Sharing contacts is a touchy subject for a lot of people in our industry, and we have done it to ourselves. Looking back to pre-CRM days, everyone had their index cards or Rolodex and those belonged to them and them alone. Nobody knew if someone else in the office had a relationship with their contacts or not, and that had to have led to conflict from time to time. Those days also saw carbonised buyer sheets used at Open for Inspections that did not help you to know what interactions buyers had with colleagues, and paper files that ended up being 50mm thick or more by the time you sold a property. Perhaps the speed of the industry was much slower then and it was, therefore, easier to keep across things via manual methods.
Out with the old in with the new
The digital revolution arrived around 20 years ago, through which the internet changed the face of real estate forever. Agencies then started internally adopting more and more technology to streamline their business as everything became faster. Key to this was the introduction of CRM solutions such as Agentbox, which had been adopted in other industries and now it was time for real estate agencies to embrace. Most business owners immediately recognised the benefits of a centralised database of contacts, although the agents who had laid the groundwork building relationships with all of those contacts were not convinced. Furthermore, it was apparent that the relationship with the customer, the service provided and the overall experience that the customer had with the business was more important than the squabbling of agents as to who owns the client and who gets paid.
There were a myriad of reasons why agents were sceptical about it: some just did not want to have their work scrutinised through the introduction of reporting on their activities; others were simply set in their ways; but mostly, agents who had good systems in place and had always done the right thing were worried that their efforts may simply lead to someone else reaping the rewards for their hard work.
The benefits are worth the effort
Centralised client databases have proved a good thing over time and are a core part of most businesses’ success. They were much more heavily adopted in Melbourne with large multi-office networks than any other capital city in the early days, although are now being used across large businesses everywhere.
The CRM, on its own, provides businesses with a tremendous benefit in the form of providing a much more complete picture of all of the interactions your clients have had with your business. This cannot happen when every office in a network or every agent in an office is running their own system. It also ensures that numerous staff members are not unwittingly sending the same information to your clients. A centralised database with a Primary Owner assigned allows a business owner to ensure clients only receive communications once and that they come from the agent in the business who has the strongest relationship with a contact, or in other words, the relationship most likely to generate future revenue.
In addition to the benefits offered just through the use of a centralised database, there are numerous PropTech providers who now integrate with Agentbox and other systems. They offer everything from more effective prospecting methods to nurturing dormant clients to providing your agency with greater revenue through white-labelled utility connections services. Having everything in one place even allows you to have digital leaderboards visually displayed in your office to drive staff to compete with one another, constantly striving to improve and “top the charts”.
As agencies grow, sharing data becomes critical to success
The stigma that goes along with sharing contacts with one another will undoubtedly be around for a while, but the benefits to business owners are clear and cannot be disputed. Ultimately, an agent’s best tool to get more listings and generate more revenue is to be second to none at building and maintaining meaningful relationships with their clients, and doing that with a more complete picture of their interactions with the business will make that significantly easier than with acting on a fraction of the data.
Whilst sharing everything is not going to suit everyone, Agentbox offers a myriad of custom sharing options that will ensure that what is shared with whom fits into the culture of your business as opposed to your culture needing to bend to your system.