Has a situation like this ever happened to you…?

Notes

A motivated seller calls you based on some marketing pieces you sent out.

The seller called you when you were in the middle of lunch, so you’re not at your desk. No worries, you’ve got a scrap piece of paper to take notes during the conversation.

Later on that day you get back to your office and you’re ready to start due diligence so you can follow up with the seller lead. Lo and behold, that scrap piece of paper that you wrote the seller’s information on is nowhere to be found.

Sure you could look at your call log and call the seller back to ask for their information again. But that sure does make you look flakey… and keep in mind this is someone that you want to trust you to buy their home.

That’s possibly money down the drain in marketing dollars for that lead, weakened rapport, and potential lost profits for a deal that you may have let slip away on a scrap piece of paper.

Not a good look.

Or maybe you can relate to this…

You’ve been receiving investor-buyer leads from your website on a weekly basis. Which is awesome, because you can’t sell investment properties if you don’t have someone to buy them.

You follow up with your leads on the phone to build rapport and to take notes in your handy-dandy notebook on exactly what type of homes they’re looking for.

Sounds good so far, right?

Then one day you work out a deal to get a couple of properties under contract from a motivated seller. Perfect.

Here’s where the milk goes bad… you can’t remember which of the investor-buyers you’ve been speaking with over the past few weeks would be a good match for the homes you just got under contract.

So you spend hours, scouring through your notebooks where you wrote investor-buyer information. By the way, those notebooks also contain your weekly grocery list, your honey-do list, notes from webinars you attended, and your daily to-do list.

Needless to say, it’s a less than ideal situation that’s costing you time and money.

If you’re a wholesaler, fix-and-flipper, landlord, or property manager – the livelihood of you and your family depends on your ability to follow up with buyers, sellers, tenants and investors in a professional and timely manner.

That’s hard to do if you’re relying on sticky notes, scrap paper, and notebooks to be your central intelligence.

I Know I Can Be a Bit of a Disorganized Mess. So What’s the Solution?

The problem is obvious. You want to run a more efficient and profitable business but your lead management (or lack thereof) is like sailing a boat with multiple leaks. And those holes in the boat are leaking cash and wasted time.

The plug that you need to help your sinking boat is a CRM.

CRM circle

If you’re not familiar with the term CRM, it stands for Customer Relationship Manager.

That’s just a fancy way to refer to a platform that keeps all of your leads, contacts, projects, and opportunities organized in a logical manner in one place.

Let’s talk about some the advantages of using a CRM in your real estate business:

  • It’s the glue between you and your client/vendor contacts; your documented communication that occurs with those people; and your deal pipeline.
  • It’s as a central location to store contacts, sales opportunities and activities in one place so you and your staff can access them and be on the same page with deal transactions.
  • Makes it easier for you to prioritize tasks based on actually seeing the opportunities available as opposed to guessing.
  • Allows you to create activity reports so you can see what is and isn’t getting done in your business.
  • Keeps track of client communication all in one place.
  • Helps streamline sales processes and makes them more transparent for your team.
  • Helps you see what customers want so it’s easier for you to deliver.

And, if you really want to run a more efficient and profitable real estate business, one of the true advantages of a CRM is things are less likely to slip through the cracks. And in real estate investing, things slipping through the cracks equates to loss time and profits.

Think about it, every time you don’t follow up with a lead because you either forgot or didn’t remember your conversation with him/her, that’s potential revenue down the drain.

There Are So Many Options. Where Do I start?

I’ve personally used a few CRMs. There are a couple of CRMs out currently that were built specifically for real estate investors.

The advantage of those is that you’re not starting from scratch because they were built with real estate professionals such as yourself in mind. But, I personally didn’t favor them because they were too rigid and don’t give you the flexibility that you need to adapt them to your business, depending on what kind of real estate investing niche you focus on.

The alternative is CRMs that weren’t specifically built for real estate investing, but they’re flexible enough to adapt them to your business, regardless of your niche. The advantage is total flexibility, but the drawback is you have to customize the CRM to fit your business.

If time is not something that you have the luxury of having much of, I recommend that you outsource someone to set up your CRM on your behalf. If you go to sites like upwork.com, you’ll find an abundance of people that are highly skilled in customizing CRMs.

You’ll first have to determine which CRM you want to use (I’ll touch on that in a second) and then you’ll post a job on upwork.com with a few details about your business, what you’d like to get done (customizing a CRM for your business), and your budget.

That’s it. Then wait for candidates to apply and choose the one that seems like the best fit. You’ll have that person customize the CRM based on how your business operates and the processes you have in place.

If you’re not ready to do all of that yet, and for right now you just want to have a place to store your contacts and communication in order to improve your follow up, then you can just use a CRM out-the-box and you won’t have to do too much customizing.

Different Types of CRMs

There’s a plethora of options out there for CRMs. I’ll just name a few I’ve tried that could possibly be a good fit for your real estate business.

Insightly

Insightly

The first CRM I’ll discuss is Insightly since it’s the one we use in my business. I like it because it’s very flexible, it’s reasonably priced, it integrates well with a lot of other applications including my favorite task management tool – Todoist, and it’s not overly complicated. So it’s personally my CRM of choice. In addition to managing our contacts, projects, and deals – our website leads feed into Insightly for easy tracking. And our entire deal flow, from creating purchase agreements to the closing of the deal, can be tracked in our Insightly pipelines; along with all of the documents for each deal stored inside the CRM.

If you want help customizing Insightly for your real estate business the same way I have mine, contact me and we can help with that.

Podio

Podio

This is the CRM that has become very popular with real estate investors. There’s several people that teach real estate investing based on using Podio in their business. It’s also an extremely flexible option and at the time of this writing, they have free plans. I think it’s a nice CRM, but my personal preference is still Insightly.

Pipedrive

Pipedrive

This is the CRM that has become very popular with real estate investors. There’s several people that teach real estate investing based on using Podio in their business. It’s also an extremely flexible option and at the time of this writing, they have free plans. I think it’s a nice CRM, but my personal preference is still Insightly.

Zoho

Zoho

Zoho is the big dog on the block. By that I mean Zoho is extremely robust, and if you wanted to you could actually run your entire business through the different Zoho apps. Some of the applications they offer include Zoho CRM, Zoho Mail, Zoho Forms, Zoho Campaigns, and even Zoho Social for you to manage your social media. There’s no doubt that Zoho is bursting at the seams with options. But for me personally, it’s overkill and it’s a lot more entailed to customize.

What’s My Next Step?

Board

If you weren’t considering a CRM before, hopefully by now a light bulb has come on that you should start investigating one that’s the right fit for you sooner than later.

I know it’s hard to imagine taking the time to set up a CRM since you’re still managing all of the other pieces in your business. But, you have to think about it this way… the time that you take to set up your CRM – or have someone set it up – will ultimately save you SIGNIFICANTLY more time in the long run than your initial setup time.

Not to mention, it will make lead generation and follow up much easier. If that extra efficiency allows you to get at least 1 additional deal done per month, or even per quarter, then it’s a no-brainer.

My last word of advice is this: Typically when something is too complicated, it’s less likely to be used long term in your business. So when you’re selecting a CRM and deciding how you’ll utilize it, make sure you strike a balance between the features, flexibility, and user-friendliness.