It seems there are as many real estate crm providers out there as agents in the business.
A quick google search for the phrase real estate crm returned over 30,000,000 results!
With so many companies competing for the same customers you would think several players would emerge with innovative products specifically tailored to the needs of real estate agents that are fairly tech savvy. In my opinion this hasn’t happened [yet].
I should clarify what I mean: I’m talking about a crm system designed for real estate agents that looks, works and feels like it has been launched or updated since the release of the first Blackberry device.
When you step out of the real estate vertical one of the crm systems often recommended by other solo practitioners is Highrise by 37 Signals:
Highrise [my opinion, not theirs] was designed to be an easy to use, no non-sense platform that has all the features you need and none you don’t. With the addition of a few real estate specific features 37 Signals could own the real estate crm market in my opinion. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of real estate agents using the app already.
I reached out to Geordie Romer of Icicle Creek Real Estate, a Highrise user, to ask him how he uses the crm in his own business:
I use highrise as a team with my wife who is my real estate partner… I find it great for collaborating and sharing info with teams. (Like any CRM, you have to actually keep your records and notes up to date or it won’t work.)
I love, love, love highrise.
We tag contacts with neighborhoods, price range, type of house, cma request, or even specific email lists they have signed up for. Tags allow us to do email marketing using companies like Mailchimp easily…
Geordie’s comments are typical of most Highrise user’s I’ve seen. Over at 37 Signals they seem to be very good at turning their users into raving fans.
I should note that while Highrise is a great CRM, for me there’s a few components missing for use in my own real estate business. The biggest is a lack of templates for tasks and other common to-do’s to be completed for every listing or transaction. Document management could be improved too, but HR was not designed to be industry specific which is why is works well for so many.
4 Lessons real estate crm’s should learn from Highrise
1. Cross platform and mobile friendly: No need to install browser plug-in’s or use IE. Works on your Mac, PC, smart phone or tablet right out of the box. And without any additional cost.
2. Fantastic UX: Highrise (actually all of 37 Signals products) has a clean and intuitive design. You won’t need to remember short cuts or where a button is located. Not only is the design great but it’s very user friendly. This one is huge!
3. No Contracts: A pet peeve of mine that applies to any service is the annual contract model. If your product works and provides value you shouldn’t need to lock your users into a long term contract.
4. 3rd Party Integrations: Highrise does a few things and it does them extremely well. The other functions like email marketing or lead capture that are best handled by dedicated services actually integrate (mostly) seamlessly with HR.
What does your ideal real estate crm look like?
Imagine a real estate specific crm that included basic listing and transaction management, supported email marketing via Aweber or Mail Chimp, imported your IDX & website inquiries, and didn’t require a long term contract?
Will a new or existing player take note and build a real estate specific CRM on par with many of the generic one’s already available?
What would your ideal crm look like?