The Why for CRM

Pacific Sotheby's International Realty is planning to roll out a blended solution of a CRM system, Contactually and Market Snapshot, across their offices in San Diego. We interviewed Diana Rubottom, Branch Manager, who was an important driver for this integration. Her view is that the two solutions have a cumulative effect, and is proving that this can be used to drive listings for the agents and the firm.

Tell us about the rollout. What is driving your desire to get this combined solution into your office and now your offices?

I've been in this industry 29 years now as a salesperson, as a manager, and I've owned three brokerage companies. What has not changed in 29 years is that listings are the backbone of any successful real estate practice. Market Snapshot is helping us take our CRM system to a new level by adding a powerful tool to engage sellers and list properties.

As I relayed to Richard McDonald, my representative from, Market Snapshot really is the same thing I was doing back in 1991 when I first started. We didn't have all of our wonderful technology then, so every month I would photocopy onto colored printer paper all the properties for sale and sold in the neighborhood. I folded this over and on the outside it would say, "Aren't you curious as to what your neighbors are up to?"

When homeowners would open it, all the data was on one sheet of paper. Today this is the same product, but it can be delivered to hundreds with a fraction of the effort through technology. It's an effective and easy way to continue to build relationships with a client base. This is a relationship business, bolstered by technology.

I was just explaining this to one of my agents. He said, "Well, I use such-and-such contact management."

I said, "Your contact management is simply contact management. What we've integrated for you, it's contact management, yes, and a way to further build relationships and get listings! They're tied together; they interact. On its own, can you say your contact management brings you listings? Does it give you the chance for instant communication with data that is centered around your contacts property?"

To prove my point, I did a Market Snapshot on his property. It took me not even a minute to fill it out. He had it within two minutes, and I called him within 10 seconds.

This was a test for him to understand how powerful this combination can be in helping his business AND helping him stay in contact with his client base.

In nearly every sales meeting I conduct, I start the meeting with this:

Technology will never replace a REALTOR®, but REALTORS® using technology will replace those who don't.

Real Estate statistics are quick to point out that 95 percent of buyers use the internet in their home search. But I wanted to know where the sellers find their agents. An economist friend of mine showed me that 25 percent of sellers will use the agent who sold them their home. I want the other 75 percent. There are plenty of them! Seventy-five percent of them are looking for someone new.

The CRM is your daily accountability vehicle. It tells you to call five people a day, or however you set it up. What are you going to give those five people? There's the angle. Chris Smith sent this article out that CRM is dead. I get his point, which is that if an agent purchases a CRM and plugs it in and thinks that the checks are going to start coming, it's not going to happen.

CRM keeps you accountable, but you need those other elements in there. You need your personality and you need some call-to-action that's going to get people's attention. I am very pleased that Pacific Sotheby's International Realty chose Market Snapshot to fill that need. There's nothing better out there.

Here's how it works: A potential seller can open up an email with their house centered with a symbol, and immediately see real-time, accurate data around their property. How much sweeter can it get? They're not getting a computer generated AVM, so when they open this up, they're not getting that AVM like they would in some web portal that focuses on estimates. Computer generated algorithms will never replace the accuracy of the experienced agent and real-time data.

How are you positioning yourself in context with automated price estimates the consumer can get on their own?

We want to take back the importance of the individual agent, the importance of our training, of our knowledge and our humanness in the transaction. With this product, they get to see all the data pertinent to their property and then they get to immediately request the valuation of their home. These are true and accurate metrics, and the consumer gets a real person who sent the Market Snapshot and not just a list of people who are paying for the lead. You're getting a real estate professional who has already invested interest in that neighborhood and in that property and in the consumer receiving the Market Snapshot.

How does this fit in with what your customers and agents are asking for?

In an area where we have a shortage of inventory, you don't want to be spending an inordinate amount of your time only with buyers. It's a balance. You have to start looking at what the community needs. The community needs listings. They need to sell properties. You may have a seller sitting on the sidelines saying, "I'm waiting for the values to go up."

But if you are sending them Market Snapshot they can see it, in real time, when the values start moving up. They don't have to wait for the newspaper to say, "San Diego's up over 8 percent."

They can see, real-time, what their neighbors are getting for the sale of their properties and that will pique their interest. It will allow the agent the opportunity to go in face-to-face and make a bona fide valuation of their property. Then they can decide, but the agent now has developed and nurtured a relationship.

Blending that with our CRM, with Contactually, now that agent has a relationship started with that particular consumer. They may not be ready yet, but with context, they will be reminded when to follow up with that potential seller.

The home seller may become so comfortable with you as an agent that he's going to refer someone to you. It's all about relationship and now you're providing something of immediate true value. Nothing means more to that potential seller than their own home and the value. Everybody wants to know that, right? Everybody.

Do you think this will give you a competitive advantage in a market where most agents are looking for listings?

I cannot believe agents are still sending out postcards. When I get them, I think, "I bet the agent probably spent too much for that card for printing and mailing." And often these are discarded. And what does that postcard really say? Is it specific information to the person that receives it? Not likely. It's often about the agent, their production, recent properties they have sold.

Contrast this to Market Snapshot where an agent can offer to a potential seller, "We're going to provide this — what's your name, address and email?"

With that, they send a Market Snapshot. Once the property owner sees it and they see how quickly our agent responds after receiving a notification, they take notice.

Our agent is immediately notified via email that their contact requested information. The system sends and immediate email: "Thank you for reaching out to me. I see that you're looking for some information on your home. I can help you. I will be in touch shortly." Then the agent must place that call or email personally at the earliest possible moment.

When a consumer gets that email, they are still sitting in front of their computer. Now there's going to be times when you're not going to be able to do that, but my goodness, everybody lives on their cell phone, you get the email.

Now you're important to that seller; you paid attention.

We need to remember that we, as consumers, can summon our ride with a click on an app, we can order our food delivered with a click on an app. When someone clicks on a link to you, you better be available or they will move on to someone else.

So tying this together, Contactually reminds the agent to personally follow up, and Market Snapshot gives them a tool that sparks a seller's interest.

That is what I am seeing. This was originally just going to be a test in my office, but it is gaining momentum in our other offices. Market Snapshot working with Contactually is a win-win. Market Snapshot is the "Why" for the CRM.

This article originally appeared in RE Technology News