Learning new technology is sometimes daunting, but once you learn it, it can open up a whole new world where you can work smarter not harder. 

Real estate agents have the daily struggle of juggling multiple tasks of all shapes and sizes. Picture a professional juggler tossing a bowling ball, chainsaw, and rubber duck in succession and you have the metaphorical picture of a real estate agent except it’s a lease signing, client phone call, and a showing. 

Luckily for us, improvements in technology have given us an advantage in tackling all of these tasks without having to feel like the juggler.

Help source listings

For agents, especially agents that represent landlords, listings are coming from a myriad of sources: RentHop, Streeteasy, Zillow, Trulia, etc., so keeping track of them is extremely difficult. Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM) can capture and organize those leads, and they can help you to keep track of what stage in the rental/sales process you are with each client. When a lead is first filtered into the CRM it will categorize the lead as “new lead” so you are aware. As you continue with the lead, you can change its status from contacted, nurture, active, closed/won, or dead. Our CRM in particular runs through Salesforce, but there are many CRMs out there to tailor to your needs. 

Vinetia Forrest, our CRM coordinator,  finds that the best use of the CRM for agents is that “centralizing your data takes the stress out of planning your events. Agents are able to match their clients’ data to listings and invite them to an open house to help generate traffic.”

She adds: “They can create reports with charts and see what lead sources and listings are generating money or falling short. Reporting on consumer activity allows you to realign budget to help prevent business loss.”

Find data-driven insights

Data-driven insights are important for an agent, but also imperative for the brokerage to gauge their overall performance, as well as each individual agent’s performance. We can use the above mentioned CRM to gather data for certain listings, clients, and agents. We can see whether a certain drip campaign was successful and/or a listing has has reached the appropriate targets. But, there are other sites that can be useful to provide data-driven insights. 

We use a specific proprietary database called Zoho that houses, categorizes, and captures data for our agents and exclusive properties.

At the end of each month, quarter and year we can pull up numbers to see whether we’ve reached our goals and if we haven’t, why we’ve fallen short. Shanice Xochmitl, our office manager at our Brooklyn office, finds Zoho to be a useful resource for exclusives: “I can easily keep track of the numbers that we’ve done last year to set goals for the upcoming year. It’s also helpful because the house can hold records of inventory, past pricing, and any upcoming vacancies. Because we pull reports of the past year’s pricing, it can give us insight into the market and how it changes over the years as well as what to expect for the current year and current vacancies.”

Zoho keeps track of agent finances particularly well as it tracks their year-to-date earnings, completed deals, and whether they’ve been paid on those deals. It also categorizes their current deals so they can see what stage of the process each current client is in and how to proceed next. 

Organize your day

There are a lot of tools that can be used to organize your day as an agent. My favorites for sharing things are the Google Office Suite and Dochub. These shared options make it easy to communicate and collaborate with just about anyone. All appointments, phone calls, lease signings, etc. can be kept in Google Calendar and set to remind yourself as well as your client to be there. CRM has the ability to link to your calendar so this is a useful resource as well to keep your schedule going strong. 

Our marketing team uses Trello to organize themselves and finds the features of Trello to work well for team and individual accountability. It allows them to communicate with each other about projects that are ongoing or upcoming and lets everyone know the stage they’re in throughout the process.

“I use it because I like that you can switch back and forth between responsibility view and calendar view. You can see who’s responsible for a certain task and when the deadline is for each task/project. Also, it has a bunch of widgets (called Power-ups) that can connect to Google Drive in order to connect all your team sources together. Works great for my small team and it’s free!” says our Marketing Director, James Rozansk.

Stay in touch with your clients

Staying in touch with clients is one of the most difficult tasks and one that usually takes a back seat because it is time consuming and hard to keep track of. There are many platforms that allow you to gather all of your contacts in one place, but I’ve found MailChimp to be a helpful and simple way to do so.

You can export your contacts from a variety of other sources and upload all to MailChimp in order to send email blasts. There are pre-made templates available to create newsletters and mass emails. They are created to be personalized even though you are sending them to all (or some) of your contacts. 

CRMs can be a wonderful tool to stay in touch with clients because you can set up reminders. Agents at any point in time could and should be dealing with hundreds of clients; they will not all be actively looking for a home at the moment, but should be constantly a nurtured in order to keep a growing relationship with them.

Juggling multiple tasks doesn’t have to be a struggle if you’re employing the right tools. Learning new technology is sometimes daunting, but once you learn it, it can open up a whole new world where you can work smarter not harder. 

Gina Castrorao is a rental manager and licensed real estate agent at Real New York. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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