• Marketing software is paramount as it allows you to effectively communicate with your clients.
  • Although it's not always sexy, transaction management is a huge part of being a successful brokerage.
  • One thing that can raise the bar on your customer service is a 24-hour call service.

Good software can be the gateway to brokerage success or an immense black hole into which money is absorbed. As brokers, we’re barraged with constant inquiries to “try the latest” or “here’s what you need.”

What you want are real estate tech tools that will do the best possible job for the money. Here’s my list of favorites.

Marketing software

There are all kinds of platforms and software solutions claiming to “do it all.” Ultimately, you want MailChimp because it does exactly what you need — connects agents and clients in one easy-to-use product.

As a broker, there are three great ways to use MailChimp: event promotion (listings, training, etc.), property marketing and client newsletters. Across all these activities, MailChimp helps the broker and the agents.

The product is easy to use and sending an email takes only a few minutes. You should create custom templates to meet the unique needs of each activity.

For example, event promotion emails should be “Triple B” — bold, beautiful and brief, and newsletters will be longer with more images and content.

There is a wide range of ready-to-go templates to get started right away. For the best look, I highly recommend hiring a graphic designer to create a custom template for each use.

Transaction management

It’s always fun to talk about generating leads and getting clients, but what do you do with the files? It might not be sexy, but transaction management is a critical part of being a successful broker. I’m a huge fan of PlanetRE!

First, there’s the dashboard, and I love it! It shows me sales volume, commission income, upcoming listings and more. This is where I go to see how well my business is doing. Big numbers on my dashboard make me giddy.

Second, there are the custom file lists with reminders. I can define a list of every form required for any transaction. It generates a custom calendar for everyone to see with deadlines and deliverables. What more could you ask for?

As a file is reviewed by the transaction coordinator or agent, I can see who is behind on his or her paperwork. Risk management is a huge issue for brokers, and good software can help mitigate that. A quick click into a file, and I’ll know what’s been done in mere seconds.

For the final broker review, it takes a few minutes to look at a file, know what’s missing and quickly audit the list of what the agent has submitted. There are PDF copies of everything, so all I have to do is click a file link, verify the information and sign off or ask for an update.

All this is available for a bargain price that varies depending on the size of your brokerage. When compared to some of the major back office brokerage products, this stands out as one of the best.

Customer service

Clients expect brokers and agents to be available most of the day. When they call, they expect a response quickly. How can brokers create a customer experience where clients have a better chance of reaching someone 24/7? A great cloud-based call center product can do it. I recommend RingCentral.

In a world where office phones are going the way of the dinosaur, most agents want calls to go to their phone. Even if the call goes directly to the agent’s phone, he or she might be busy with a client and unable to take a call. What do you do? You should redirect the call to someone else.

The real power of RingCentral is two features — call rules and call forwarding.

Let’s assume a client calls an agent’s phone, but the agent is busy. Rather than going to voicemail, RingCentral can route that caller to other numbers, including the brokerage main number, until it gets a person.

You can set up the system, so if a call comes into one phone number but isn’t answered, the caller is sent to a series of numbers until he or she reaches someone. If you want different rules for weekends, holidays or other times, then call rules will take care of it.

The bottom line is that RingCentral helps ensure a better customer experience, which ultimately means a more profitable business.

Hopefully, all of these suggestions will help you be more productive, which should allow you to care for your clients better and do more business.

Brokers, what other tech are you using and why do you love it? Please share in the comments section below.

Bryan Robertson is the co-founder and managing broker of Catarra Real Estate.

Email Bryan Robertson.

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