Excel spreadsheets. A precise email folder structure in your Outlook. Color-coded post-it notes. Salesforce. A CRE-dedicated technology that stores your data.
Whether you think of it as a CRM or not, every commercial real estate broker has a way to track and manage their prospect and client relationships. That’s what CRM is after all―customer relationship management. It refers to technology that helps you track, manage, and analyze interactions with contacts, whether they're prospective or current clients. It is generally a catchall term for the technology that enables these processes, but you could consider the more basic systems above as CRM (if you’re feeling generous).
5 warning signs that you might need a new system
If you’re comfortable with your income, you feel like you have plenty of time to get your work done, and have never missed a deadline or let a key detail slip, then you probably don’t need to upgrade whatever system you have in place.
But if not, it’s worth exploring if you need a new CRM.
1. You lost a client.
This is a pretty big red flag. But client communication is crucial—keeping them apprised of progress, from listing activities to marketing tasks completed, can be a challenge. If you’re not able to quickly pull the information you need and keep in touch as you guide their decision-making process, then you might get the boot. A CRM built for commercial real estate keeps all the relevant information in one place, so you can quickly pull reports and stay on top of every detail your client needs.
2. You lost a chance at new business.This is another giant red flag, but it happens more than most brokers care to admit. Maybe there’s someone you met and meant to follow up with later, and then you just forgot. Or maybe another broker swooped in at just the right time to steal a client you’d been working. It all has to do with timing and keeping track of the people you need to connect with. A good CRM makes these connections happen for you at the right time.
3.You missed an important conference because you didn’t register in time.Miss the early bird registration for ICSC? Meant to sign up for CCIM but the deadlines just flew by? If you can’t keep on top of your schedule, then you could miss crucial networking opportunities. A CRM helps you stay organized and can remind you of key events like industry conferences.
4. You’re calling and calling but you just can’t get a meeting scheduled.
Let’s say you’ve got your process down. You set aside two hours each morning to prospect. You make call after call but aren’t getting any meetings. Maybe it’s time to revisit your strategy! Do you have a value proposition for each person you’re calling? Notes from where you met and anything you learned then? A CRM can provide relevant information and news in one place, so you don’t have to waste time on prep and research. Some systems even allow you to target specific groups so you’re sure to make a connection.
5. You missed out on a social commitment.Maybe you missed a few innings of your daughter’s softball game. Or you had to bale on dinner with your college buddies. The point is you don’t have enough time in the day to get your work done during normal business hours. You’re spinning your wheels and don’t have the time to recharge. A CRM can help you be more efficient at work so you have the time to do what you want to do when you’re not in the office.
Here’s what you save by not wasting time
We all have busy periods, and we all probably have a story or two about a task slipping between the cracks. But if it’s happening consistently, then it’s time for a change. Just think about all the little tasks that consume your days: organizing your inbox, taking property photos, returning phone calls, making copies, mailing postcards or posting on social media. Technology can help with all that—so you can focus on high-value activities.