Editor's note: Customer relationship management practices, or CRM for short, can be crucial in the Internet age, when many consumers are starting their real estate search 12 to 18 months before they're ready to work one-on-one with an agent. In this three-part report, Inman News looks into the meaning of CRM, best practices and an array of technology systems available to the real estate industry. (See Part 2 and Part 3.) The real estate business has something to do with property, of course. But most professionals will tell you that it's really about people: How to find consumers, how to help them find you, how to keep in contact with them, how to turn those consumers into clients, how to help them through the real estate transaction and to track their progress, and how to maintain contact with them. At the core of this process is customer relationship management, or CRM. Broadly defined, CRM encompasses all aspects of a company's or salesperson's interaction with a c...
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