When the coronavirus outbreak hit in 2020, nobody knew what would happen to the real estate sector - nobody knew what would happen to any sector. At first, the uncertainty led to a rapid decrease in existing home sales, with 30% fewer transactions between February and June 2020. Fortunately, things picked up quickly again and sales rocketed to an all-time high in September 2020.
The uncertainty of the future meant that real estate developers, agencies, and buyers felt more vulnerable than ever, and it was up to real estate agents to create a seamless experience that answered all client questions and worries. But this was easier said than done when most agents were forced to work from home and offer only virtual viewings of properties.
The disconnect between what clients wanted (a real, human experience that alleviated their uncertainties) and what real estate agents could provide (an inherently digital experience that got things going but lacked human touch) meant that realtors had to hyper-personalize their engagements with potential buyers and come up with ways to close deals digitally.
Mobile-first sales tools are proving to be the best option for realtors who want to stay connected to their customers on the go, provide a personalized customer experience, and increase their sales productivity. Doing so helps reap huge benefits: realtors earning $100,000 or more in gross commission income are more than twice as likely to use advanced sales technology tools such as a real estate CRM than agents who don’t.
Here’s a guide to help you understand it all.
Selling online means that realtors have to get their heads around emerging technology trends or risk falling behind. Understanding algorithm rankings, data security measures, privacy policies, and marketing automation, is a lot to contend with, but today’s agents have to be savvy. Choosing the wrong sales or marketing automation software or overlooking data security can turn into a very expensive headache.
We mentioned earlier that almost half of real estate agents struggle to keep up with changing technology - but what exactly do they struggle with the most?
Even realtors with a huge referral network need to promote their properties, but choosing which marketing strategies have the most impact can be difficult with no data to work from. Many real estate agents are implementing old-school print methods and avoiding digital altogether, but this can be costly and can filter out a lot of potential clients who are using social media and other online platforms. At the moment, the market is slow so leads are difficult to come by, but people have moved online for their initial property search, which means e-listings have the potential to generate a lot of inquiries. But it comes at a price.
The realtors who do use online paid advertising options often find lead generation costly. CPC-based ad features can be volatile and can change overnight, making it a tall task to compete with large real estate brands that have the budget to target highly desirable keywords.
For others, failing to nurture leads and provide clients with an enjoyable experience can lead to a lack of referrals and a lack of income. Today, 25% of agents meet more than 50% of their annual sales targets through referrals, which means keeping in contact with former clients through open-house invitations, holiday greetings, and cultivating a network is absolutely crucial. However, many agents focus on the present incoming revenue and forget to follow up, which can lead to unhappy customers who won’t come back or refer the realtor to their friends and family.
Purchasing a property is a daunting commitment in any case, which means clients rely on fast responses and regular communication with their realtors. But following up with each and every client while scheduling site-visit appointments can take up a lot of time. If a realtor has 20 viewings over the weekend, they might need to spend the entirety of their Monday morning following up, which can take time away from other tasks, such as developing a marketing plan for listings and arranging sales agreements.
More than this, it can provide an inconsistent experience for homeowners who expect their agents to be on top of everything. In fact, 88% of clients expect a response from their realtor within the hour. Getting in there fast gives realtors a competitive edge and helps solidify client relationships.
In terms of technology, many prominent real estate systems are outdated and don’t capture the pre-buying interest of clients who check out real estate websites or property aggregators to do an initial property search online.
For agents, manually registering new clients or updating existing information for a potential sale agreement can be time-consuming, prone to human errors, and a drain on sales productivity. Most realtors don’t want to spend their time creating new records for clients; they’d rather be talking to new clients and finding or selling their dream home and meeting their sales quota.
The competition among realtors today is fierce. The growing popularity of aggregator-based listing portals and homebuyer apps, along with social media buy and sell groups, have limited the agent’s role.
But real estate agents still have to find their own clients and build up their own network, often spending a lot of time tracking down prospects, nurturing them before they turn them into clients. Without physical facetime with potential and existing clients, this gets even more challenging as clients only want to engage on the digital channels that they prefer on a need basis.
If you’ve decided to spend some marketing dollars in generating leads and there’s no way to monitor what’s going on in your business, a marketing automation tool that integrates seamlessly with a real estate CRM could be the solution. A martech tool maps the entire customer journey where the buyer finds a realtor to provide insights, such as preferred channels, campaign performance, property interests, and real-estate content engagement levels. On top of this, a CRM can predict lead conversion rates and optimize sales outreach methods to take over administrative and selling tasks with intuitive automation. Realtors are able to see whether a client has replied or engaged with their emails, categorize interactions that a potential client makes on the website, and add leads to their sales pipeline with quarterly viewings and closings in mind.
Automated sales technology like chatbots can help capture potential clients when their interest levels are high. You can also turn organic traffic, such as website visitors and open house attendees, into leads with automated messages that are geared toward their unique home search needs.
There might be a number of leads who are constantly engaging with an agent’s content, such as frequently checking emails and interacting with campaigns, but aren’t yet fully ready to purchase a property, aren’t sure of what they’re looking for, or don’t yet have a property to sell.
CRM for real estate agents make this segmentation easier by allowing realtors to score leads based on the prospect’s profile and their ongoing engagement with the agent and subsequently prioritize the ones most likely to complete the sale.
Through a real estate CRM, agents can create custom reports for gaining better insights into revenue targets, understand what needs to be done to push these prospects to the closing stage, and move genuine buyers along the pipeline with constant engagement. This might include following up right after open houses and holding focused meetings between buyers and sellers.
It’s hard for a realtor to keep track of an expanding list of properties. To send out tailored communication to buyers, agents can configure property catalogs with relevant descriptions, pricing, and booking discount structures, and then log it on the CRM after sending it across via native integration.
Personalization in this way helps agents spark meaningful conversations with their clients that can ultimately lead to deeper relationships and a higher chance of making a sale.
Agents should make use of a mobile-first CRM for real estate agents to plan and schedule viewings through automated emails and notifications. This means buyers don’t miss out on the chance to view a property, and agents are able to stay on top of their communication with potential buyers - all through a user-friendly mobile real estate CRM app.
Agents can further update their site visit notes on the go to ensure site managers, agents, and sellers are all on the same page with a view of upcoming tasks in the sale journey.
Working with clients often involves multiple back-and-forth over scheduling - a chain of endless emails and undocumented calls. Better appointment scheduling maximizes actual visits and showings and has a direct impact on sales commission and revenue.
By using a real estate CRM, agents can trigger available slots, schedule appointments and send an automated confirmation to all parties, which gets synced with their calendar for future reminders. The result is a sharp decrease in the turn-around time for agents with a top-level view of all site visits and progress for each client.
A great customer experience can be a key differentiator for clients who are often looking for speed, efficiency, and convenience while choosing their dream home. However, this experience goes beyond property viewings and scheduling.
Home documentation and client verification can often be clunky and time-consuming, which can potentially hurt the customer’s experience and lengthen the sales cycle. It can also be littered with errors if paperwork gets lost or details are entered incorrectly.
Onboarding typically involves a number of documents, such as a sales deed, apartment agreement, allotment letter, building plans, and Power of Attorney paperwork. This task checklist combined with processes like digital signatures and e-verification can easily be integrated in a real estate CRM for complete transparency.
Following up is crucial, as is providing an excellent customer experience post sale. Real estate agents can schedule automated follow-up emails and notifications in the form of holiday greetings, new properties of interest, etc., through a series of built-in macros on the CRM, to nurture clients long after they’ve made a purchase or sold a property.
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