Lead generation is the lifeblood of any successful real estate agent’s career, so let’s be blunt: if you think managing those vital resources with Excel, Outlook, or Word is the way to go, you’re doing yourself and your business a disservice.

With technology rapidly proliferating, there’s no reason to not use a customer relationship management platform or CRM. In short, CRM refers to practices, strategies, and technologies companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle. CRM software consolidates customer information and documents into a single streamlined database and offers a host of tools and advantages. Let’s review:

  • Money talks. Surveys show top-earning agents spend up to 22 percent more on CRM than agents who earn $35,000 or less per year. Your ability to make money is tied to your ability to foster and maintain relationships, which brings us to our next point.
  • Tracking and managing relationships. Without a CRM tool, how do you manage your leads in the context of your relationships? Especially as your business grows, you need to efficiently be able to sort contacts into groups – past clients, referrals, investors – so you can reach them with appropriate messages in a timely fashion.
  • Be consistent. To capture repeat business, you’ve got to stay in front of potential clients. The automation that comes with CRM allows you to continue to stay in touch in a personal and sustained way.
  • Social media. These days, we all use social media to stay in touch, but linking your CRM to your social media accounts – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn – can give you the tools by which to personally connect with prospects on the events of their lives, and strengthen your relationships.
  • Manage closings. While CRM is a great tool for managing leads, that’s not the only use. The busier you get, the more difficult it becomes to juggle your transactions. CRM can track all the tasks associated with a pending deal, from mortgage application to inspection to closing date, complete with automated reminders.
  • Stay competitive. Already, about 70 percent of real estate agents are using CRM. Soon, it won’t be an optional tool for you to stay competitive in the field.

Be aware any tool is only as strong as the person using it, so it’s important to be disciplined about updating it. Every time you speak to a contact or complete a meeting, enter your notes and schedule a follow-up, or even the best CRM becomes little more than a glorified database. Put in the effort to learn the tool and use it daily, and CRM will pay off in customer satisfaction as well as in a fuller pipeline.