“ You want to make sure that you’re constantly depositing funds into that relationship account during this period of time between when you first met them and when it's time to buy, so that when it is time to buy, you can make a withdrawal and that withdrawal is essentially earning the right to say: ”I know that it's time for you to start thinking seriously about leveraging services that we provide. I'd like you to listen to what we have to provide in doing that at the right time. ”
What if I told you that the real estate industry doesn’t have a lead generation problem? There are plenty of leads to go around. There are no shortage of services and offerings targeted at generating larger quantity of leads and perhaps more quality leads.
What we see as a lack of focus and attention is a lead management problem.
Real estate brokers/agents, driven by the need to generate revenues now, tend to focus only on those hot leads often abandoning the follow up and nurturing required to close the larger population of warm and cold leads that are uncovered.
The secret sauce of effective real estate lead management is actually the consistent care in nurturing the leads you already have.
Keeping hundreds of prospective buyers, sellers and tenants organized, ensuring the proper communication balance, personalizing messages, and checking no lead slips through the cracks requires a lot of planning, time, and, of course, automation.
The latter is key to an organized lead management process.
Therefore, I’d like to present how a real estate lead management system (CRM) can a become virtual team member and take the headaches of lead nurturing and converting.
By the end of this article, you’ll get practical knowledge of how to organize real estate leads, effectively track leads, and maximize the value of CRM software in real estate lead management.
To build an effective real estate lead management process, you need to:
- Automate your real estate lead processing
- Leverage technology to keep persistent in following up on real estate leads
- Use dates to drive relationships with leads and understand when they are ready to buy or use your service
- Stay top of mind with these leads by constantly investing in “value add” messaging over the course of their “buying cycle”
- Maximize the opportunity by solving the pain points of your leads
- Measure the efficiency of your real estate lead management.
Automate Real Estate Lead Processing
Some think of “automation of lead processing,” as simply subscribing to lead generation platforms like Costar or LoopNet as these systems notify brokers systematically when someone adds listing to a favorite, got interested in listing, etc.
But the lead notification comes via e-mail. And unfortunately, for most, the “lead” data doesn’t get entered into any kind of CRM tool for proper tracking and follow up but rather entered into a spreadsheet at best or saved in a folder within Outlook or Gmail. Without a supporting system, it is simply too hard to persist in your outreach over the course of time.
To ensure that nothing falls through the cracks, you must keep track of real estate leads and distribute them among your brokerage teams.
By implementing a real estate lead management system, you’ll be able to automatically route leads to your agents based on internally defined criteria that make sense for your team.
For example, you could distribute leads geographically by geolocation or zip code, lead generation source, send leads from a particular listing to the assigned listing agent and hand over leads with higher deal value to your senior real estate agents.
Leverage Technology to Keep Persistent in Following Up with Real Estate Leads
Many times, I’ve heard that real estate agents and brokers don’t follow up with real estate leads systematically and don’t persist in this process. Why?
Some don’t know how to start the follow-up activities properly; some don’t have a clear understanding of how to manage the follow-up process.
If they had a step-by-step follow-up plan and a single place to store the incoming real estate leads, would they keep persistent in following up? Sure!
Here’s where technology comes into play.
How does leveraging a bulletproof real estate CRM system keep brokers persistent in following up?
It Keeps Leads and Opportunity Buckets Full and Categorized
In a real estate lead management system such as CRM, you can create two buckets you’ll manage religiously: the leads bucket and the opportunity bucket.
By working in a CRM, you can easily categorize real estate leads according to the lead source, type of service they require, etc.
Then you distribute the categorized lists of leads between other team members for further follow-up.
Working within a CRM helps brokers flag and log real estate leads in a particular queue. And despite the number of opportunities and business obligations you may have during the day, categorization and automation helps you persist over time with those leads.
Lead categorization inside the CRM system frees you up: all you have to do is to gather the intel and categorize properly. Based on the data you put into the system, it automatically reminds you and keeps you up to date on what you need to do.
As a result, you manage all incoming real estate leads properly and don’t let any inquiry fall into the cracks.
It Helps to Set a Proper Cadence in Following-up Real Estate Leads
Leveraging technology like CRM software allows real estate agents to segment incoming real estate leads, in turn facilitating the ability to set up a proper follow up candence and time sequence.
Once you recognize and flag your leads appropriately, you set up a schedule in the form of following up (e.g., a combination of e-mail, phone, or message sequence in LinkedIn).
For setting up the proper cadence, you have two options: either manually set up this cadence and put some structure behind it or have automated email sends and call reminders that will notify you, so you don’t have any fall through the nets.
If you think that you can do real estate lead tracking at scale in Excel spreadsheets, think again. Always remember that you’ll continue to get new leads, whether from LoopNet or other lead-generating sites, and the chances of forgetting about the leads that came three or four weeks ago increases as the size of your lead pool increases.
CRM allows you to keep older leads at the forefront and set up relevant cadence for them while you’re looking for the newer leads coming in.
Also, by using CRM, brokers can create data driven groupings of leads based on critical dates to dictate the timing of the next outreach.
Let me describe to you how it works.
You’ve got a brand-new real estate lead. You categorize this lead as a tenant prospect, create a profile in CRM, and put the lease expiration date there. Then based on the specified expiration date, the system automatically schedules a follow-up cadence that’s appropriate for the lead so that you don’t have to even think about it.
So basically, agents just need to feed the expiration date into CRM, and the system takes care of all the scheduling and follow-up.
It Helps to Automate Multichannel Approach to Your Real Estate Leads
Being a real estate agent in the information age also means applying a multimedia approach to your follow-up strategy.
Reaching out to people with instant messaging using a combination of email + LinkedIn, phone calls + LinkedIn connection requests + voicemail will definitely make you stand out among other real estate agents.
You can also track the results of the multichannel approach and set up reminders for the next follow-ups right inside your CRM.
Using a real estate lead management system, brokers can set up the conditions so that the system will prescriptively tell when they need to follow up with leads and what medium they need to use for the follow-up: phone calls, LinkedIn, or e-mail text.
For arranging face-to-face meetings, the CRM system works in the same way.
Based on the dates you’ve put in your CRM system, you can define the place and time when it is the most appropriate to get in front of a specific real estate lead.
In short, if you persistently follow up with every lead, you’ll be in rare company and put yourself in a position to close more deals. Being top of mind and taking special care of your leads will make you a better real estate agent, enhance your stellar reputation, and make you more money.
Use Dates to Drive Relationships with Leads and Understand When They Are Ready to Buy
Critical dates related to real estate transactions are wonderful triggers for setting reminders and automating outreach so that the right message is delivered at the right time to the right audience without the burden of having to monitor those dates.
For example, you’re a broker on the tenant rep side, you’ve engaged with a decision-making person in an organization, and there is a lease expiration date that they have in 5 years.
Does it mean that for the next 5 years you don’t have to nurture this lead? No, this lead is worthy of continued relationship-building in the same way as the lead that came yesterday.
By nurturing that relationship over time, you need to stay respectful of the fact that their time to buy is not right now. And so, the messaging that you communicate with them would aim to keep a positive balance in the relationship account.
Some brokers may do the same using spreadsheets. However, spreadsheets don’t foster the possibility and opportunity for automating the follow-up process for long-haul leads.
CRM not only stores the contact phone numbers but empowers brokers to work on that data. By having a single real estate management system, you can create a plan to cross the chasm between the first touch with leads and when they are most likely to buy.
In other words, the better you organize the information you gain on the prospect, the more effective you will be at prospecting and following up on real estate leads.
Let’s look at specific use cases that illustrate how dates drive relationships with leads and help brokers to foresee when leads are ready to buy.
The landlord rep broker operates with tons of lease and listing data. Listings don’t go on forever, they have a finite period: a date on which the listing starts and when it expires.
If the landlord rep broker consistently uses CRM for CRE and lead tracking, the system will notify him about not only upcoming lease expiration dates but the listing expiration as well. By knowing these dates, the broker calibrates the communication to the tenants and the owner well in advance of those dates to warm up the relationship and position for the renewal.
Capital markets brokers are also tight with dates.
For instance, there are lenders that have a finite amount of funds to be deployed at a point in time. But before the capital markets broker contacted them to invest in Class A office space upwards of seven million (as an example), lenders had already tied the money up in 2 other deals with an arrangement that will expire in 5 months.
For now, it’s not meaningful for capital markets brokers to have a conversation with these lenders, but in five months, they will be back in the market. And if all the dates concerning this deal are correctly tracked, the CRM system will remind you in 5 months to reach out to these lenders again and offer the deal they will willingly accept.
So, using dates to build positive relationships with leads should become an integral part of your real estate lead management process flow.
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Stay on Top of Mind with Clients by Regularly Reminding About Yourself
This point is one of the most crucial in real estate lead management. There are three aims for this process:
- You remind your target audience about you and your services, so leads think of your name first when it’s time to buy, sell or lease.
- You establish good reasons to reconnect with stale leads and long-term buyers
- You update the data in leads profiles within your CRM system.
All this can be accomplished through a simple set of actions: sending relevant e-mails, posting some updates, and putting update phone calls into your follow-up sequences.
To make this process productive and capture all the data involved, you need to have some centralized location. And CRM is the best option.
CRM allows real estate brokers to leverage automation and take the next level in real estate lead management process flow.
If you put a little effort into CRM and track the data correctly, then the system can start giving back to you, by doing activities on your behalf instead of you having to do them. It can be your virtual brain when you communicate with somebody.
If you’re in a spreadsheet, you’re never going to operate at that scale and efficiency.
Measure the Efficiency of Your Real Estate Lead Management
You can’t manage what you can’t measure. And you won’t accomplish more than you accomplished last year unless you become more goal-oriented.
If you’ve got a goal that starts driving behavior, and if you can put a system that allows you to manage your actions against that goal, then you’re heading in the right direction.
Let me provide an example that illustrates the importance of measuring efficiency.
As a real estate broker, you need to get $5,000,000 in total gross deal value this year. To reach this goal, you must have at least five deals of $1,000,000 each. And to get those 5 deals, you need to have at least 30 deals because your historical conversion ratio has been X.
Then, to get those 30 deals, you need to have X number of meetings. To get that X number of meetings, you need to have X number of leads. If you don’t have a CRM system within your real estate brokerage, it becomes difficult if not impossible to manage and measure the actual activity vs goals. The burden of the upkeep of all of this data will overwhelm you and lead to a discontinuance of tracking the progress.
Suppose you’re operating off the spreadsheet or, worse, a notebook. In that case, you’re not only inefficiently storing the information but also getting none of that downstream benefit of measuring and automating the real estate lead management process.
Having a well-organized CRM system introduces not only great efficiencies to scale your lead management process but also provides robust reports and dashboards to measure this activity along the way.
In this article, I tried to provide you with compelling perspectives that:
- The level of activity and subsequent results you can accomplish without automation is small relative to those leveraging CRM automation platforms.
- Automation is a driven force of productive real estate lead processing. It’s barely possible to manage, follow-up and reach real estate leads out correctly with spreadsheets, only if you have a robust CRM system.
- The role and impact of CRM in real estate lead management is huge and there are few reasons to discount the usage of these types of tools. Industry-tailored CRM software automates daily administrative tasks and frees you to do what you do best – selling, leasing and financing real estate.
With that in mind and the right CRM software at hand, you’ll earn more commissions in no time.
Our Ascendix team authored an industry-tailored CRM – AscendixRE. Unlike other fit-for-all-size CRM systems, AscendixRE is a Salesforce-based solution that comes with already in-built features for real estate brokers and agents — you don’t have to pay extra to calibrate it for the real estate needs, so you can start using it from day one!
AscendixRE offers the following functionality:
- Contact & account management
- Prospecting tools
- Advanced tracking of leases, listings, commissions, and more
- Stacking plans
- Geo mapping search
- Brochure generation
- Lead management, distribution & segmentation
- Centralized data storage
- Bulk emailing & campaign management
- Mass records update & editing
- And much more!
What also makes AscendixRE CRM stand out from other real estate based CRM tools on the market is that it blends our 16-year experience in the real estate space with unlimited customization consulting services for platforms like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics.
Thanks to this, Ascendix offers a top-notch product that can be scaled to any organization size and grow together with your company, without disrupting the original version and guarantee your data protection with well-known high-security standards of Salesforce and Microsoft platforms.
In addition to product offerings, Ascendix helps brokers that have already invested in CRM to use this tool to the fullest extent. We also offer CRM consulting services for real estate businesses.
Book AscendixRE demo today to explore how it can assist you in building real estate lead management process.
Having 25 years of CRM consulting experience, Wes has been on multiple advisory boards for CRM applications over the years including Salesforce, Dynamics 365, and no less than 10 other CRM platforms. Wes is a frequent guest of podcasts, speaker, and author of posts on CRM topics.