In recent years, we’ve all learned that “business as usual” as taken on new meaning. In real estate, for example, agents and clients alike have grown accustomed to the convenience of virtual showings and transaction management, which have proven to provide better communication and greater flexibility than ever before.
Whatever your plans for your real estate business, the tools discussed here are no longer optional. A robust suite of tools for everything from marketing to transactions to collaboration helps to ensure that you’re always prepared for the unexpected—and that you’re providing optimal service to your clients, both now and in the future.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how affordable many of these platforms are. Most of them provide user-friendly free versions as well as heftier paid versions, so you can begin optimizing your virtual toolbox at very little out-of-pocket cost. Figure out what you like and what works for you, then choose a paid version if you need more options. On top of that, you may find that your association provides not only exceptional virtual tools but also educational opportunities to help you maximize their effectiveness.
1. Top-notch CRM
One of the most underutilized virtual tools is the customer relationship management platform or CRM. For many real estate agents, the CRM is a guilt-inducing element of their professional life—they know it’s there, they know it has a lot of useful information, but they just don’t know what to do with it. In many cases, agents rarely update their CRMs and underutilize their integrations, making them virtually impossible to use effectively.
Whether you are already working with a CRM like Contactually, Wise Agent, Top Producer, or your brokerage company’s own iteration, or are planning to invest in one this year, your task will be to fully explore its functionality and commit to updating and optimizing it regularly. Seek out educational content online at your CRM’s website and ask the education directors for your brokerage and association to schedule training sessions for maximum engagement.
2. Social media scheduler
There’s no point in having a presence on every social media platform if you never post. That’s why a social media scheduler is such an important tool in your marketing arsenal. Put aside time in your calendar to preschedule posts for each week, choosing a time that’s optimized for your audience. The result? Set-it and forget-it convenience and consistency.
ReminderMedia’s Branded Posts, one of four tools that make up our Digital Marketing Platform, offers a library of thousands of posts primed for sharing with your sphere, and offers the ability to share months in advance through its Facebook and Instagram scheduling feature. It even offers caption suggestions for your posts so you won’t have to worry about saying the right thing.
3. Graphic design platform
Wondering how that agent in your office always has such professional-looking social media posts, logos, letterhead, and other branded collateral? Chances are it’s because they’re using Canva. With a host of design options, templates, and drag-and-drop functionality, Canva makes you look like you have a squad of graphic artists on your support staff.
Or, if you’re a ReminderMedia client, our Creative Services team of graphic designers is here to help you with anything and everything, including your logo design, headshot, listing ads, and more.
4. Open house/Showing management platform
When it’s time to return to in-person open houses and showings, you’ll want to ensure the easiest possible scheduling and data management. Consider a platform like Spacio, Showing Suite, or ShowingTime to take the headache out of scheduling, sign-in, and follow up. Integrate your showing management with your CRM to ensure that you capture every lead and all of the information you need to convert them into clients.
5. Cloud-based transaction management
One of the main things we learned in 2020 was that end-to-end transaction management was not only possible, it was effective and time-saving as well. By increasing the efficiency of the transaction, many agents learned that they could provide better service to their clients even under the most difficult circumstances. If you haven’t already implemented a cloud-based transaction management system into your business, it’s past time to start.
Whether you choose Dotloop, Transactly, or another management platform provided by your broker or association, you’ll find that a transaction management suite offers a variety of benefits. Besides improving communication and document sharing, you’ll love the convenience of cloud-based storage so that you can free up space in your file cabinet. In addition, you’ll never have to worry about a missing signature or initials again, since integrated signature prompts guide your clients through the paperwork and ensure they dot every i and cross every t.
6. Communication platform
Homesnap offers a robust suite of tools in both free and paid versions, allowing agents to communicate more effectively with clients throughout the transaction process. With in-app messaging, real-time data, and highly customizable options aimed at improving the client experience, Homesnap helps agents offer a seamless, convenient transaction to even the most demanding clients.
7. Productivity/Workflow tools
Finally, there are a wide variety of tools available to improve communication and workflow, whether you’re collaborating with a team of colleagues, support staff members, or clients. Slack, Trello, and Asana, among others, all provide the ability to share information and communicate effectively, both online and through their mobile app versions.
Trello in particular boasts a drag and drop function that gamifies planning and task completion, ensuring that your process is optimized for maximum efficiency. Use these tools for everything from planning your content calendar to organizing event-based marketing initiatives for even greater impact on your business in 2021.