve. The reality is that everyone would benefit from one, they just don’t know it. Some may take exception with that statement but it is a fact. How could you not benefit from one if at a minimum it would:
save you time
make you better at follow-up thereby increasing income
increase client satisfaction through better and more frequent communication
provide better quality client service in less time
That’s at a minimum. CRMs can do much more. Many agents are fond of saying they are doing a significant amount of business already without one, so why do they need it. It’s very simple. You can do that same amount of business and provide better client service in less time, or more business in the same amount of time.
One of the biggest challenges rainmaker brokers who distribute leads have is qualifying the agent’s follow-up. You invest money in lead generation and then hand out those leads, but the conversion rate is abysmal. Holding the agents accountable is very difficult if there is no mechanism in place to make that task efficient and manageable. If that is one of your biggest needs, there are a couple CRMs that excel at that.
So these are some reasons why a broker might want their agents using a CRM. That said, if you do provide one, how many of your agents will use it? Unfortunately, a large percentage will not, even when it is free to the agent. If you have an office with 30 agents and only five use it, is it worth the cost incurred? Some brokers provide a web site which has a CRM built in, but in most cases the CRM aspect of it is basic at best. More often than not by far, the majority of the agents do not use either. It is common for them to put in a minor effort at setting up the Web site initially, and then never touch it again. The CRM aspect of it gets used even less.
The irony is that the agents who will use a CRM prefer to pick their own, so they tend not to use the one provided by the broker. If you are considering providing one for your agents, a good place to start is by asking them if they are using one already. To those agents the next question would be whether they would stay with the one they have or move to the one you provide. The answer will most likely be that they will continue with the one they already use. Moving to a new one means losing some existing data, and dealing with a new learning curve.
Another consideration is that it may be a more cost effective alternative to pay all or part of the cost of a CRM of their own choice, with some kind of qualification that it is being used for more than just a glorified Rolodex.
So, know going into it that unless your agents are the exception to the rule, you are only going to have limited participation. But another benefit of making one available to agents in your office is to use it as a recruiting tool. If you feel that it’s worth having a few agents use it, and it is also valuable to you for recruiting, then it may be a a good idea for you.
So you’ve decided to do it! One way to increase participation is to lead by example. More often than not, the broker does not use a CRM either. In cases where the broker does use one, and makes a point of illustrating the benefits they realize from its use on a regular and visible basis, more agents will follow suit. The primary reason agents do not use a CRM is that they do not see the benefits. Showing them with specific examples how you have streamlined your business or made a sale that would otherwise have fallen through the cracks can make a welcome difference in the rate of adoption.
There is an overwhelming tendency for the agent to get a CRM and then just stare at it wondering where to begin. Take charge and lead them by:
Having regular ongoing classes.
Encourage agents who use it well to share their success stories, tips and tricks in class.
Create, or have someone create template follow-up e-mails, letters and activity plans to be shared.
Encourage using the CRMs transaction management function to track their transactions. They are incredibly effective and the single most ignored aspect of most CRMs. Even if you have an in-house closing coordinator or attorneys involved, listing and closing plans cover many things that they do not and are invaluable in many ways.
If you are distributing leads, using the CRM could be a requirement for receiving the leads.
Whether you provide a CRM solution to your agents or not, encouraging them to use one, especially by adopting one yourself, will increase production and reduce stress. The following was in a recent survey about “Rich Agents vs. Poor Agents”. Pretty much sums it up!
“CRM or Lead management systems: CRM’s (customer relationship management systems or a database) are an integral part of their success. This is the most dramatic difference in the survey. Almost twice as many rich real estate agents use a CRM or lead management system than poor real estate agents.
It’s this system management of their database that allows rich real estate agents to build a high volume business. This is the most dramatic and visible difference in the entire survey. “