There’s a real estate paradox that brokerages are all too familiar with in 2021: Brokerages are providing more technology than ever to their agents, yet almost every tech tool—from customer relationship management (CRM) software to transaction management programs—feels and looks the same, regardless of the brokerage.
Many brokerages struggle to showcase their character and individuality through their tech offerings. When it comes to recruiting and retention, tech solutions look pretty much the same.
Non-franchise brokerages are independently minded, however. They want to provide tech tools that differentiate them from their competitors while also helping their agents grow their business. What’s missing are tech tools that help brokerages distinguish their brand.
That’s about to change, especially with new CRM solutions, including CRMs that can be customized, broker by broker.
Importance of the CRM
Real estate remains a relationship-driven business, and the critical tech tool that manages agent relationships is a CRM.
A CRM’s value cannot be overstated. According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the typical REALTOR® earned more than one-third of their business (34%) from repeat clients and the referrals they provided.
Many top-producing agents find that nine out of every 10 referrals come from their sphere of influence. In addition, agents who earn $100,000 or more in gross commission income are more than twice as likely to use a CRM than agents who earn less.
Agents will spend potentially thousands of dollars a month on advertising and promotion to reach new prospects, but their greatest source of future business is people they already know.
The Trend Toward More Robust and Custom CRMs
Real estate brokerages know that the best CRM is one that an agent will use. Unfortunately, adoption remains the single most challenging barrier toward universal CRM usage.
And not every brokerage offers a CRM for their agents. Even among larger brokerages, more than one-third of firms do not provide or encourage their agents to use a CRM, 2021 NAR research says.
To accomplish universal CRM usage among their agents, brokerages need CRMs to do more. Integrating new tech into CRMs—automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning—will accomplish two things that will help escalate adoption.
First, it will make them easier to use. Second, they will better reflect the independent brand of the brokerage.
The best CRMs will be at the core of every agent marketing activity, as innovations will make them more robust. CRMs that can be customized will help independent brokers differentiate their brands.
Smarter CRMs can drive social media connections and deliver highly targeted direct marketing and email campaigns that provide the right message to the right audience at the right time.
Everything will connect to one’s CRM, and once independent brokerages can provide a unique CRM from their competition, we will move closer to universal CRM use.
Michael Minard is CEO and owner of Delta Media Group, a leading and trusted technology partner for many of real estate’s top brands and 100% family-owned and operated.