By Kelly McCain, Director, Business Services, Royal LePage
With homes in many markets selling at a feverish rate, the contrary is also evident in some regions across Canada. Regardless of the conditions you are operating in, agents who thrive build their business to neutralize the market’s inevitable peaks and valleys. Concentrating on your best conversion opportunities today while seeding future business with your database is the key to a consistent, sustainable real estate business.
Sowing seeds today for business tomorrow is standard methodology in our industry and the way that coaches and trainers encourage agents to operate. The risk in hot markets is that agents can spend all of their time with active buyers and sellers and not enough of their precious little time nurturing their database for future business. Then, as a market cools, many will find themselves desperately cultivating their database in a random fashion to bridge the gap in their production. Client Relationship Management systems (CRMs) are the tool of choice to systematize best practices and put them on autopilot.
This is the opportunity we wanted to address three years ago when we began to explore the notion of providing a no-cost CRM to our national network. The goal was to develop a platform that would allow our agents to invest minimal time to apply best practices for their business. The beauty and power of a CRM is the systematization of an agent’s book of business to deliver best practices to their individual contacts. Agents spend their valuable time on the things they need to do today, while building a sustainable business for the long haul.
In our preliminary research for Smart Studio, a CRM and marketing platform launched nationally at Royal LePage in March, we discovered a wide range of CRM utilization. Although there was discrepancy between what agents consider to be a CRM, most believed strongly in its value. Many had invested in industry or small business CRMs with all the bells and whistles, usually at a significant ongoing cost. We found however that most agents were simply not using the majority of the functionality available through formidable CRM platforms.
Our approach for Smart Studio was to deliver the systemization and conversion power of a CRM at no additional cost to our agents. We coupled our CRM with tried-and-true action plans that are proven in the field through our corporately-owned brokerage, which often serves as an incubator for these types of initiatives. Action plans support new, repeat and referral business through best practice conversion-oriented activities and include drip campaigns which help agents to effortlessly stay in touch with their contacts while providing valuable information and education.
Real estate professional were also looking to further lighten the burden of marketing themselves and their listings outside of their database. That implored us to make significant changes to our former marketing platform when designing Smart Studio. Now, when a new listing is loaded into a local real estate board, an email is automatically generated to the agent with a link to a pre-produced set of listings data integrated print and web marketing pieces. The materials include feature sheets, postcards, slide shows and single property websites along with social media posts. These professionally designed pieces can be downloaded, hosted and posted in a few clicks.
In hot markets, you’ve got a great tool that delivers knock-out listings marketing almost effortlessly and a system that nurtures future business with minimal input. In slower markets, you’re sustaining those nurturing activities that will yield you the best conversion opportunities today and ongoing. Having a CRM helps you focus your work and it keeps you connected to the best practices that are critical to developing a sustainable business over time.
When you are able to weather the peaks and troughs that are inherent to the real estate business, you’re ready to produce in any market condition. Getting smart about your CRM, whichever tool you chose to employ, is key to cultivating your success as a real estate professional.
Kelly McCain is director, business services at Royal LePage Canada. She has helped to deliver a wide array of platforms and initiatives to increase brokerage profitability and agent productivity.